What if there was no landscaping . . . only wild plant communities?
If you have a freestanding house in America, you probably have a yard. And if you have a yard, you probably have a lawn, some foundation shrubs, and perhaps even a few flowering plants. It's a simple set of givens: house = yard = landscaping. This formula is so ingrained in our cultural DNA that it is hard to even imagine an alternative. Think about where you live. Now try to imagine all of the lawns, shrubbery, and planting stripped out of it. What could possibly replace it?
This past week, I was in coastal Alabama to see my sister get married. We had a wonderful time visiting with family and enjoying the beaches and fresh seafood. We stayed in a rented house near Fort Morgan, an isolated peninsula that separates the Gulf of Mexico from the Mobile Bay. The thin peninsula is a beautiful, yet brutal natural landscape. The soil is entirely sand; desiccating winds batter the shoreline daily; fires regularly burn large portions of the landscape; and sea surges from hurricanes inundate large portions of the peninsula every few years.