Landscape maintenance

I’m working on a long-term xeriscaping project.  Xeriscaping is where you replace your water-sucking, chemical-greedy lawn with native drought-tolerant plants, strategically placed mulch and stone, etc.  I have a big yard, so it’s a long process.  The experts say that you should keep about 30% of your lawn in grass.  I’m going to do that, some in the back yard for doggies but most in the front, in the section where the sprinklers work.

Right now I probably have about 15% of the yard converted.  The parts that are done look good.  I’ve built a stone path from my front sidewalk to the side of the house; the mailman uses it every day to go from my house to my next-door neighbor’s.  The area between the path and the house is covered with mulch and stone.  I’ll add some plants in there later.  My wildflowers have taken up a large patch on the other side of the front sidewalk.  In the back yard, I’ve built my patio and have a patch of sandy soil under improvement for planting in later.

Unfortunately, even when you’re done with a segment of a project like this, you’re never really done.  Weeds are determined creatures, and they do keep coming back.  When I was away for 2 1/2 weeks, they really had a heyday.  I just finished pulling all the weeds in the back yard on Sunday, after being home for two weeks.

The secret is to stay on top of it.  Don’t forget about the finished areas.  I check mine nearly every day, and

Pull it before it gets to this stage

Pull it before it gets to this stage

pull a few weeds nearly every day.  When I’m in the back yard with the dog, I’ll pull some out there.  When I come home and go to the front door to get the mail, I’ll pull some there.  When Daylight Savings Time ends I won’t have enough light to pull weeds when I get home, but I’ll have an extra hour of sunlight to do it in the morning.

If you get to the small weeds before they become big weeds, you never have a big problem in an area you’ve already “finished.”  That saves the large blocks of available time for working on the rest of the project, in other areas of the yard.

Once I’m done with the entire project, I’ll only have to pull weeds.  Maintenance should be much simpler then.  There will also be a lot less grass to mow.  That should leave a lot more time for doing what I really want to do – growing edibles.


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