If your lawn stretches away from your house, a flat expanse of green (or, more often, brown),
with nothing to break the monotony, and you're sick of mowing it every week and watering it and
worrying about it for so little reward, imagine something different...
Imagine an enticing mirage floating in that grassy desert.
If you're feeling lazy, imagine a patio—cozy or extensive, shaded by tall trees or open to the
sun, outfitted with chairs and table for outdoor dining. Hear yourself phoning your friends:
"Come on over, we're having drinks on the patio this evening." Try on the smugness of someone
who's making the most of summer. (Want to make a patio yourself?)
If you want something with a little more movement, something entertaining, imagine a pond out
there. Lush water plants rustling, dragonflies darting, the water rippling in the breeze. There
you are dozing in a lounge chair. You open one eye to note the graceful heron as it alights in
Perhaps you're itching for more planting space. You've a list of plants you crave, but no place
to put them. Voila! Your mirage becomes an island garden. Maybe it's a formal square with two paths
crossing in the center, planting with sun-loving herbs. Or it's a wooded oasis swathed in cool dark
groundcovers. Perhaps it's a prairie or meadow, curving in a horseshoe around a secluded sitting
Can't decide? How about a combination? Here are just a few enticing possibilities:
When you've designed your new patio, island, or pond destination, consider creating a path to link
it with your house and/or the rest of your garden.
You can create an island bed by smothering
your lawn. If you've opted for a more complex feature, you may need to hire a contractor or
rent machinery to make your mirage real.
Just remember that, though patios and ponds have higher up-front costs than most other
lawn-shrinking options, their long-term maintenance costs (in time and money) can be much lower,
and if you've chosen to install a feature you love, it can transform your free time into a string
of magical moments.