Jerseygator's Blog

The Battle for the Front Yard

Posted in Garden by jerseygator on April 1, 2010

Current Front Yard

I hate our front yard.  OK, perhaps that’s a little harsh.  I’m just not a big fan of yards in general.  I mean, really, what are they there for?  As Michael Pollen points out in his excellent gardening book “Second Nature: A Gardener’s Education” we no longer have grazing animals that need pasture.  We can’t eat the grass, and it takes an inordinate amount of time and effort to keep it looking “nice,” whatever that means.

So, we’re slowly declaring war on the yard.  We started on the back, stripping out two 4’x10’ raised beds right in the middle of the side yard.  This was our first garden and is still in use.

Our first garden

Then we got rid of the above ground swimming pool that no one wanted or used and created a garden in that area.  Our house faces south, so there isn’t a lot of good southern exposure in the backyard, plus we have a large area that collects rain drainage (we’ve named it “Lake Wilson”), so if we want to expand, it’s going to be in the front.

Now, there is a bit of the iconoclast in both Darrol and I. We’ve given up worrying about what others think of us, for the most part.  We are referred to as “crunchy granola” and “hippy liberals” by some, and that’s ok.  We’ve raised our kids to try and tread lightly on the earth and to respect good food.  So I don’t think our neighbors will be too surprised as they see our front yard diminishing in lieu of garden space.

I started last week by digging out this annoying little triangle of grass that sits by the front stoop.  We have a little raised bed with a weeping cypress, and this little triangle was aesthetically correct in it’s placement.  But, boy oh boy, does that little triangle take a lot of work.  It has to be mowed, and trimmed, and monitored so that it doesn’t encroach into the bed.  It’s also on a mound, so mowing it isn’t easy.  So last week when we had a pretty nice afternoon I took the flat shovel out there and removed it, moving the stones surrounding the bed out to create a new outline.  What power!  What control!  Uh-huh.

According to Mike McGrath, host of “You Bet Your Garden” on public radio, grass is the most tenacious weed there is.  I believe him.  My garden “weeding” is almost always encroaching grass that I’m tackling.

The side yard will stay grassy

And I do like some of the rolling pasture look in my yard…the side yard (and Lake Wilson) will remain grassy, otherwise the cat would kill me.  She likes laying in the grass stalking the wild butterflies.  But the front yard is another story.

I’m starting by adding some herbs into the front “flower” bed.  Sage and rosemary are bushes that will add nice color for most of the year.  Chives are perenials and have lovely purple blooms (which are edible, as well).  I already have lavender, and will add some annuals, like basil and parsely.  Little by little the front yard can become a community garden.  I’ve already told my immediate neighbors to please feel free to come and pick fresh herbs for their dinners.  What a nice way to show friendship!

Bee on a chive blossom


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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by tracey wilson. tracey wilson said: New blog posting up The Battle for the Front Yard: Current Front Yard I hate our front yard.  OK, perhaps th… […]

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