Eureka! There it was. The blinding glare of a cartoon light bulb ascending from my scalp. After years of preaching the advantages of murdering yards, I had actually stumbled on among the main factors people are so connected to them. No, it’s not an inexplicable attraction to brief, vertical blades of green. It’s about one of the most fundamental design concepts. Real story …
I was careening with a hectic day when my phone buzzed. The female on the other end sounded nervous. She was finished with her small back yard lawn and wanted my opinion. “What do you think about fake lawn?” she asked. “I do not like that it’s not natural, however I have no idea exactly what else to do.”.
I believe she was hoping I ‘d talk her from going down the synthetic grass road. My satisfaction. I was locked and installed. Initially, I pleaded partial ignorance, confessing that there are lots of brands of fake turf and I wasn’t a professional on each one. However right here’s what I have actually gleaned in my research.
Synthetic Yard Scorecard.
On the plus side.
-Fake yard does not require irrigation or mowing.
– Phony lawn sorta appears like grass (if you have no idea exactly what lawn truly appears like).
– Phony lawn is flat (unless your neighbor’s kid gets captured underneath throughout installation).
Pellets like these or ground vehicle tires keep blades upright.
On the downside.
– Phony turf is made from petrochemicals (enough currently!).
– Phony turf needs “filler” made from recycled tires and plastics to avoid the humiliating shame of blade impotence.
– Fake turf is quite expensive to set up (unless you choose the inexpensive crap).
– Fake grass, hastily set up, leaves joints where weeds love to grow.
– Fake yard surface temperature levels can burn skin on hot, sunny days (athletic fields hose them down prior to play– so much for water cost savings).
– Fake lawn triggers the gradual die-off of soil microbes below.
– Fake yard lasts about 10 years, then needs special processing and disposal, given that it cannot go to conventional landfills.
There was more, however I suppressed myself. She thanked me and stated she ‘d think about it.
A week later on she ‘d quit on synthetic grass and I was standing in her yard asking a lot of questions. Turns out she has no useful use for the lawn: No pet dog play, no nude sunbathing, no grazing of cattle.
Then I asked a question I had not thought of before: “Is it the real lawn you like or is it just the sensation of open area and great structure?”.
The interplay of mass and area appears in the Zen yard at the Bloedel Preserve on Bainbridge Island, WA.
She considered. “Yes, I think I much like the openness of the lawn.” BOO YA !!! It wasn’t about the grass. It was about one of the very first considerations of all three-dimensional design: The balance of “things” and “space.” It’s the difference between the simpleness of a Zen gravel yard and a dense woodland thicket.
Dune Sedge (Carex praegracilis) “seasoned” with sweet alyssum, iris and poppies.
Now the door was wide open to a variety of design alternatives that might cut her water expense, decrease maintenance and potentially end up with a a lot more intriguing and usable yard. We’re working out the details for broadening the surrounding planters with low-water-using, butterfly- and pollinator-attracting, vibrant plants, adding a flagstone path to keep the garden accessible, and growing swaths of sneaking thyme and sedge, a grass-like, tufting plant that uses two-thirds less the water than grass. We’ll leave space for a couple of little seasonal baubles to appear and out throughout the year– you can call it a meadow.
On the Silver Screen.
Right here’s an example of a current lawn-to-meadow conversion I’ve been working on with a customer in the hot foothills near Skofield Park. The turf had been abandoned long back and the lower area of the yard had absolutely nothing to bring in the owners to utilize the space.
By laying out a course causing a flagstone terrace and rustic bench, the area under a neighboring Jacaranda became a cool refuge, likewise acting as an enticing centerpiece from the house. We began with a “skim coat” of blue sedge (Carex flacca ‘Blue Zinger’) grown from 2-inch plugs, leaving space for extra low-growers to discover their means– sort of a Darwinian, survival-of-the-fittest method. The sedge has a cool appearance and spreads slowly by underground runners that are easy to regulate.
Over this canvas, dotted and clustered here and there, are snow-in-summer (Cerastium tomentosum), Blue Fescue (Festuca ovina ‘Elijah Blue’), Blue Moor Lawn (Sesleria caerulea), Typical Yarrow (Achillea millefolium), white flowering African Daisy (Gazania sp.) and a brand-new discovery for me, Euphorbia ‘Copton Ash’ with its steely silver-blue foliage and happy chartreuse flowers.
The Point Is …
I think we’re all getting the message that rich green lawns are on their escape. Every time we go through a cycle of dry years (I’m not so sure this is simply a brief cycle), garden owners surrender (if there’s moisture in it, wring it over your arugula) or increase to the occasion, make substantial changes and wind up better for the effort.
I Found Another Water Hero.
Suzanne Elledge and her partner, Laurel Perez, acquired a “new” building (circa 1902) at 1625 State Street to serve as the office for their planning and license processing company. While lovingly restoring the interior, they recognized that the front garden had a drinking problem.
1625 State St. prior to.
Challenging, thatch-ridden kikuyu turf was sucking up water and not just controlled the front of the building, however included no appeal to this delightful structure. The yard was removed, a woody, personality-free boxwood hedge breathed its last breath, and strategies were put in location for a stylistically suitable, lower-water-using yard.
Unthirsty plants and DG pathway.
The majority of the yard faces northeast, so it’s cool and shaded in the afternoon, enabling the garden to “spend lavishly” on a few somewhat thirstier plants like Iceberg Rose and in the shade of a looming Norfolk Island Pine, a couple of Oak-Leaf Hydrangeas. However the workhorses that are driving down their water use consist of lavender, Brazilian Skyflower (Duranta), and a variety of captivating succulents like Aeonium and Echeveria. The garden is watered by drip irrigation and well-mulched lowering evaporation and weed growth.
A young olive tree in the upper corner will certainly soon include scale to the garden and a decomposed granite course provides a shortcut to client and staff member parking along the side. Hats off to a lovely and smartly conceived task.