Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Kingdom of Gravel





Post-Script: Despite my criticism of the typical xeriscaped gravel yard, my front yard is exactly that, though also well decorated with low water-use shrubbery and bark that serves to somewhat offset the otherwise miserable appearance that gravel yards can often attain. The top image, via my Lumix G5, is from the front yard just yesterday evening as I was watering the shrubs. My backyard, on the other hand, contains a small sod turf lawn, only large enough to enjoy its benefits yet small enough to make maintenance chores not excruciatingly bad. Yet it has struggled this summer with numerous dead spots, which I might attribute to the neighbor's cat choosing a cool, soft location for its waste-elimination activities. Such is the never-ending battle of trying to maintain a lawn in a climate where lawns are entirely foreign. It would do NASA some good to place us a visit, should they decide at any time in the future to send astronauts into the void toward Mars with the intention of populating its desert clime with humanity, as we might have some advice to lend them, if they be willing to lend an ear.

Typecast via Hermes Rocket. Yes, I did enjoy using the Underwood Universal for typing out the last two blog articles, along with the first drafts of the two-part Hunter S. Thompson tribute story, but that little Rocket is a vixen, she really does have an allure and feel, and performs quite reliably, now that I've attended to her needs.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here in Australia artificial turf has become very popular for reasons of ease-of-maintenance and water-saving. The better-quality turfs look great. I'd like some myself but it's very over-priced.

10:44 PM  
Blogger Rob Bowker said...

And here in the Thames valley, a fine turf lawn is de rigeur, even though it is a high input - low output sort of landscape. An Englishman's springy turf is a source of pride, status and admiration. Of course, we get plenty of rain. And it is as sterile a habitat as the increasingly boarded or concreted (or gravelled) garden. I suspect that our garden might be said to let the neighbourhood down. Mostly moss and ivy with thick unkempt shrubs and a holly tree at the front. Round the back there's a patch of grass we call a lawn if only because we keep it short with a push-along lawnmower, and a couple of vegetable beds. But we do have field mice and hedgehogs and frogs passing through and bees and hoverflies on the succession of wildflowers that spring up unbidden. And then there's the bird life. These feral neighbours don't appreciate tidy gardens but ours would be the poorer without them. I always figure they were here first, so we should make room for them. This is a sloth's approach of course - but the time save by not weeding gives you more time to sit and watch 'em grow - infinitely more rewarding.

5:24 PM  
Blogger Erik said...

As you said Joe, you can have a beautiful, xeriscaped yard that doesn't look like the surface of the moon. I call the bare gravel look "Zeroscaping" and it's horrible. In my neighborhood, it becomes an excuse to use the entire yard as a parking lot. I love the desert and I tried to bring it into my yard. With drip irrigation and fine gravel that matches the local ground cover, it looks nice and there's minimal maintenance. I think the key is to try to match the local flora.

2:35 PM  

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