I’m looking out my window today at a lawn that is – hopefully – on the verge of a nice spring green-up, and I’m thinking about mowing. I know that in other parts of the world, there are people who enjoy mowing their lawn. In my world, mowing is a chore that offers quite pleasing results, but it’s not one of my favorite ways to spend my time.
I know it sounds crazy, but hauling around a big, noisy machine that could cut my foot off sort of interferes with my serenity.
So, as I look out the window, my mind is already starting to focus on what I can do this year to make mowing easier. I have two main rules for lawn mowing, and I keep them in mind every time I work on my landscape design:
- If it’s hard to mow, then don’t grow grass. One side of my back yard slopes steeply down to a fence, and the other side slopes down to a drainage ditch. This year, I will stop wrestling the lawn mower on those slopes by enlarging my naturalized and mulched areas, in a nice pleasing curve that conveniently eliminates the need to mow the slopes. Oh, and that “pleasing curve” will also be one that the mower can easily turn.
- If it won’t grow grass, then don’t grow grass. In the front corner, there’s an area that stubbornly refuses to grow grass – it’s dry and compacted, and the mower kicks up a storm of dust and gravel whenever I run over it. All along I’ve thought that would be a great place for a drought-tolerant flower garden, and this is the year to do it. Likewise, there is a deeply shaded strip between my house and the neighbors’ that seems inclined to grow only moss despite my elaborate attentions. You guessed it – I’m going to naturalize that, too, perhaps with a shady stepping-stone path inviting you to the nice, green back yard.
Of course, the motivation behind all this is that the easier – and safer – my lawn is to care for, the more diligently I will care for it, and the lovelier it will be. In the areas where grass DOES grow, I do everything I can to help it grow thick and strong, but I don’t spend a lot of time on losing battles. Come to think of it, this approach has led to some pretty awesome flower gardens, too!