Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Making Peace With My Lawn

Last summer, I was in a bit of a snit because my lawn wasn't green enough. That's right, even with the smoke from forest fires hanging heavy over the town, and the reservoir being steadily depleted to fight those fires, I still wanted a green lawn. The kind everyone had when I was a kid: a plush, green rectangle with a sidewalk down the middle (like this one, which is SO not my lawn).

The problem (according to me) is that my husband, in his endearing stubbornness, has refused since day one to put in a sprinkler system, and that means schlepping garden hoses around. Garden hoses are my nemesis. I hate them. (And before you try to convert me, I refuse to fall for the marketing ploy that is the "as-seen-on-TV-pocket-hose," because I know even that Muppety-sea worm-looking thing will try ruin my life.)


So the perfect lawn eluded me.

This summer, I'm a changed woman. The tragic losses of life and property we've seen across the region have made it extremely clear that fire (too much of it) and water (not enough of it) are going to shape life here in the west for many years to come. The vanity of perfectly green lawns in a climate like ours has become ridiculous.

Instead of envying the neighbors' lawns that are Land-of-Oz-green, I wonder why they bother. Back yards, okay, for kids and dogs. Front yards, however...with the exception of mowing, my neighbors never spend any time on them. And I can imagine what their water bills are like. The lawns I now envy are the ones that are shrinking, with grass being steadily replaced by rock and drought-loving xeriscape plants.

As for our front lawn, I have plans for downsizing it someday soon. For now, we're maintaining it in a state of near-death by watering just enough to keep things greenish-brown and moderately crunchy. It's not great for bare feet, but that's what flip-flops are for, right?








6 comments:

Graciewilde said...

That's a terrific change of heart, Jenny. There was a time when deep green lawns worked but that's b/c people weren't thinking. Not such a good idea, especially if you live in a region where water is not abundant. If you live where you don't have to water to keep your grass green, that's a whole different story.
Over a 20+ year time span, we have transformed our back/side / front yards into orchard/veggie garden./ non grassy, high presence of drought tolerant/native plants. It looks fine and feels right.

Suze said...

I don't know. I think good things come from an abundance mentality. I tend to keep this thought to myself because it's easy to misinterpret it.

Never mind. I read your post and it has me thinking of a better way to articulate my response!

Jenny said...

Graciewilde, your landscape sounds wonderful. I wish I had a better eye for these sorts of things.

Suze, it's funny, in the couple of days after I decided I wouldn't go crazy watering the lawn, we got a little more rain. I like to feel validated by Mother Nature :-)

Jan Newman said...

Grass is overrated.

Tina said...

Our front lawn is VERY small...but I do have a LOT of flowers and shrubs which need water. The weeds are growing quite nicely since I hurt my back and am not allowed in the garden...
Tina @ Life is Good

Suze said...

'Suze, it's funny, in the couple of days after I decided I wouldn't go crazy watering the lawn, we got a little more rain. I like to feel validated by Mother Nature'

Well, gosh, I sure do love that!