Sunday, June 26, 2016

My Back Yard Labyrinth

For several months now I’ve been clearing out a giant hedge across the back border of my yard. It’s not a nice plant – more like a bizarre cross between a vine and a bush. We’ve left it alone for 11 years, but this year, when I was talking to my pest control guy about our mosquito problem, he suggested that we clear it out. He explained that removing brush like hedges (where tiny puddles of water provide breeding ground) and creating air flow through the yard would reduce our mosquitoes.
Two points of interest.
1.     We cannot spray our yard with pesticide because we have an open water drain on our property: spraying it with pesticide is illegal, according to our pest control guy. It’s a City easement on our property, and sadly, a serious source of mosquitoes.
2.     Our neighbor’s yard has drastically fewer mosquitoes. You notice the drop off in quantity the minute you cross the ditch into their yard. So the whole “air flow” thing makes perfect sense to me.
So back in March I started attacking the hedge, and now my work is almost complete. And wow, do we have less mosquitoes! I don’t even have to apply bug spray when I go outside!

One day, while chatting with my neighbor about the project, she asked me what I planned to do with the yard once the hedge was gone. See, the hedge was easily 5 – 6 feet deep, and now that I’ve cleared it out I have a huge open space. I was taken aback by the question. I hadn’t gotten that far in my planning.

Our yard is basically a wonderful tent in the summer time, due to majestic maples and tulip poplars. This is wonderful, but it means that grass really isn’t an option. Right now we have a great crop of invasive weeds. I considered lots of different shade grasses and group covers. I thought about creating a large shade garden filled with hostas and elephant ears and ferns.

And then I remembered what I’ve always wanted in my back yard: a labyrinth.

Now that I’ve cleared it out, I have a huge area where I can create a beautiful walking labyrinth. It’s an unused corner, deeply shaded in the summer and sun lit in the winter. It’s large enough that I can have a sizable labyrinth, and there aren’t any drainage issues, so I won’t need to worry about dirt washing away and undermining stepping stones!

So that is my latest project. I plan to use paving stepping stones to create the walking path and plant low creeping ground cover in between. My research has shown that there is a serious lack of DIY labyrinth information on Pinterest, so I’ll be documenting the project here on my blog to create some Pinterest info for other labyrinth lovers out there!

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