There is a very ugly place in my yard.
I don't know why I cringe to show it to all of you, dear readers, as it is right in my front yard for all the neighborhood to see, but here I am, averting my eyes..
This sunken down, weed-infested strip is in my front yard to the side of my house. Our driveway is on the left and an empty lot is on the right. There is a little bit of grass left over from when the house builders threw some sod on top of the terribly compacted clay a couple years ago. You can see how well I've maintained that sod...
In front of the strip is a sidewalk, just so that everyone walking through the neighborhood can admire this lovely area with it's prime focal feature - the gigantic green utility box.
Something had to be done.
What I really wanted to do was till up the entire area and put a sophisticated planting along the area that would somehow magically mask the giant hideous utility box but still survive total neglect. Unfortunately a whole lot of cables run the length of the strip which rules out tilling. On to a more short term plan: lasagna gardening!
If you've never heard of lasagna gardening, it's all about layering different materials on top of the existing dirt and weeds that will eventually 'cook' down into compost and attract earthworms up through the soil. In theory, after a few seasons, this no-dig method will produce good soil that can easily be planted in.
First layer: corrugated cardboard or layers of newspaper
Wet the cardboard or newspaper thoroughly. This layer will smother the weeds.
Next layers: a mix of compostable materials
I used layers of straw, shredded leaves, and grass clippings and topped it off with a layer of mulch..
..and added a couple raised beds made of painted 1x8 boards for the kids to have fun in!
Arg, still a few weeds to remove, but much better than before! And hopefully in another year or two, it will be ready for that sophisticated planting design! (And I have some time to think of what in the world will hide that ugly utility box...)