My Forlorn Front Yard 2 (A Natural Approach)

DON'T PANIC. Ok, only kidding. But what does a natural landscaper do when confronted with a space as awkward and inhospitable as the one I described yesterday?

Looking for the previous post? See "The Saga Begins."

One conventional approach to a space such as this one would be to call in a professional landscaping service, which would lay down sod, cut down the weedy looking trees across the front of the property, and install a few shrubs, possibly a tree if requested by the owner. If the owner could afford it, the resulting landscape could look "finished" within a matter of weeks. It would also look just like almost every other front yard in North America. There would be no connection to the natural landscape. It would not offer habitat for wildlife. It would not absorb water well (a special problem if you live on flood-prone land, as I do). And it would require regular maintenance.

But as a natural landscaper I am going to try something different. Landscaping that emulates natural systems is becoming increasingly popular in North America, for a variety of reasons. Natural landscapes provide habitat for native birds and other animals that cannot survive in conventional landscapes. They also offer many of the same ecological benefits that come to us from undeveloped land; these include flood control, protection of waterways and stabilization of soils. Natural areas are relatively easy to maintain – this saves homeowners time and money! They make excellent windbreaks and privacy screens. They also tend to be beautiful and serene.

In short, I want a space that will reflect the natural ecology of my region--which for me happens to be the Acadian Forest, a relatively small bioregion encompassing parts of the northeastern United States and Eastern Canada. That means that my front yard will be converted into a woodland of some sort. And I am planning to work with nature in order to get there.

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