Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Landscaping for Cheap Dummies

Our yard pretty much looks like this:

 photo Yard.png

There aren't any heads impaled in our yard. That was just for effect. The sticker weeds might as well be capable of impaling heads in the yard, for all they render it useless. You go out there with shoes on, and it's fine, but then they come in on your clothes and shoes, and work their way into the carpet and washing machine.

I went out and sprayed some weed killer on them a few days ago, and it worked. They're all dead. But of course they can't get up and walk themselves out of the yard (despite being able to breed inside the house), so there they sit. I even mowed, hoping at least some of them would get sucked into the mower, and this is what that was like:

 photo Mowing.png

And our yard still looks like this:

 photo Yard.png

Except with less green.

I am not so thrilled with the idea of a grass lawn. Hoping for a green grass lawn is a fantasy in Utah unless you have a lot of shade trees and/or a lot of money to water it. I know some of you people are into nice lawns, so please don't be offended when I say that I think it's a waste. Our front yard is shaded very nicely (by pine trees, which kill the grass), but the back yard just bakes in the sun all day long. Keeping grass alive back there would be like throwing snowballs at a house fire.

So I'm looking into low-maintenance, less resource-intensive alternatives to grass, and I've come up with clover. Only problem is, it looks like it's an ordeal to plant. It's ideally done in spring, you have to mix the seed evenly in a wheelbarrow with dirt, and spread it. Then you have to cover the seed with another thin layer of dirt. I enjoy yard work, but that would take days of work. My children would not rise up and call me blessed after ignoring them for that long, and they're no good at helping because they have weak arms and spirits.

That means (I think that means) that we're stuck with our head-impaling yard until next spring.

I would also like to do something with our front yard, which I really love. The pine trees keep anything from growing, but they're really nice shade, and the sound they make in the wind is so relaxing. But the house looks like a tenement. I don't even know where to start. I would like to make a little patio outside the front door and put something underneath the trees so that we at least look like we take care of the place.

Is there a *cheap way to make a little patio? How do you level the ground? Do you need expensive things, or can something like that be done with a shovel? What do you put under a pine tree that looks pretty but doesn't need regular pruning and lovingkindness and an ability to garden with any kind of skill? Don't say rocks because they are way more expensive that you might think, even the ones people are selling online that they dug up out of their back field.

*When I say "cheap," I mean, "really, really cheap." Not "Oh, this mulch only cost me $100!" No. Not an option. I have basically unlimited time (in chunks, of course). I do not have $100 to spend on mulch.

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