Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Forgive Me My Grassy Paths

Although I've worked diligently to remove as much as the "evil grass*" as my family will let me from our yard in SJC, I still have grassy paths in the back garden. At one time the whole yard was grass, from one edge of the hardscape to the other, and I have systematically carved out beds and added trees, shrubs and perennials that require less water, fertilizer and maintenance than grass, but I still haven't taken the next logical step which would be to replace the grass with gravel or DG. This garden is filled with color and I kind of still like the cool calmness that the thick carpet of grass adds to the ambiance. In my defense I must say that it is more of a mowed meadow with all kinds of plants that grow in it as opposed to a monoculture lawn (in other words it's full of weeds) and it only gets a bit of chicken poop fertilizer once a year if that helps. But the dogs and cat like to roll in it and they tend to have the last say here.

*Grass lawns are very un-PC in our area due to the amount of water needed to keep them looking healthy. Many people are extremely vigilante in their passion for banning them from our lives and replacing them with extreme drought tolerant native plants, and making people like me feel very guilty for splurging in the self-indulgent luxury of a lawn.

14 comments:

Turling said...

Don't feel guilty. You have done exponentially more then your neighbors. I can almost guarantee that without even seeing their homes. I agree, the grass looks lovely and definitely cools the yard.

Nola @ the Alamo said...

That's my plan exactly! Bit by bit I'm getting rid of the grass in the back. But, like you, my pets have the final say, so a little patch (maybe a path, good idea!) will stay for them.

Phillip said...

I've gotten rid of most of the grass in my garden but I still have some grassy pathways. It is hard to go 100%! I do love the look of them.

Nancy said...

I have one garden area, the first one planned years ago, that is centered by an oval lawn. What to do? The surrounding beds are full of roses and such, and outside the low wall is the forest, so the surrounds are visually busy, and the lawn is a pool of tranquility. I can't figure out a replacement that will give the same sense of peace and repose. Problem!

jodi (bloomingwriter) said...

No feeling guilty allowed, Sheila! I'm doing the same sort of thing, eventually, pointing out to Long Suffering Spouse that it means less mowing for him and more time spent fishing. He's starting to get the idea...

Hocking Hills Gardener said...

The grass does seem to disappear as we plant more flowers. I keep telling my son the more flowers I plant the less he has to mow. We still have too much grass that browns in the summer heat and droughts.So it is nice that you keep a green path and it looks beautiful between your beds.

Curbstone Valley Farm said...

Your garden looks lovely, and I wouldn't let others make you feel guilty. I admit to being a bit of a native-plant convert of late, but we're situated somewhere that 'going native' with zero lawn makes sense. I'm trying not to turn into the aggravating sort, you know the type, like the annoying ex-smoker who thinks everyone should quit. I don't think lawns should be banned, I do think we need to adjust our attitudes about where they're appropriate, and how they're managed. Keeping the lawn minimal. Most people don't even make the effort. You're doing just fine. A little organic chicken fertilizer, and your lawn has actual function too. Goodness, I had two lawns at our last house, and honestly, nobody used them, they were a waste. Yours have a purpose as paths, and to be honest, I don't think your garden would look the same without them.

Jim Groble said...

No guilt allowed. It looks wonderful. jim

Laurrie said...

You said it best, a strip of grass adds a cool calmness to the rest of the plantings. I do think there's a place for turfgrass (or a weedy substitute), especially when done as you have --- lovely green paths and not wide open lawn.

Autumn Belle said...

I have a small patch of lawn in my garden too. In my equatorial climate with the hot sun but adequate rainfall, my grass is almost maintenance free. I have never mowed my lawn, just some weeding, fertilizing with organic fertilizer a few times a year. Your grass path is beautiful.

Susan in the Pink Hat said...

I also has grassy paths. I haven't come up with a better way to unite the front and back garden areas. And, grass doesn't come in the house and gouge wood floors like gravel. Also, I have large trees in that grass; they need the water just as much the grass. I feel guilt as well, though.

Meredith said...

Well, I like your grassy paths, and I don't think you should feel guilty for gradually switching your gardening style to match your lifestyle/environmental impact goals. In fact, I think it's admirable.

I must say that I'm kind of glad to hear California has gone anti-grass, as the last time I was there (way back in the '90s to visit my ex's family) I was horrified by the sprinklers going night and day to maintain some of the most boring landscape I'd ever seen -- all flat and green and featureless. I do hope the trend continues, if only to provide more exciting visual prospects like the one in your picture. :)

heather @ what's blooming this week said...

Hi Sheila - I agree with most of the comments - don't feel guilty about such a small patch of grass. Personally I like the way a small bit of grass grounds the garden -gives is a frame so that the colours in the garden are highlighting. Not politically correct I know, but aethetically pleasing.

healingmagichands said...

My grass paths want to invade my garden beds, but I still love them. In the Ozarks, we get lots of water from the sky so I don't have to feel guilty about them. But I agree with Turling. You should not feel guilty, you have already done so much. And certainly the cats and dogs needs a place to roll! Although, I will tell you that Ruby (my beautiful dog) loves to roll in the gravel paths in the vegetable garden. . .

I enjoyed this post.