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Naturalization of my Property

Front Yard - 2002

Naturalizing the front yard presented a bit more of a challenge for me than doing the backyard. The reason is that I live in a tidy (but not barren) suburban area. Most lawns are neatly trimmed, and the local "lawnmower derby" runs every week without fail. I don't wish to be too much of a renegade, nor do I wish to offend anyone. That's just my way.

So, I wanted to naturalize the front yard, while at the same time keep it somewhat "inline" with the neighbourhood norms. Last summer (2001) I obtained a quote for completely naturalizing the front yard, including the boulevard (the area between the sidewalk and the street), including plants and labour. I decided that the cost was far beyond what I was willing to spend. That's when I decided on a "compromise" plan that I would implement myself.

  

Along the edge of the porch I planted a double row of grey dogwoods. These are in the foreground in this photo.

There are two half-barrels on the porch, planted with "domestic" perennials. One of these is visible on the left edge of this photo.

 
  

Also planted are a native white ash tree and domestic junipers. 

The remains of daffodils are still visible in this picture. They provide vibrant early spring colour, and disappear in early summer.

A domestic juniper tree and yew (to the left) and some domestic cedars (in the background) co-exist with some small native shrubs.

 

  

I dug up all the weeds and mulched the area thoroughly, with the help of my partner, Julie.

In one area we planted native silverweed, which is shown here around a flat rock we brought back from Utah last year. We "traded" a hubcap for it. For the story, see our SW USA 2001 trip travelogue on this website, Utah section, Valley of the Gods.

Silverweed spreads quickly, and makes an excellent ground cover. The roots are also edible.

 
  
An overview of the whole front yard. We still keep a section of lawn, and may always.

Overhanging the view (upper right corner) is a red Norway maple. Unfortunately, this is an invasive alien species. It has a tendency to shade out all other plants underneath it, including grass. However, I do not wish to remove it as it provides a nice screen between the house and the sidewalk/road. It would take a number of years for a replacement tree to grow to a comparable size.

This is a good example of a situation in which one compromises somewhat. If I knew for sure that I was going to be living here for 10, 20, or more years, I would cut it down right away and plant a replacement tree. But if I am only going to be here for 5-10 years, then I want the shield for the time that I am here.

Yes, compromise is necessary sometimes. But in naturalization projects it's important to not compromise too much, or inappropriately.

  

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Naturalization:  Before    1999    2000  •  2001  •  2002  •  2004  •  2005
Before & After Comparisons    Plant List    Animal List

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