Front yard clean up

Sometimes you get a request that you can’t refuse. For instance, a request from your wife like: “That carpet has to go!”

The carpet Cathy was talking about was keeping the weeds down in the front yard, and has been doing it for about one and a half years. She made the point that our neighbors should no longer be objected to look at my innovative but unsightly weed control. I can’t argue with that, can I?

Besides the irrefutable request, a number of other incentives were waiting in the wings.

I haven’t been tinkering in a garden for way too long and I am really missing it. This is my chance to indulge.

Removing the carpet gave me the opportunity to re-grade the front yard, adding a slight pitch from the house to the sidewalk. Whereas previously we had some water ponding next to the foundation, it now drains away from the house.

It is never a good idea to have exposed soil right next to the house. With each rain, dirt and dust will splash onto the building. To prevent this, I put a plastic sheet down (to prevent rain from wetting the ground right next to the house), followed by some of the old carpet (to protect the plastic sheet) and topped it off with some clean limestone gravel. This simple assembly reduces the unwanted splash and will keep the elevation much cleaner.

I also had three trays of sedges that I grew from seeds two and a half years ago. Yes, the poor sedges have survived in the trays for two growing seasons! It actually is a good indicator that these sedges may be tougher than one may have thought.

Still, I did not want to continue the gamble for a third season, but rather free the sedges from their little prisons and plant them into the front yard. The cardboard helped keeping the weeds down, but unlike the carpet, it will decompose.

That all happened in mid-May. And believe me, we and our neighbors like our new front yard much better, and so did the sedges, which literally exploded in size.

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About Marcus de la fleur

Marcus is a Registered Landscape Architect with a horticultural degree from the School of Horticulture at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and a Masters in Landscape Architecture from the University of Sheffield, UK. He developed a landscape based sustainable pilot project at 168 Elm Ave. in 2002, and has expanded his skill set to building science. Starting in 2009, Marcus applied the newly acquired expertise to the deep energy retrofit of his 100+ year old home in Chicago.

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