Lots of people have front yard gardens instead of lawn--I wouldn't exactly be a pioneer in creating a front yard garden, not even in my own suburb. My reasons for wanting to eliminate the lawngrass are many and varied, some selfish and others almost noble. All are very viable, defensible reasons, though. So actually putting my plan into action should have been no big deal, right?
Right. I mean, I'd already increased the front yard garden area exponentially since purchasing the house. I have been talking about systematically removing my lawngrass--not just this summer, but since I bought the house in 2004, for pete's sake--with a confidence that bordered on glee. And I even purchased the plants to landscape the remaining lawn area during various fall clearance sales.
And yet there I was, looking at the nursery pots all spread out over the grass, immobilized by my thoughts. All of the doubts that I had been keeping at bay began to tap on my shoulder one by one. Questions about resale value and what, really, the neighbors would think swirled through my head. The grass looked greener than it has since I've lived there, as if it were thumbing its nose at me for "giving up" and deciding to remove it. I swear that I could even hear my former father-in-law ask incredulously, "Really, Kim, you're going to dig up a perfectly good front lawn to plant these things?
I changed up a few of the perennial pots, then walked to the far end of the yard to look again at the shrubs I had lined up. Clearly, I was procrastinating. I finally reminded myself that I would likely be here in this house for the next twenty years. Even if I have to rip everything out at some point and sow a lawn in order to sell the house... well, I figure that I might as well enjoy having what I want in my front yard in the interim.
I took a deep breath and plunged the shovel into the ground at an angle, tipping up the end to loosen the sod. Once I got going, the combination of work and repetition eased my anxiety. I started thinking about pleasant things, like how much less time I'm going to spend mowing and whether I should use something like Karen's beautiful eco-grass to edge the sidewalk and fill in the tree lawn.
I rearranged the layout a few more times and pilfered plants from the rest of the garden to fill in the spaces. (The bergenia on the left, for example, should add some winter interest near my viburnum.)
After finishing the hard labor, I decided that I just might have enough time to mulch the new bed as well. I threw the last shovelful of mulch just as the first solar landscape light popped on... so unfortunately I didn't get any "after" pictures to share. That will have to wait until tomorrow.
But I did have just enough fading daylight to allow me to admire my handiwork. I stood in the exact same spot on the front sidewalk where I had wasted an hour earlier in the day, but this time I felt much less like a fraud. I didn't just talk the talk, I walked the walk--and I have an interesting new front yard to show for it. My back aches, my arm muscles resemble Jello... and still, I feel very, very good.