NOW THAT’S FUNNY
Lush, green lawns are a standard in suburbia. Not everyone has one, but we’re all supposed to want one. These days, with all the heat and drought, the lawns around my neighborhood are looking pretty brown. Ours is beautiful, but that’s because my husband considers mowing and watering more fun than watching a Yankee game. I’m not kidding.
Most people, though, don’t like the time they spend working on the lawn, or they pay a service to do it for them. My next-door neighbor just had underground sprinklers installed, and he is unpleasantly surprised that – with all that water – he actually has to mow the grass once a week!
Enter the meadow. No, I don’t mean, go in to the meadow. I mean, the meadow has entered the scene. Meadows are now a chic and viable alternative to a lawn. If yards were fashion, meadow might be the new black.
According to the Wall Street Journal, meadows are becoming popular with landscapers and homeowners as an easy, good-looking choice for what used to be lawn areas. They can be very easy to maintain – no fertilizing, no watering, and mowing just once a year! Maybe my neighbor should have planted a meadow.
Meadows have a wild, natural look that can be off-putting to some homeowners associations, because what looks like a beautiful, untamed field to one person might look like a mess of weeds to someone else. But you can’t argue with the ease of maintenance of a meadow, and for the environmentally conscious gardener, they are a boon, because with no watering and no fertilizing, they are easy on the planet.
However, they are not that easy to create. You don’t just throw down a bag of seeds and then go inside and watch an on-demand movie. They typically take about three years to establish, and may cost up to $1,000 in seed for a ½ acre property. Like most “natural looks” they don’t happen that naturally. You need to kill your existing lawn, you need to prep the soil, and then you need to plant a good balance of various grass and flower seeds.
We’ll never have a meadow. First, my husband loves his lawn. I wish I could tell you he loves his kids more than his lawn, but frankly, it depends on how everybody is behaving that day. Second, our property is small – just 50 x 100 feet. I worry that a tiny meadow wouldn’t look like a meadow, it would look like some crummy strip next to Route 17. Third, kids play on our lawn. They’re not going to tramp through a foot of grass and flowers during a whiffle ball game. They wouldn’t even be able to see first base.
I do like the idea that rough beauty can be achieved through neglect. I’d like to bring this theory indoors. Perhaps my humid and rather dark upstairs bathroom could be a rainforest. I could just grow a patch of cushy moss for the bathmat, and a lovely canopy of vines instead of a shower curtain. Then I could get some pet slugs to eat the mold, so I’d never have scrub the tiles, as a fellow in Australia did.
I’ve never been a perfectionist, so “pleasantly unkempt” is a look I can achieve. If only I could get my stacks of paperwork to look as soothing as wildflowers.
Pam Lobley writes the “Now That’s Funny” column. Her book, “You Definitely Know You’re a Mom When …” is now available on Kindle. Follow her on twitter @plobley.