by S Schulz

Your Backyard
Somewhere around the early 50's someone decided that a well groomed yard required nice thick green grass. Many folks along the way have become obsessed with this notion.  They plant, water, fertilize and groom their yards into well manicured carpets of thick green grass never realizing there are alternatives.  I know, I was one of them.  It never occurred to me that you really didn't have to have a large expanse of grass, requiring large amounts of time to maintain in order to have a pretty yard.  The older I got, the less energy I seemed to have to maintain a yard.  I found myself going from wanting a large yard to looking for something that was all concrete!  I loved the look of a lush green carpet of grass, but not the time and expense it took to achieve it.  I must confess that I have owned properties that had plenty of yard space, but not much yard.  The grass was thin and sparse with more than it's fair share of unwanted weeds.  I would find  myself feeling very guilty at having such an ugly lawn so I'd just move on.  

Turns out, there are lots of alternatives to the traditional green carpet of grass we call our lawn.  You can build beds in various shapes out of  lots of different materials to plant annuals and perennials that will change with the seasons.  You can add walkways and paths, nooks and crannies and add a water feature or two to have a wonderful place to come home to. There are low growing ground covers that will hide the dirt and keep the dust down,  stay low requiring less mowing time and varieties that require less water and virtually no fertilizing.  There are ornamental and specimen grasses that come in a variety of colors and grown to various heights. It's even possible to have color all year long using only grasses planted in clumps or groupings, giving a more natural look to your yard.  

So, next time you have to force yourself to get up, go out and crank up the lawnmower, maybe you should check into alternatives to the carpet of grass you think you have to have.