You can imagine how happy I was to see this in this morning’s NY Times, and not just because I’ll be living right next to Long Beach all next week: Towns Crack Down on Lawns

The article is a little too lenient on Austin, making it sound like enforcement officers driving around all day meting out fines to sprinkler offenders is as good as a truly sensible water use policy regarding lawns (i.e., prohibiting them). Last week Austin’s City Council made it official that Homeowners’ Associations in town cannot prohibit xeriscaping, rain barrels, or composting – a step in the right direction, but nowhere near enough.

I do wish to announce that the front yard river rock project has reached completion, much to everyone’s relief. It only took two weeks, all told, but the effort was intense. Yesterday one neighbor walking by asked Floyd if I was all right. Was he worried about my aching muscles, or did he imagine I had been suffering a bout of mania? My mind is as intact as ever (!), but my left elbow and right quad are angry with me. Sorely angry, I could say. That’s fine, because now I’m mad at them, too.

But check out the results!

In these first two photos I am standing at the end of the driveway. Below, that huge rock Floyd worked so hard to stand upright for me, her profile obscured by a salvia whose dark purple flower spikes are much loved by honeybees. I think the big rocks will really come into their own when winter decimates the landscape and there isn’t much greenery to look at.

I can’t imagine what people do without their own dear welder to make lovely fitted corners.

This cool parabolic curve came about because Floyd often thinks about drainage. The curvy column of rocks on the left is designed to send overflow away from the house and toward the sidewalk. Words cannot express how eager we are to see whether it works.
Every sharp corner was cut away and rounded.
Below, the stepping-stones across which you will glide to leave your chariot behind and enter our rarified universe, where you will be served luxuriant food and drink and a charming border collie will drop tennis balls at your feet:
Well, the part about the border collie is true.
This bench will soon be replaced by one made of metal and ipe (“ee-pay”), a beautiful wood so dense it sinks like a stone. The metal will either be steel, or aluminum tubing. I saw one online recently for almost three thousand dollars, but Floyd indicates I might be able to get a discount.
Now I think of it, aluminum would probably be best, eliminating the need to have the bench put in place by a crane. I want a plain, backless bench six feet long so I can carry out a pillow, a book, and a drink and catch whatever breeze may be going around the ‘hood. Working on this project made us both sharply aware of how pleasant shade + breeze is in the middle of summer, and the advantages of a corner lot when there is any breeze to be had.
The “warning track” of mulch will be taken over by the weedy lawn in no time. Or not. If any part of our yard will receive water as long as I have hose, rain barrel, or leftover cooking water, it will be this corner, where our wondrous live oak resides.
Never happy to leave well enough alone, I am using some of our leftover stones to add bits of color to the big rocks we hauled from our neighbors’ yard a few weeks ago.
I like to think there’s some room, even in the suburbs, for whimsy.
PS: Remember

from “Bud Love?” I wasn’t able to catch that bud doing what makes buds worth waiting for; but this morning the cactus near the corner bench had done it again.

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