What I’d like my yard to look like

Nice. Let’s normalize what a midwestern lawn ought to look like.

Think of all the interesting spiders that would live in that kind of chaos! Beautiful!

Somehow I don’t think the city planners would let me get away with it. We’re taking little steps, though — Mary’s birthday present this year was a rain garden, which we’ll have to wait until next summer to have put in.


  1. robro says

    Not unlike what’s in my yard, tho California natives not prairie natives. And while our little plot is only a third acre, it backs onto a large “open space” (I can’t see any houses from my back door), an undeveloped area of grasses and shrubs. The backyard neighbors we do see are mule deer, coyotes, rabbits, squirrels, an occasional bobcat, and lots of different birds. That’s all thanks to my partner who has devoted the last 5 years making this happen.

  2. hillaryrettig1 says

    A Brooklynite (I think!) extolling the virtues of the prairie!

    And OMG, his channel is called “Crime Pays, Botany Doesn’t.”

    What a stitch!

  3. birgerjohansson says

    The final novel in the suite of SF novels that started with “A Small And Angry Planet” involves the planting of a garden, in a “bubble” habitat of an otherwise not hospitable planet.

    In Sue Burke’s SF novels “Semiosis” and “Interference” the plant life/gardens likewise play a significant role.

  4. Jazzlet says

    christoph @2

    According to the link you don’t water the garden, it’s whole point is to take rain water runoff from your roof and other hard surfaces, then slow down it’s out flow from your property. I suspect that depending on the weather you may have to water a little in the establishment phase, but once that it over you shoudn’t neeed to water at all.

  5. says

    Dear @4 birgerjohansson, you might even add the movie ‘silent running’ where the earth’s remaining flora was put on special self-contained environments in space.
    And, when we lived in southern Aridzona, the drip irrigation system died before we bought the house. Whatever survived was left alone, what died was removed. When we sold the house years later, there were more native plants in the yards than when we moved in.

  6. robro says

    christoph @3 — And the point of a California native plant garden is to minimize the need for watering because the plants are adapted to the environment and drought tolerant. For some plants, there’s a short period when they’re first planted when you need to water them. According to my resident expert, you have to be careful because you can actually kill the plants by over watering them.

  7. wzrd1 says

    The only problem with the film “Silent Running” is, the photoelectric units would eventually fail, the lamps would eventually fail and replacements, once exhausted would be unavailable. That’d result in the extinction of the forest. Not to mention that the robots would eventually break down.
    The main premise is a bit absurd as well, as without forests, we’d have a wee bit of a carbon dioxide accumulation problem.
    So, perhaps they should’ve show a more realistic scenario in the end. Humanity suffocates and bakes, earth becoming much more like Venus.

  8. wzrd1 says

    shermanj @ 8, I’d have gone with tearing out the majority of the drip irrigation system and repair a small vegetable garden patch section.
    If I’m reasonably close to the coast, with ocean humidity available, I’d then feed condensation from the environmental control system to feed part of the garden’s needs. Used that in Qatar to good effect.

  9. birgerjohansson says

    There is a coastal strip in Namibia that is green despite the absence of rain. The vegetation has adapted to grabbing moisture from the coastal fog.

  10. rabbitbrush says

    The first thing I did when I bought my house was to stop watering the “lawn.” Then I dumped a couple inches of blue spruce needles that I scraped up from under the tree in back yard, all over the “lawn” which was now brown. The spruce detritus ably killed the grass. I planted a huge variety of native plants all around the yard, leaving the back for a vegetable garden, raspberry thicket, a line of blueberry bushes, and a weedy grape plant. Also put in a couple of hazelnut trees (jays love those!); and peach, apricot, nectarine trees. And all the pollinators and birds! Holy cow. It is truly amazing how much produce and wildlife a small city lot will produce if you aim it that way.

  11. robro says

    rabbitbrush @ #16 — That’s where we started with our place. We “sheet mulched” the front, which had been covered in juniper, and the “lawn” part of the back. That took care of the weeds starting in the front and the sod in the back, except for the f**king plastic mesh they grow that stuff in. Still digging that up now and again.

  12. jrkrideau says

    I have a neighbour about 4 doors up from me who has a completely Ontario front yard. All the weeds from my childhood! The goldenrod in doing great. As is the pigweed.

  13. birgerjohansson says

    The horrible disaster that just hit Derna – possibly 10,000 dead- shows what happens when you don’t invest in water management. There were two old dams, but they collapsed. The city center is completely gone.

  14. seachange says

    Rain chains are very pretty. Perhaps one could show up near her rain garden sometime in the future.

  15. birgerjohansson says

    Water features in the garden should include a ‘guardian of the lake’ (but out of reach of the gate).

    In the town where Thomas Odd (The Odd Thomas series) grows up, there is a garden where every tree is poisonous. I like the idea, maybe it can be scale down to bushes and herbs.