Here is a picture of our new back yard, taken a couple days after we moved in:
It’s one vast expanse of hard core weeds, which had been occasionally mowed in the middle, and pretty much left to do as they pleased around the edges. It’s hard to tell from the picture, but the bank of weeds along the fence is about 10 feet deep, and three feet high. It was mostly thistles, but there were lots of sunflowers too. We have since removed the thistles, but left the sunflowers. We’ve mowed the weeds around the patio, and the whole place has a bit more of a well-kept feel to it now.
The previous owners were apparently not well-liked in the neighborhood. We’ve had three neighbors introduce themselves and then start telling stories about how bad the previous owners were. One lady told us that the people were upside down on their mortgage and trying to get the house to go into foreclosure. We know that isn’t true, because we saw their loan info before closing. They sold the house for $214,900 and they owed $177,000. Not upside down by any stretch of the imagination. We know that they got a check for about $22,000 at closing. I think that the neighbors were so annoyed by the way the previous owners kept the yard that they started to assume all sorts of things about these people, which may or may not be true. Part of it is just small-town mentality. People talk. But I think that the state of the yard had a lot to do with everyone’s dislike for these people. So we will be sure to keep our weeds mowed for the time being!
I read this article today, and found it particularly appropriate. We do plan to seed a small area of drought-resistant grass in the back yard. But most of the space will be taken over by vegetables, fruit trees, and berry bushes. In the front yard, we’ll also keep a small area of grass, but would like to eventually xeriscape most of it, the way we did at our old house. Being able to grow our own food was the primary reason we moved, but with the amount of space we now have, we also feel that we have a responsibility to use the land wisely and productively. I can see no benefit to watering and mowing such a giant expanse of lawn, and would feel like I was unjustly using much more than my fair share of the earth’s resources if we didn’t intend to make our land productive.