#2 Lawn Options Series: Eat it!

We love our lawns but, much like your husband’s brother who came for a week two years ago, they suck up assets and never contribute to the household.

Lawns pollute: when we mow we pollute big time – stats in last week’s post here.

Lawns cost big bucks: gas, fertilizer, water bill, tools to care for it or you pay someone to come do all that work for you. Either way, it’s taking the jingle from your jeans.

Lawns take LOTS of work, as anyone who has one knows.

So let’s make that space in front of the house, and all the work we’ve been putting into it, give us something back! Like food. This garden from the movie “It’s Complicated” made us lust for it, but it was naughty Hollywood trickery.

Veggies were grown in greenhouses then installed the day of the movie shoot… tomatoes were wired onto vines… it’s all so unseemly. But we can have a real garden, with real food, giving us payback for all the toil in the yard. And it can be beautiful.

Fritz Haeg, through his ongoing art installation projects chronicled in his book Edible Estates: Attack on the Front Lawn, hopes we will look at our lawns differently, and then expand that to look at our homes, streets, neighborhoods and cities with fresh eyes.

Fritz installed a garden at the Sierra Ridge apartments here in Austin in 2008 – 18 months later he checked in on how it was doing, to update his book for it’s second printing last spring. Here is what had done well (keep in mind how hot and dry the summer of 2009 was):

Herbs
rosemary
sage (various varieties)

Fruit trees and bushes
apple
berries (various varieties)
fig
mandarin
peach
persimmon
pomegranate

Vegetables
artichoke
pepper
tomato

from "Espaliers and Vines For The Home Gardener" by Harold O. Perkins.

One way to shoehorn an apple or a fig tree onto a small lot is to train it to grow¬†as an espaliered tree. I’m working with a homeowner right now to include a gorgeous espaliered fig tree on a large courtyard wall. Can’t wait to see it in place!

~Sue Lambe, ASLA

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