In the last few years as we have thought about what kind of environment we would like to create on our own half acre, we have focused primarily on solving some problems (the silver mapel over the pool, for example); adding gardens and rearranging existing gardens in our backyard and along our driveway. We moved fences out, moved trees to new locations and worked with a landscape designer friend to tie it together so that it doesn’t just look like “a jungle of plants.” All the while we have been learning not only about what “looks good” but also about “what is good” and what “good” we would like to do with the time and place given to us.
During this time we have become master gardener volunteers for various organizations and learned a lot about what works, what doesn’t, and what is sustainable long term. We’ve been introduced to Doug Tallamy (Bringing Nature Home) and Sara Stein (Noah’s Garden: Restoring the Ecology of Our Own Backyards) and many others. We’ve become beekeepers and butterfly raisers. We’ve begun to get a vision of what our space could become and what we would like it to become; what matters to us and what doesn’t matter so much anymore. (Do I really care to spend the time and money to seal-coat the driveway every year so that it sheds water in great waves down the storm sewer or would I rather it become ‘naturally’ permeable?)
Having come this far (and we’re not sure how far this is yet), last summer we began giving serious thought to eliminating most of the monoculture we had for a front yard (grass) and slowly remaking it into mostly native, primarily perennial gardens.
Here are some pictures of how the remaking of our front yard began: