Friday, April 20

The "greening" of our house

We are not even in our new house yet, but I have already been diving into books and magazines on how to save as much natural resources as possible by making our new yard more sustainable in this desert climate. I want to xeroscape some of it with wildflowers, yucca plants, more water-efficient grass, and rock. But there is a part of me, that I have to admit, and that most certainly won't come as a shock to anyone that knows me very well....I LOVE green, lush lawns. I love to walk, run the dogs, lay in, entertain in and admire green grass. I didn't have to take it too seriously in my first condo here because there was a strip the size of a Slip N' Slide. And in our present house for two more weeks, we added an extra flagstone patio to take up more space and reduce the grass coverage. We also planted wild grass, and a few other not-so-water-hungry plants. I wanted to do more xeroscaping but really, I love green, green grass.

In our new house, there is much more lawn. Try 3500sq. ft MORE lawn. That is a total of 0.19 of an acre in which we can build patios, add foliage, flowers, plants, pebble walkways, maybe a pond, and hey, maybe even a slip n' slide. Among all my plans and sketches came this article I read this moring in the WSJ that really opened up my eyes to what I have gotten myself into. We, as Americans:

  • Burn 720 Million Gallons of gas a year mowing our lawns.

  • The mowers spew pollutants such as carbon monoxide, smog-forming nitgrogen oxides, and carbon dioxide.

  • A gas-powered push mower emits as much pollution in an hour as 11 cars, and a riding mower emits as much as 34 cars.

  • The typical landscaped yard uses over 10,000 gallons of water a year, not including rain and snow.

  • The average yard is 1/5 of an acre.

I am not going to get preachy here, but I am going to try and do as much as I can to make our yard as ecco friendly, gorgeous, useful, and better for the evironment. If anyone has any tricks of their own, please send them along.

Here's a good start: Ozone Aware
and apparently, zoysia is one heck of a good grass to use.

In honor of Earth Day weekend, tomorrow Christy and I are volunteering all day with my company's ACTS program in the VOC Parkfield Restoration Project. We will be building trails, raking gravel, etc. Thanks and have a Happy Earth Day weekend!


saffry said...

We're trying to work out what to do with almost an acre, after years of not even having to mow the lawn. We don't even have a mower. I don't think I can talk Dan into a old-fashioned mower, but I'll at least look at electric ones. Dan wants a nice, flat field to teach Nathan Lacrosse.

We'll also be composting, and want to plant some dwarf apple trees and fruit bushes.

saffry said...

You got me thinking about lawns, and I thought you'd be just the person to appreciate the Robo-mower profiled in this article in GRIT magazine.

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