Adventures in Eco-friendly Landscaping

While I was enjoying the crisp fall air and sunshine of Buenos Aires last week, Portland must have had a lot of rain. I know this because I returned home to a backyard full of weeds. They’d taken over in just two weeks despite a frantic weeding frenzy just days before leaving. Our yard drains into the Tualatin River and so I refuse to use weed spray. Before I’d even unpacked my suitcases I was in the back pulling out those determined little suckers. I’m not an immaculate gardener, in fact I’m more inclined towards the messy wildflower look than neatly trimmed hedges, but weeds really, really irk me.

The other thing that irritates me is grass. We’ve owned our home for three years and, despite my husband’s valiant efforts, our front yard grass has struggled. This spring it was so patchy and sad we decided we had to start over or chuck it all together. We’re not big on the heavy fertilizers and weed spray that seem necessary to keep grass healthy so we came up with another plan – kill it! We covered our entire front yard with bright blue tarps just days before we left for Argentina, so that we could return home to dead grass. We’re going to give it a few more days to make sure it’s really dead down to the roots and then, with my dad’s help, we plan to landscape the front yard with native plants and rocks. Not only will our front yard look better but it will require a lot less water and no chemicals to maintain it.

If you have a weed-control technique that doesn’t require chemicals, please share it here. If you love to pull weeds, please come over any time!

Eco-friendly grass killer. Lovely, eh?



  1. Lisa said,

    June 3, 2008 at 4:42 pm

    We used corn gluten meal this year on our lawn. We didn’t apply it right away this spring as we should have, but it still seems to have controlled the weeds that were threatening to take over our front yard. We’ll definitely keep using it throughout the season. I don’t recall what brand we used, but we purchased it at a local garden store.

    Here’s a brief description of corn gluten:

  2. June 16, 2008 at 10:27 pm

    […] 16, 2008 at 10:27 pm (Caring for the Planet) A few weeks ago I posted a lovely photo of our front yard draped in bright blue tarps, our attempt to kill our grass without using Round-up. […]

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