• The Trouble With Lawn


    I am torn. My favorite gardens are the ones that contain flowers, shrubs, fruits and vegetables of all kinds, mixed and matched together with absolutely no grass at all. In fact, I tend to really relate to the “food, not lawns” campaign. However, I do like to have a little bit of lawn to run around on barefoot in summer. And the kids like to have a place to play and a soft place to land when they fall down.

    The varieties of lawn grass that can be grown in western Oregon have a tendency to be very fine and velvety soft. Unfortunately, they also require frequent deep watering, or they’ll wither and die. They have to be mowed once every week or two during the growing season and sap the soil of nutrients that other plants require to thrive. (Hence why digging up a patch of lawn and planting directly into it doesn’t often yield healthy plants, unless you really fertilize and work the soil. You can see evidence of it’s added negative influence in the failure of my lettuce row, despite a liberal application of compost and fertilizer).

    So, since the kids need a place to play, and I’d like a place to lay about and walk barefoot in the summer, what do I do with the grass?

    I still haven’t made up my mind entirely, but I think that I have decided I’ll remove about half of it, leaving some nice turf in the front yard for looks (and watching thunderstorms and shooting stars) and then a goodly chunk in the backyard for playing and lounging about. As you can see in the picture to the right, I’ve removed all grass from the area under the maple tree (which was sickly anyway because of deep shade in the summer and leaf compost in the winter). Gladiolas and dahlias will come up just behind that little fence, and hopefully the rose (a cream colored climber) will eventually cover the archway over the grass path.

    Despite all my lofty plans, I will probably change my mind 1,000 times before I actually have the amount of lawn that I’m happy with. I dunno… how much lawn would you say is just enough?

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