I want my yard to look something like this:
And in reality, our "yard" , if you can call it that, looks much more like this:
We live 20 miles from the WY border and we have heavy, red, clay soil. It's bakes to an asphalt like hardness in the hot, hot summers with full on sun.
I plant stuff and it is either choked out by the bind weed and kocia weed or it is baked into a charred crisp which disappears in a puff of smoke. Oh, kocia weed? It's the stuff that makes tumble weeds. In the fall and spring, when the wind blows, we get MOUNTAINS of tumble weeds piled up against our fences. They blow in from who knows where.
This year I rototilled up a section of the yard to plant a Colorado native prairie grass, Blue Grama. Supposedly it LIKES bad soil, is best germinated from seed and it's low growing for little to no maintenance like lawnmowing. The only downside is that it's a clump grass so anyone running across our yard will probably break both ankles, "snap, crackle, pop!" but I think it's our best shot of having any sort of grass. Besides, you shouldn't run with your beer or wine because you might spill it. Duh.
I go on an annual bind and kocia weed killing spree each year. Before I knew what I was dealing with, I'd mix the Roundup according to the directions on the bottle. The bind weed and kocia weeds would actually give me the finger while growing in thicker and stronger before my eyes.
Now, in my countrified wisdom, I mix the Roundup to something like 6x stronger than the directions reccomend. I think it's the equivalent of the fuel required by the Space Shuttle Challenger. The weeds have no chance in hell. Sure, I'm probably sterilizing my ovaries and increasing my risk to every type of cancer known to man and beast, but the weeds are GONE.
The Friday newspaper has a gardening insert called, "Grow!". It features gardening tips, the perennial flower of the week, the best cool season or warm season vegetables, common garden pests etc.
I've been cutting out and saving write-ups about plants I think might make it at our house for the last two years. I am armed with a hand out from the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens titled, "Perennials for the High Plains" outlining plants that grow well in Cheynne, WY.
I've visited the Denver Botanic Gardens looking for plants they claim will grow well in the CO climate and are xeric, meaning they don't need much water. I've scribbled notes, common names and the latin botanical names of plants on little scraps of paper and I've amassed all these scraps of paper along with the newspaper clippings and handouts into a pile.
I'm pulling plants up on the internet and trying to decide what to plant. I'm pretending to know what in the hell I'm actually doing by determining which plant will bloom when, how tall it will get and what colors will look best together.
I actually thought about creating an Excel spreadsheet to help me figure it out. Or drawing a scaled model of our yard and coloring in pictures of plants.
Who in the hell am I kidding?!
I have no idea what I'm doing. THIS should be interesting... REAL interesting....