We have a nice big back yard, but our front yard is small. Particularly if you only count the space between the house and the sidewalk (which is the only plantable space) it's just a little patch.
And it's a little patch that hasn't gotten much love since we moved in. There was a bit of grass, some invasive vines, a few spots of flowers that pop up randomly...oh, and, of course, the hostas...but overall, the effect was pretty drab.
Since we're on a landscaping roll this year, I decided it was time to spruce up the front yard. There were three requirements:
- Whatever we planted had to be shade tolerant. Between the house and the nearby trees, there isn't much sun (although there is some).
- We needed something low maintenance--i.e. no more mowing the lawn once a week.
- We needed something that would remain (in some form, at least) in the winter to hold the soil.
While not "requirements" per se, I also wanted something that would be pretty and attract pollinators. I ended up settling on a mini-meadow.
To get started, we tilled up all the grass and other plants that were in the space. (Don't worry, the hostas got moved to the back yard, so we still have our Hacienda del Hosta!) Then we waited a bit to allow any new weeds that were churned up to germinate. Only after handpicking those weeds (the handpicking is important so that you don't churn up more weed seeds), were we ready to plant our flowers.
I ordered the "shade" mix from American Meadows. It has a good mix of annuals (which should take off this year), biennials, and perennials (for the long haul).
Per the instructions on the package, we mixed the seed with playground sand in order to be able to see where we were spreading it. (The Kid loved that part.) After spreading the seed and sand, Sweet Husband used a large shovel to tamp the seeds down and ensure good contact with the ground. For the next month (or until the plants are six inches tall), we'll water daily, but after that the mini-meadow should be self-sustaining. In theory, all we'll have to do is mow once in the fall, and potentially reseed just a little each spring.
This is completely an experiment. I'm not sure if the flowers will take off, or if we'll just have a little, hot patch of dirt, come July. I'll let you all know how it turns out though!
[P.S. The winner of the stationery holder is Karissa. Congrats on reaching that three month milestone with your little one, and I'll be in touch about getting the prize to you!]