Thursday, May 25, 2006

Green Hell

I am trying to kill my lawn. All 7000 square feet of it. Few things are as stupid as being enslaved to the idea of having your yard look like the top of a billiard table. Perhaps the same sadists that invented the contemporary suburb also invented the lawn. Like the suburbs, where it proliferates like a noxious weed, the lawn serves no purpose, looks sterile, wastes labour and pollutes. Looking back on the history of lawns, it seems snobbery might well be the root cause of the malady. Two hundred years ago only the rich could afford a lawn, since cutting one was a laborious, and relatively costly procedure, involving someone highly skilled with a scythe. The wealthy enjoyed their lawns as both symbols of their wealth and their authoritarian passion for orderliness. Then, alas, in 1880 the lawnmower was invented and the middle classes, joyously emulating their masters, began replacing their back gardens with the Green Menace. I am attempting to eliminate the monstrosity that I have inherited when I bought my house and replace it with wild flowers, herbs, and fruit-bearing shrubs. But I am not alone in this endeavor.

Counterpunch ran an article on lawn elimination and there is even a

http://www.fritzhaeg.com/garden/initiatives/edibleestates/main.html

Web Site web site devoted to the cause. Homeowners of the world unite! You have nothing to lose but your lawns!

6 Comments:

Blogger freeman said...

Yes! I'm with you 100% on this - down with lawns!

I've always used the word yard to describe the portion of one's property that hasn't been built upon, even before developing any sense of scorn towards "lawns".

Once I own some property, it'll all be put to good use - there will be no "lawn". Of course, I'll have to choose a place to live where I'll have human neighbors as opposed to the typical thugs and zombies who'll harass and complain to the government about people who don't conform to the suburban death aesthetic.

7:53 AM  
Blogger Werner said...

Why not get a few animals to graze in your yard? Goats, horses whatever suits your fancy. This would help to keep down the "lawn" and might really piss off the neighbours. Of course they could get the law after you. (Shit, well I tried ... )

9:20 AM  
Blogger Larry Gambone said...

I would love to have a couple of goats and a flock of chickens, but the BY-LAWS forbid it. Imagine being dragged away in handcuffs for having an "illegal chicken"! But anyway, my neighbors are cool and dont like the by-laws any more than I do.

7:12 PM  
Blogger Pat Murtagh said...

A little advise on lawn destruction:
1)Animals like cattle and horses are grazers "par excellance" and will do little to a lawn other than keep it at a 1/1/2 to 2 cm length, and their upkeep will be MUCH more laborious than mowing a lawn.
2)Sheep and goats are "deep grazers", but they are very unlikely to destroy a lawn as the grass will regenerate after their grazing given normal weather conditions no matter how closely they crop the lawn.
3)Goats, in particular, are more browsers than grazers and they are in contradiction to your desire to have fruit bearing bushes. They are one of the more efficient methods of "debushing" an area of land. I've seen them in action, and even a small herd can destroy a large area of bush in a short time. They prefer "woody vegetation" over grass.
The desire to have bushes (or a lot of other vegetation) is at cross purposes to the idea of having goats.
4)The most destructive animal for a lawn would,believe it or not, be poultry,even if they don't digest grass. Their rooting actions pull up roots and they also ingest the insects that the lawn depends on. Pigs are another alternative.
5)As a compromise consider rabbits. These escape most municipal bylaws and can be easily contained by proper fencing. They are not as destructive as poultry, but if they are enclosed enough they can do major havoc to a lawn, and you can reconfigure the area in other years. They are also easily saleable in areas that contain ethnic minorities.
6)If all else fails consider rototilling the whole area and reseeding. It will probably take a few years before you get the acreage you want. Sounds like a good project to me however.
Pat the M.

11:50 PM  
Blogger Werner said...

It's funny how small things can get people going. Anyway on thinking this over I realize that seven thousand square feet of lawn is probably equal to two average back and front yards in surburban Regina ( maybe three in an old neighbourhood) ie. about fifty ' by hundred-and-twenty '. This is not really not enough for grazing anything of larger size. Maybe it's all something to do with my general non-use of imperial measurements [except at work where some of "them" have difficulty doing grade school arithmetic...or so it seems(bitch,bitch)]. I sort of imagined a perimeter not an area. Thought to myself "wow, what kind of a mega-backyard is that? ". There are small "hobby farm" acreages close to Lumsden which came to mind. Similiarly on the BC lower mainland;you can take the city bus as far as Langley ( way past the yuppie houses in Surrey ) and find smaller bungelow style houses complete with a few hectares of open land. Many of these people have big gardens and/or keep horses on their property which is allowed in these deep suburb/semi-rural areas. There are also many places like this in England,where I come from originally. To carry on ... I guess I wouldn't be very concerned about grass on an area of three city lots although, like you, the idea of investing in an urban golf course sounds stupid. Evergreens will after a time weaken the grass at their base although these can take a long time to develop. But in B.C. I'm sure the growing season and (more than) sufficient rain would make all this a bit easier. As for my own personal slant ... the idea of "space in the country" (if I should be able to afford such a thing) always conjours up a peaceful small world centring about scientific interests, good music and horses. As for the issue of hard physical labour and what not ... there is work and there is "work" ... and how often you do you ever see an out-of-shape equestrian? Anyway that's just my personal stuff coming through.

Werner

( hope this thing publishes correctly)

11:18 AM  
Blogger Vache Folle said...

Our backyard is about an acre fenced in for the dogs. About a quarter is taken up by a pond and planting beds. The rest we keep mown for a play area (Jasper likes to fetch his Kong and needs a good bit of space). The mown area is 80% weeds and wildflowers and maybe 20% meadow grasses, but it looks fine and needs no maintenance other than the mowing, which I pay a guy to do. We don't fertilize or weed or sow grass seeds or any such thing, but we enjoy the meadow.

7:09 AM  

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