Home Lawn Gone

Sunflowers, gloriosa daisies and horsemint in the front yard

Sunflowers, gloriosa daisies and horsemint in the front yard

The land in front of my house is the only area of my property that has southern exposure, and thus the only place I can plant most wildflowers and vegetables. That’s how I stumbled onto the idea of making my front yard a friendlier place: I had no other spot where I could do any serious gardening. After I got started, I quickly became a fan of sustainability and permaculture. To me, it makes much more sense to have a yard that’s beautiful, edible, livable, and drought-tolerant than trying to have a yard that looks like a golf course. I had never had the golf-course lawn anyway. I had rather pridefully considered myself a conservationist because I did not water the front yard at all. I referred to this method of conservation as “zero-scape”: xeriscape taken to its outer limits. But I finally had to admit that what I was doing wasn’t conservation; it was just a refusal to do anything. The sun-bleached expanse of weeds, Bermuda grass, and stickers in front of the house was unusable–no one could even walk across it due to its bristling arsenal of sand burs.

Cosmos in wildflower garden

Cosmos in wildflower garden

After I retired, I hesitantly began to reclaim this war zone a few feet at a time. I overcame my fear of the neighbors–(Would they think I was nuts?) and of various Dallas/Fort Worth authorities–(Would I be violating landscaping ordinances?) and set to work mapping out a wildflower garden and planting rows of vegetables. So far, the city, my neighbors, and my garden are coexisting in harmony.

Armenian cucumber blossom

Armenian cucumber blossom

The majority of my plants came up from seed given to me free, gratis, and for nothing; the garden in effect named itself. I provide the labor, and my husband mows the perimeter. This garden has helped me regain my sanity, which had vaporized after my stint in corporate America. I’m actually feeling human again–much more connected to myself, to other people, and to life in general. I am grateful for my flowers and food and want to share the bounty with the online gardening community, which has given me a lot of good ideas about how to get things to grow.

2 Responses to “Home Lawn Gone”

  1. billphill01 says:

    The flowers look great! But I’m wondering, have any of your neighbors complained that your yard is not in compliance with city code? I’m thinking about redoing my front yard also, but don’t want to get a citation for having an overgrown lot. Thanks.

    • Grati says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed the flowers! As far as neighbors go, I have one who looks fairly unhappy any time he drives past my yard; others just stop by and will ask things like, “What kind of flowers are those?” I spoke to a code compliance officer who was in the neighborhood investigating other issues, and she said I will be fine as long as I don’t have any grass that is over one foot tall. Just be sure to check with your municipality, as not all of them have the same codes; and if you have a homeowner’s association in your subdivision, be sure to check with them too. Good luck!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*