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Thursday, April 25, 2013

My View of Spring Landscaping

Landscaping in the spring is a national craze this time of year.  For some of us, it started last month, for some of us, we're just now getting out of the house to see what sort of damage Old Man Winter managed to wreak as he passed through our yards like a vagrant who had time on his hands and a child's urge to spray water everywhere while hitting everything in sight with a thorny, dead branch.  I've never seen a vagrant do this, actually, but I imagine if he did, it would look a lot like many of our yards in late March.  It might even look the same if a rich, fully-employed pillar of the community did the same thing to our yards.  I didn't mean anything by using a vagrant in my analogy of Old Man Winter.  I'm sure there are some vagrants out there who are far more noble than some of the scandalous pillars of the community we hear of.  I won't argue the point.  However, I did consider that there are going to be far fewer vagrants reading this blog online than pillars of the community, and so I suppose I just felt like it would offend fewer people to take a shot at vagrants instead of community pillars.
  I've forgotten what I was writing about...
  Spring landscaping! point was that now is the time to get out and make that yard beautiful.
  But as we all know, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  And what I consider to be a beautiful yard is not the same as, say, what my wife considers to be beautiful.  And that's okay.  We're all unique, and have our own unique ways of expressing ourselves.  Fortunately for our neighbors, my wife's expressions of beauty end up in our landscaping.  My own, uh, unique ideas, don't make it out the front or back doors.  But today I'd like to offer up my ideas of creative and exciting ways to beautify our lawn.
  Let's start with the basis of a lawn: the grass.
  Grass is a weed-like growth that, unchecked, will take over every inch of your property.  This includes your driveway, and your flower beds, and your utility/wash room.  Great care must be taken to prevent this invasive, sentient organism from its evil schemes.  Allow me to toss out a few suggestions:
  Diesel is getting too expensive to use as a deterrent against this pernicious graminoid.  (Look it up--I've provided the link to ease your research.)  And though gasoline is not cheap either, it is still a fantastic choice for killing grass.  There is only one little problem with this.  Be sure not to use too much of it.  It will burn you if it finds an ignition source, which is easier than you might think.  Gasoline evaporates like the money in your 401K after Ben Bernanke reports on yet another dour, doom-and-gloom statistic.  But unlike your money, which you can never find again, the gasoline is still there, just waiting to ignite.  All it takes is the spark from your car's spark plug when, say, your wife jumps in the car to run to Home Depot for more flowers and plants, to ignite the gasoline fumes that hang over your yard in a pattern similar to the one you made when you poured the gas along the borders of your property.  This is a very bad thing.  In fact, now that I think of it, perhaps gas is not the best way to control the growth of your lawn.
  Dead leaves.  This can work if you have a lot of trees on your property, or your neighbors have lots of trees and don't want their leaves.  Just rake up all the leaves you can find, leave them in big piles wherever you don't want grass, and leave them there.  That's right: leave the leaves.  Just make sure you did not pour gasoline on the ground before you rake the leaves into a pile on that spot.
  Campfires.  Kids love campfires.  And if you want an excuse to kill the grass in a particular spot, here's where you can involve the kids, everyone will have a great time, and no one will suspect you're just trying to kill the lawn.  Grab all the big branches you can find that Old Man Winter tore out of the trees, build a bonfire, stuff as many of those leaves you raked into and around the dead branches, and light 'er up.  Now, go get hot dogs, marshmallows, chocolate, graham crackers, donuts, or anything else you want to stick into a fire, take some of the little branches you did not stick into your bonfire, whittle off all the funny little, teeny baby branches, and you should have a fairly straight, flexible but durable hot dog/marshmallow/doughnut stick.  After everyone has eaten too much of this fine, State Fair fare, and once the fire has burned itself out, and after the kids have all gone to sleep while watching a movie, and after one or two of them wakes up and throws up on you as they shake you to tell you they don't feel so good, your lawn will be blackened, charred, and unable to grow grass for several months.  
  There are two things to remember about the fire.  One: if the fire is not big enough, and does not produce enough ash, the grass will not only return quickly, it will come back thicker, and greener than ever.  Do not fail to make a big fire.  Two:  If you were foolish enough to pour the gasoline as a grass killer--pay attention here, please--DO NOT light the bonfire.
  Having read back over this post, I'm beginning to get worried that one of three things might happen.  First of all, the EPA might fine you for polluting your lawn with gasoline.  Secondly, it is very possible you could end up burning down your house.  Worst of all, and thirdly, you might injure yourself, or even worstly, your children.  So I'm rethinking all of my advice here.  It may be safest to go with this last suggestion.
  Concrete.  This is more expensive than diesel or gasoline.  It is not as fun as a bonfire.  And like the bonfire,  it is only temporary.  Strange as it may sound, grass will eventually come up through your concrete.  However, this will take longer than the grass growing back on the site of a large bonfire.  So for a while, anyway, the grass will stay away.  And the best part about it is that as far as I know, concrete is not combustible.  And to date, the EPA has not banned the use of it.  Though in the future, who knows?  They love to ban all the good stuff.
  So take advantage of this while it is still legal and pour concrete over every square inch of your property.  Don't worry about our need for grass and plants to create our breathable air.  There are plenty of people out there who love to grow grass for the sheer joy of cutting it every five days.  They are sick people, to be sure, but there are plenty of them.  Their grass will continue to produce plenty of oxygen.  And you can sit on a lawn chair on your concrete, and watch them struggle with their weed-eaters and mowers and edgers with the satisfaction of knowing you don't need to pollute the air with such noisy, mechanical devices.  Because, honestly, paving your yard is the greenest choice you can make.  You just might need to paint it green to fit in with the neighbors.


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