What to do with ALL THE SOD?

by Beth | More Than Oregano

Current small backyard with ALL THAT SOD

At my prodding, Practical Hubby and I took a stroll around our backyard to chat about habitat expansion plans.  My head was brimming with visions of all that the larger garden areas would provide.  Space for birds twittering amongst cinnamon colored river birch bark, butterflies flitting from milkweed to coneflowers and back again, and a host of other whimsical fantasies.  Practical Hubby was looking disdainfully at ALL THE SOD and envisioning the back-breaking labor in his near future.

After twenty plus years of marriage Practical Hubby and I understand that most of our home projects begin this way.  The age-old episode of Vision Meets Reality.  However, four homes, with many projects both inside and out, have seasoned and softened us.  So, I didn’t take it too personally when Practical Hubby kept returning to, “What are we going to do about ALL THE SOD?”

Ignoring the question, I went on to things that I knew he could support.  Our first goal was easy to establish:  budget consciousness. No doubt this little project will help stimulate the local nursery economy.  However, my goal is to keep as much green in our wallets as I can by coming up with innovative ways to help Mother Nature splash her green around our yard.

Our second goal was also easy to establish:  There is no time like the present.  We were already in the planning stages.  In my opinion the project has started.  Unfortunately, goal #2 circled us back to Practical Hubby’s main question, “…..and ALL THE SOD?”

The real problem is that while I can’t deny the practicality of Hubby’s question, I just don’t like any of the options!  Sod-cutting.  Hard.  Smothering. Time consuming.  Tilling. Past experience has proven it to be hard and not incredibly effective. Herbicides. I don’t see the point.  Once the sod is dead, I still have to use something to cut it out.

So, I dodged the question and diverted his attention back to Goal #1.  (I know.  Shameful.) “Look at all we already have in our yard that we can use!” I exclaimed.  It’s true.  According to the lists upon lists of great plants for birds in Mariette Nowak’s Birdscaping In The Midwest, we have a tremendous amount of wonderful base plantings to build upon.

A few of our small but established trees

Our tree inventory includes: spruce, willow, ash and maple.  All are considered by Nowak to be highly attractive to birds. In the shrub category we have holly, juniper, dogwood, bird’s nests spruce and mugho pine.  Excellent.  And while we don’t have a huge amount of variety in the perennial category, what we do have is doing it’s job of attracting birds, butterflies, and all those wonderful needed insects.  The added bonus is that most of it is in need of division.  We can either spread it around or make larger rifts.

By the end of our backyard stroll, I was feeling encouraged.   Unfortunately, Practical Hubby was not so elated.  We still hadn’t answered his most pressing question.  I don’t know what we are going to do with ALL THE SOD.  Right now, I just don’t know.

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