The Organic Front Yard
Lilies & Brown Eyed Susans
The front yard
Your back yard is where the family gathers, where picnics and BBQs are enjoyed on the long warm summer afternoons; where children and pets roam.
Your front yard is a very different space. For many homeowners that front yard is the show piece and from a real estate point of view, it is an important part of the curb appeal of your property. In fact, a well kept lawn with landscaping to match, will increase the value of your home.
So if you are planning to sell you house soon, then the changes you will make to your front yard will be minimal.
You can still reduce the grass area, and thus the maintenance, by adding a specimen plant, a shrub (lilacs, dogwood, and ornamental crabapple) comes to mind. However, the plant that you select will suit where you live, and the effect you are trying to create.
I am a big fan of the ornamental or flowering crabapple, I do enjoy lilacs but only when they are in bloom.
Now, if you have no plans to sell and do not want to waste water maintaining a front yard putting green, then the first step towards creating the organic front yard iis to make a plan.
The first step in making that plan is to find out what city bylaws or other rules affect your front yard. You do not want to draw the wrath of the local bylaw department down on you and find you have fined for having a messy yard. So check with city hall first.
Once you know the rules, you can begin to the plan. You may find that a well drafted plan that clearly sets out your intentions, along with plant lists, will convince the authorities to stretch the rules a bit.
The next most important thing to do is chat with your neighbours and tell them what you are up to. If they are lawn fanatics you may find this rough going, but once again a detailed plan can come to your rescue.
You will most likely be working with native plants and many people refer to these native plants by another name, weeds, and they do not want a field of weeds growing next door.
So make a plan, be sure to include a plant list, find out the rules and talk with your neighbours.
The natural front yard is not achieved by simply stopping your maintenance schedule, if you just stop cutting the grass for example, you will not get a meadow but a mess, and your neighbours will complain, and the bylaw enforcement squad will drop by, so before you begin ask yourself do you really want a meadow or are you actually seeking something between the putting green and the field?
There are many alternatives that you could consider, incorporating, bulbs such as daffodils and tulips throughout the lawn, a rock garden, or a zen garden.
Know what you want and what it will take to get it and you move towards you goal with each step that you take.
You may be happy with a basic lawn that uses no harmful pesticides or fertilizers.