A word on dogs: they will destroy everything and you are powerless to stop them. Can you have dogs that are free to go inside and outside at will and still have a nice yard? Can you have a simple, green, flat, lush patch of grass? A neat little flower bed? A garden with little marching rows of carrot sprouts? No, no you cannot, unless you are prepared to be vigilant and industrious. And live with the damage. Because dogs.
You must be prepared to re-seed, water, dig up patches of yellowed, alkaline and dead pee grass, and then re-seed and water again. You must fence the garden or prepare raised beds. You must know that flower beds will be dug up, laid on, pooped on, and eaten. Mulch shall be scattered like confetti. And when you turn around to proudly gaze upon the wonders of what you have repaired with time, money and sweat, one of your dogs will be digging a really nice hole behind you.
I was walking around a garden show carrying a giant bag of grass seed; I did a little research for my geographical area and purchased a mix of Rye and Fescue that would (1) grow fast and (2) spread itself out once established. (I’d like to start a Bluegrass band to be led by my fake name Ryan Fescue and the ironic part is that we play bluegrass, which is neither Rye nor Fescue, but that’s another project). We stop to stare at some nice sod at a vendor’s table and the guy says “Whatcha got there?” and I say “Oh, some Rye and Fescue” and he says “You’re gonna mix those, right?” and I tell him that we have three dogs so I need something that I can use for patching that will grow fast. I says “How would this sod hold up you think?” and he says “For a while at least. You could maybe put some down as a sort of runway out to the rest of the yard,” and I says “Well, we just have to live with it. It’s their yard too” and he says “Yeah well they’re good for aeration” haha.
Dogs and yards. Impermanence. Really. See I love my dogs. No kids. Dogs. Love them with all my heart. It IS their yard, too, and they get to dig if they want to. And see, I’m not a patient person, and I used to have this temper. Actually, having a temper and no patience is like having alcoholism or depression – it’s treatable, but you are always in remission, not cured. It’s about vigilance and constantly re-training the brain’s voices and reactions. Dogs teach me to be patient and kind, and to slow down, and to pee on things if the mood hits, dig a hole here and there just for the feeling of the dirt between my furry toes, and make sure to nevermind these bordered up areas of this and that not mixing together. Because impermanence. Because it’s nature and we are nature and it’s all the same. Because do you really want to keep working on the perfect yard because then what? It’s perfect and then what? Stare at it? Put up some No Dogs Allowed signs, invite some people over and show them what you did? Nope, they dig holes and if you watch them, and they’re laughing while they do it. Dirt flying, big smile, tail wagging. I made a hole!