Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Cutting, and cutting, and cutting

Walking on an outdoor track that snakes around a soccer field in my township is a favorite activity. Today had  a beautiful morning with low temperatures and humidity. My walk was marked by the cheering birds and disturbed by the roaring yard-wide lawn mowers that were cutting around the soccer field while blowing dust and dirt everywhere. As I drive around my neighborhood, it is obvious that there is too, too much grass being tended in this area from April through October. Lawn mowers roar everywhere and there are acres and acres of grass growing around public properties and private properties that seem to need constant cutting. Thousands and thousands of gallons of gasoline are being used to maintain manicured lawns, fields and everywhere I look. Why do we need to maintain so much grass? Yes it is pretty, but so are trees and they give more than they take. 

I'm all in favor of xeriscaping with rocks, native plants, ornamental grasses, ground covers and islands of no-mowing zones. It is encouraging to see lawns removed and replaced in an environmentally-friendly landscaping that does not require pesticides, fertilizers, excessive water usage, and gasoline for mowers and trimmers.


Living in the woods is a choice we made when we bought our property. We didn't clear our land of trees to build the house. We cleared only enough for the house, and driveway. We have a small strip of grass around the house and it  requires only about one or two gallons of gas from the end of April to the end of October to cut it. We have a lot of the ground cover pachysandra on our property. It requires no maintenance other than controlling where it spreads if we desire to do that. Pachysandra requires no fertilizer, no watering, no cutting and it isn't tasty to the white-tailed deer that live in our woods.


We have rocks placed in strategic spots and islands of beds of this prolific plant. If a new bed is needed, it is so easy to transplant. All that is needed is to pull up a handful of it including roots, and move it elsewhere to bury it under a little soil. A little water for the first season is enough to get it started and it will do the rest. It fills in and needs no further TLC. It seems to not mind lots of leaves from the trees on it during the fall, and steadfastly endures the snow. By April each year, it has perked up and started blooming the tiny white blooms it puts out in the spring.

I'm giving a lot of thought to further eliminating lawn areas near our house and substituting with mulched walks and gravel covered beds or beds with more ornamental grasses and ground covers. We have so many rocks around our yard that our friends have dubbed us "Boulder Acres".


  1. I think xeriscaping is a great idea, and anything that requires less maintenance and watering is perfect in my book. Nice pictures, R.J.

  2. I love the pictures, and I love your ground cover. Beautiful!