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Naturalization of my Property

Backyard - "Before"

Here are pictures of the backyard before I did any naturalization work (except for area on the shore of the pond).

1998: Here is what the backyard looked like for the first 2 summers that I lived here.  I kept the lawn as it was when I moved in.

However, I started to naturalize the pond slope in 1997, which is visible in the center of the picture in the mid-distance.  I stopped cutting the grass, and gradually planted native field plants, which thrived and spread.

Unfortunately, I was misled into believing that the herbicide "Roundup" was safe to use, so I used some in limited amounts in this area.  Once I found out that there was in fact quite a controversy surrounding the safety of this product I immediately ceased use of it.

Those are apple trees at the back.  I have never trimmed them, allowing them instead to grow up and out.  They still continue to produce a bountiful crop of fruit every year, much to the delight of the squirrels!
The big branch hanging over at the very top of the picture is part of an oak tree.  The tree to the left is a large hawthorn of some sort.
1998: Another view, looking off to the right of the above picture.

Beyond the birdfeeder you can see the dense buckthorn hedge that closed off the woods area until I removed most of it.  Very little light got in through this barrier.

I had the bird feeder up early on, and there's a small pile of rocks at the base of the pole to hold it upright.

It's a lawn desert as far as you can see (well, almost).


So, why did I want to get rid of the lawn?
  • Lawns require watering, sometimes prodigious amounts of it during the dry summer months.  I watered the lawn the first summer I was there.  Not only did it require attention every day, in order to water different areas of it, but my water bill went through the roof.
  • They need weekly cutting, which entails dragging a noisy, polluting and smelly machine back and forth over it.  Or, in the case of an electric mower, less noise, no local pollution, but still a pain.
  • Weeds are constantly trying to invade any lawn, requiring ongoing vigilance and work to remove them by pulling them up.  Or, many people use pesticides (poisons).
  • Frankly, lawns are boring.  There's no flowers, no variation in the flatness, not very scenic.  Just a flat, green carpet.  They all look the same - a boring monoculture, just like a field of corn.
  • Lawns have very low biodiversity.  This in turn weakens the entire ecosystem.  A non-diverse ecosystem is more susceptible to disease and pests.
  • Lawns discourage encourage animal, bird and insect life.  There are exceptions, of course, such as rabbits.  But I have found that rabbits prefer other plants, such as dandelions!  An area of diverse field plants provides food, shelter and nesting materials for birds and animals.  And you might say that discouraging insect life is good, since they're a pain anyways.  But birds, bats, and other insects eat insects.  So if you like and appreciate birds, for example, then you need to have food for them.  Simple.  And interesting insects such as dragonflies need other insects to prey upon.
1996: This is what the back of the house looked like in the summer of 1996 before I moved in.

Please remember, when viewing the rear of this house, that it looks deceptively large, since the basement is the ground floor at the rear of the house.

Notice how little plant life there is here, except for grass and the gardens along the edge of the property.



Woods area: Before

Here what the woods area looked like before I had done much with it. This is actually a view of the neighbour's woods area (my apologies to the neighbours for using their area as a negative example!).

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

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