Friday, May 21, 2010
Lawn to Meadow
We have too much lawn. We don't play there. I walk across it on my way to and from the gardened or wild features of the yard that actually interest me. Most of the time I spend on the lawn involves mowing it, or raking off the leaves. What a waste of time. What a waste of space.
After much pondering, I concluded last summer that the front should be kept mowed, for aesthetic reasons, for consideration of the neighbors' tastes, and for Gabe to play on. But the back and the side are largely hidden from the road. I could let them grow in a form of carefully-tended neglect.
I started last year by letting all of the grass get a little shaggy, and then mowing around the edges of where I wanted the meadow patches to be, in order to get a feel for what the yard would look like. There are two such patches, each surrounded by a mowed path, and each one subdivided with another path. The paths are there as a tidy aesthetic frame. They are also there for getting around and across the yard, because a meadow of tall grasses will be a tick hazard. The meadow won't be for walking in; it will be a refuge for plants and animals, and a thing to be gazed into, as are regular flower beds.
The logs and sticks in the photos are my current attempt to add more visible edge to the meadow areas. The grass is getting long enough now that, in most of the yard, it is obvious which areas are path, and which are meadow. However, the side patch extends to the arid swath of ground that is baked dusty each year. Very little grows there. Mowing alone doesn't suffice to establish visible meadow edges, because there is almost nothing there tall enough to mow. Those areas needed some sort of edging so that I could tell where the path stops, and the meadow starts.
For that, I used our leftover firewood, and sticks from the woods. Along with making a decent visible edge, these wooden boundaries have the added benefit of discouraging my son from wandering into potentially ticky areas. And, being just sticks, I'll be able to move them easily in the Autumn when I give the meadow its single, yearly mow.