After just a year of benign neglect, the grass in our front yard has given up and died. If it happens that easily, it tells me that we’re dealing with a non-native grass. I’m not one to obsess over my lawn, so I’m not about to fertilize the hell out of it every year for the sake of a grass that doesn’t even belong here. No, now we’re on a mission to turn our front yard into a native prairie.

Perhaps that’s a bit extravagant. (Are prairies extravagant?) It’s a small lot; I don’t know that it will count as a prairie. But they will be prairie plants.

Over the next several years, we’re replacing our front lawn — such as it is — with grasses and flowers that are native to this area, that thrive in medium-dry soil and lots of sun, that will require less maintenance and be better for the environment. We started by going out to Landscape Alternatives, a nursery that specializes in just this sort of project. They’re great people who really know their stuff. I heartily recommend them.

We’re starting this year by tackling the 4-5 foot hill going down to the sidewalk. We’ll lay down six or more layers of newspaper covered with wood chips, to kill the grass and weeds that are there now. Then we’ll put in the plants, one every square foot, water it a bit, and carefully weed over the next year or so. After that, the plants should come back happily on their own, and suppress most weed growth on their own.

Over the next few years, we’ll move back toward the house bit by bit. We’ll have a stone path, a bench, even a hammock and a koi pond! Maybe not the pond. Neither of us is a gardener, so even this year’s small step is an ambitious project. But I’m very much looking forward to it.