Xero, my hero

moose path-sm

“If stones could dream, they’d dream of being laid 
side-by-side, piece-by-piece, and turned into a castle
for some towering queen they’re unable to know”

—Okkervil River

In my beachtown days, more progressive folks would talk about zero-scaping their waterfront lawns to both conserve water and avoid pumping nitrogen-rich fertilizer practically straight into the waters of the Gulf or Santa Rosa Sound.

before and after-sm

It’s easy to confuse this with xeriscaping, which comes from the Greek word “xeros” for dry. The difference is subtle, but clear:

Xeriscaping uses drought-tolerant plants and bushes to pretty up an otherwise dry landscape.

Zero-scaping uses rocks and minimizes vegetation completely. So it’s zero as in “zero” green stuff, or at least practically so. It’s also zero as in how many contaminants added to the groundwater and how much maintenance is required.

(For the record, they’re both great practices for the beach-dwellers who want to wisely pretty up their rented slices of sand.)

This weekend, we took the zero-scaping route on a 5-by-20 foot spit of land on the western side of the home, between the house and the carport/shed.

Nothing was growing there, and the section had become erosion-prone, thanks to half of the entire house’s roof runoff channeling right through there. We’ll further tackle that runoff with some gutters and rain barrels soon. In the meantime, I built a steppe using leftover landscape timber scraps (from the shed project, in fact), and we backfilled the potential gully with some No. 4 egg rock. We put in some jagged step stones, too.

Now when I look at it, I have feelings that a normal person shouldn’t about rocks. That’s right, I love a stone.

Anyway, it was a one-day project that paid huge aesthetic dividends. I’ll stop staring at it eventually. But until then, zero is, well, you know

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