Mar 31 2005

The Infamous Plastic Lawn of Barton Hills


The infamous Plastic Lawn of Barton Hills

One of the things Zippy and I do every day is, we more or less hook it around Zilkerland at a brisk clip for an hour or so, to see what we can see (or in Zippy’s case, to sniff what we can sniff. Chacun à son goût). We both enjoy the abundant Bohemian deposits and artifacts left lying around by the local citizenry. The deposits and artifacts are abundant because in my neighborhood it is customary to use one’s home and lawn as an expression of one’s inner nutjob.

Take the house with the black plastic front yard. Last year many were baffled by the sudden appearance of sheets of black plastic where the day before had flourished a lush South Austin lawn of St. Augustine, dandelions, and crabgrass. Why? Why?

I’ll tell you why. One fine dewy morning, the owner of this house woke up on a different side of the bed. She tossed aside her crazy quilt, threw open the window, and cried “Evil grass, sent by Klingons to kill me! You will pay!” Or possibly, “If I cover the yard with plastic, they won’t find the shallow graves.” And out she marched with the several rolls of black plastic she had been saving against just such a contingency. She spread this black plastic out over her yard and anchored it with big rocks.

That grass would die a slow, painful death while she watched from the porch, sipping soda through a straw. And no one would ever find the bodies.


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  1. Joe

    Now you’ve done it. Talkin’ ’bout crazy neighbors… means it’s time for me to blog on about The Prince and The Solar Panels. coming soon

  2. thingfish23

    AH! Please do allow me just a minute to MAYBE shed some light on this photo. You tell me if it bears out…

    You’re right on the money that the homeowner in question is probably trying to purposefully dispatch the lawn. But this is a good thing, and most likely denotes right-on-ness.

    Lawns are awful, horrid things. I could go on forever about how they suck water, suck labor, suck pesticides, encourage monocultural agriculture pracitices, enrich the coffers of chemical ConGlomCos like Monsanto, etc. The beautiful, perfectly trimmed lawns of (wherever) ALL suck. Period.

    Now, that said, what I am HOPING I see here is someone committing lawnicide with extreme prejudice. In a perfect world, this someone will replace the ecologically useless lawn with native wildflowers and groundcover. You know, stuff that forms the basis for a healthy micro-ecosystem, even if it’s a 1/4 acre front yrad. You’d be amazed at what’ll set up shop in a little front or back yard, if only given a chance.

    In this particular brand of lawnicide, the denizen of the house can eventually churn the sad sod corpse into luscious, nutritious compost for luscious delicious worms and a luscious delicious flower patch.

    And who wouldn’t want that?

    One of the ways to put a stick in the eye of the Patriarchy is to destroy its eco-rape icons, a 1/4 acre at a time if need be.


  3. Caroline

    This black plastic method is the best way to get rid of crab grass.
    Worms and soil-burrowing insects are not affected.

    The next move is to plough it all up in the autumn and dig in a nice smelly compost.
    IN the spring, sow with wild flowers and wild grass seed.
    Then put up a sign with the words:
    Site of Special Scientific Interest.

    This site will need no watering, pesticids or attendance but may well attract bees and butterflies unable to cope with the sterility of neigbbouring lawns.

    Always ask before assuming.

    My own lawnmower is alive in the form of two sheep. They need a bit of care, but I can now throw my old lawnmowers out – neither of them work any more.

  4. kactus

    Yikes, now I’m curious to know what was the finale to this black plastic tale. Any updates, Twisty?

  5. Twisty

    The plastic is now gone, and the crabgrass is back. Hallelujah.

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