By Bob Hoeft
Now here is a difficult thought to think: Shrink your yard. It challenges everything that we have ever been exposed to in many neighbors’ activities and advertisements about lawn care. We see all of this beautiful manicured green lawn to the edges of the property and down to the shoreline and we somehow feel that this is the way it is supposed to be. But, who said?
What if we just stopped mowing and raking a section of our previously pampered property? Let the grass grow and the leaves gather. Perhaps, in our minds, we are afraid that the lawn inspector would show up and there would be a fine to pay. Ostracized by friends. Shunned by neighbors.
Once we start to mow and rake an area it represents such hard work on our part, how could we just let it go?
Actually. Barbara and I have been working on just such a project the past several years. We have established borders in areas where there were none; moved a line of small rocks inward or just let the wild area creep out. In 40 years on our property we never removed bushes or trees next to the lake; even added some.
It is our understanding this is good environmental practice. It slows down the runoff into the lake and absorbs nutrients. It takes some “paradigm shifting” to allow this to happen; what is beautiful is what nature does, not what we as humans do to satisfy our need for order.
We worry about invasive species in our environment; it goofs up the ecological balance of things. Barbara was reading a book the other day that suggests the most invasive species on the planet are human beings. Organizing everything to suit ourselves without consideration of the collateral damage we might be doing makes us just that – invasive species.
I say this humbly with the realization that over the years as we have developed our property we have been invasive. Maybe shrinking the yard is just a way of confessing that it is so.