The lack of rain, paired with this season’s uncomfortably high temperatures, has distressed the region’s ubiquitous manicured lawns. Frankly, few things are so curious as watering one’s lawn, only to necessitate regular mowing. Property owners are choosing increasingly common alternatives, often using low-maintenance plantings in a rain garden. They are designed to retain rain water, rather than relying on public storm sewers.
Other homeowners are harvesting food, making productive use of available resources to grow vegetables and fruit trees. While watering is undoubtedly necessary, the bountiful output of produce seems a fair trade. Some employ more orderly placement in raised beds and well-defined paths, as seen in the example above, while others prefer a decidedly wilder look, bounded only by the sidewalks and curb.
East Lansing’s progressive Oakwood neighborhood has numerous outstanding examples. Granted, the look does not appeal to everyone. It may be discouraged or forbidden in more exclusive neighborhoods, which judge the look as unkempt and out-of-place. Yet, individual reasons for undertaking this convention are varied. Perhaps the rear yard provides a safer place for children to play or it is too shady to sustain gardens. Whatever the reason, the practice makes improved use of available land and water resources.
“Eye for Design” is our weekly look at some of the nicer properties in Lansing. It rotates each with Eye candy of the Week and Eyesore of the Week. If you have a suggestion, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call Berl Schwartz at 999-5061.