Weekend Project Time

We've had what seem to be months of weekends where we're just barely keeping up with maintenance, no chance to work on projects and get more things fixed up. This weekend feels like no exception to that.

Noel cutting slots in plywood

This afternoon Noel went down to the basement to work on the wine rack some more. He improved my slot-cutting jig and went to work.

One end of the wine rack finished

He got one end finished off; the other end needs similar work.

Street tree base

I did some weeding, clearing out the dog-pee soaked grass around the street tree. I figured I'd done the heavy-duty litter box change and yard de-pooping this morning, so I was already gross and might as well get this nasty job over with.

Tree base cleaned up

It looks marginally better now, but I still don't quite know what to do with that area. It gets abused by dog walkers all the time, so I don't want to make it require too much hand-weeding. It's where people get out of their cars, so it can't be too tall. It gets water in the winter but not much during the summer (though I suppose I could run an irrigation circuit over there; it's not as if we don't have water to spare in the sump). The neighborhood kids stomp and romp and ride bikes on it.

I'm halfway convinced I should just buy a pre-planned hell strip garden and leave it at that, but wonder how effective that will be against the many assaults the area gets now.

Tomorrow I'm going to get out the roundup and attack the Bermuda grass that is making a move on, oh, everything.

posted by ayse on 08/20/11

9 Comments

How to handle your street strip?
Dog walkers abuse it? Pour some concrete.
People walk over it accessing their parked cars? Pour some concrete.
Not enough water? Pour some concrete.
Neighborhood kids ride bikes on it? Pour some concrete.
You want to handle your street strip? That's the San Francisco way!

with a tip o' the hat to Sean Connery in The Untouchables.

There's already concrete there. Looks terrible.

I would leave it alone or maybe put down rubber mulch or something. If you put other plants there then the dogs will go in your yard instead!

The tree needs water, so I'd say something permeable. Maybe medium-sized rocks. That would discourage dogs, perhaps.

I planted fragaria chiloensis 'lipstick' in my parking strip under the other drought tolerant plants. It's borderline invasive so it mostly crowds out the grass, although I do pull the rare weed. It has spread from a few plants to form a mat. Plus hey, it flowers.

I'm in Portland, so similar very dry summers, and wet most the rest of the year (although I have clay soil). The fragaria is not all that beautiful except when it's flowering in Spring, but it looks a lot better than the overgrown grass I used to have there. I give it a water, oh, maybe once a month in the summer. I don't know if it needs the winter chill time though.

My other parking strip plants are russian sage, rosemary, sedum (the foot tall kind), and echinacea, although those are probably too tall for you. For shadier parking strips vinca major seems a popular choice here. See also on the invasive though.

How about some ground cover that's not comfy for a dog to walk on? I retract my rock suggestion, I think in hot weather that would not be good for the tree roots.

Where I used to live, some people planted their sidewalk strips with actual flower gardens, some with native wildflowers. That might discourage some dog owners.

You're in California, right? I planted mine there with yellow Lady Bank's roses, trimmed low. No diseases, I threw some fertilizer on them maybe once a year. Thornless. Need some watering.

I never said it would look good, only that it would fit in. If it was LA you'd also have to paint it green.

I have some fairly hearty rose bushes I totally ignore. Late summer they grow enough that almost all dogs, adults, kids and cars are opposed to being within 3 feet of them. I threw some bark under them once every two years. Maybe some bush like small roses. Durable for dog pee, spiked for kids, nice looking flowers.

Wooly thyme, maybe? It seems to do well here, and spreads nicely, even if you walk on it. We're having good luck with some African daisies, too, but not for walking on.

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