Who will buy my lawnless garden?

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Breaking news – to anyone who knows me and assumed I’d never, ever leave my garden – I’m selling it and the house it surrounds.  Time to move on.

Selling the Complicated Garden

Any realtor will tell you that nice gardens may or may not be advantages in selling a house – because most buyers just want what’s easy.  So I’m prepared to hear that, and I’m ready with some assurances that mostly-shrub gardens are really easy, and I’ll even teach the buyer how to prune and otherwise take care of this low-maintenance garden (really it is, I promise).

But then there’s the problem/advantage of the totally lawnless state of the garden, front and back.  Above you see what it looks like today, a two-species combo of Sedum sarmentosum (sometimes identified as Sedum acre) and Liriope spicata. Neither needs any maintenance except a bit of edging to keep these vigorous spreaders within bounds.  No mowing, feeding, or even weeding required.

(I recently posted photos of what this looked like a mere month ago when it was mostly bare soil – scroll down to the second photo.  Since  the heat wave has ended, the Sedum has filled in vigorously, and for the bare middle section I’ve filled in with Liriope for instant erosion protection.)

But if the buyers have kids, we all know what they’ll do, right?  Rip out all these groundcovers and replace them with conventional turfgrass.  Oh, well.

Click here for more photos of my garden. The house, on a great street in Takoma Park, MD, is a 1925 Sears kit home, the “Conway” model.

Downsizing for the Aging Gardener

Like Sydney Eddison, I’ve been feeling the aches and pains of taking care of a large garden for too many years – 26 years on this lot.  But unlike Sydney, who’s converted her perennial beds into shrub beds and plans to age in place, I’ve decided to downsize both house and garden to a manageable townhouse-sized garden (end unit, of course).

So I’ll be moving to Historic Greenbelt, Maryland, a planned community built in the ’30s as part of FDR’s New Deal. (Lots more about it here and here.)  I haven’t found my new home yet but I already know I’ll be paying about a third the price of the house I’m selling.  I’m cashing out!

I hope to be settled and unpacked by spring, in time to start my new garden.  It’ll be both smaller and more visible to the public, owing to foot paths running between all the backyards, and its location on the corner.  So now I’ll confess that as much as I looooove my back garden and the woods beyond, it’s a lonely place to spend so much of my time.

Posted by

Susan Harris
on September 27, 2011 at 6:25 am, in the category Lawn Reform, Real Gardens.

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10 Comments

  1. 1st January 1970 at 4:00 am —

    Wow. Wow. Wow. I get it. But wow. Time for us to do lunch, Susan.

  2. 30th October 2012 at 2:45 am —

    Aww, that’s always a big ‘ol batch of mixed feelings, isn’t it?

  3. 10th August 2014 at 3:37 am —

    I bought a junked out farm house when the local real estate scene hit rock bottom – even though everyone around me told me not to do it. I then sold the house I was living in without putting too much effort into fixing it up (major repairs had already been done) – even though EVERYONE told me it would never sell. I got full asking price too! Found a buyer in less than two months and closed within four. It can be done. I told my realtor that a gardener would love to own my place and that is what happened. A young couple looking for a large backyard to grow their own veggies saw the ad and jumped on it.

  4. 11th October 2016 at 7:26 am —

    Susan, How timely~I was just listening to an NPR story about how we boomers underestimate the realities of retirement/aging. Moving to a smaller house and garden so makes sense. A smaller garden and more community interaction also makes sense. May this process be exciting and easy! gail

  5. 16th October 2016 at 6:25 am —

    Such a lovely place! But I’m sure the next one will be just as lovely.

  6. 26th October 2016 at 12:19 pm —

    I was just lamenting about a potential move myself on my blog, provided I can get a teaching job. I was thinking the perfect place to advertise a garden home would be on Twitter and Facebook and email listservs of garden clubs and such. Am I crazy? If you’re lonely come to Nebraska–the corn and cows will keep you company.

  7. 3rd November 2016 at 8:07 am —

    Susan….wow. That will be a big change but I know you will embrace it and thrive in any location. What will you do with all that excess time? Party on!

  8. 17th November 2016 at 8:45 am —

    I’m sure you’ll find somebody who really wants an established garden. Are you advertising it as “garden featured in—” and listing all the places your garden’s appeared?

  9. 21st November 2016 at 11:03 pm —

    What a great sounding move, Susan! I was intrigued reading about Greenbelt, which sounds like such a great community. And it led me to this site, which I think all you ranters will enjoy: http://victorygardenoftomorrow.com/
    Chickens. Pickles. Atomic greens! Enjoy.

  10. 23rd November 2016 at 1:28 pm —

    (end unit, of course)

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Who will buy my lawnless garden?