To do away with tedious lawn care, how about laying a bed of gravel?

Q. Do you have any suggestions for entirely eliminating a lawn, with all its maintenance? We want something that would go into effect immediately, look after itself, and remain attractive year after year. Sharon E. Cregier Prince Edward Island, Canada

A. You might consider tilling or cultivating the lawn area often enough to restrain weeds and discourage the grass. As a farmer boy, I like the appearance of bare ground neatly tilled.

Would the wind blow away such loose soil?

Otherwise, consider something like gravel. Laid over a 10-mil polyethylene sheet and a chemical weed killer, one inch or smaller gravel could be quickly installed, take almost no care, and remain attractive indefinitely. The gravel polyethylene ground cover would require no fertilizer, water, or mowing, nor even fence mending. Then for the longer haul, plant indigenous trees here and there, so that in a a decade or so you could talk about your ''grove.''

If trees are unacceptable or would spoil a desirable view, plant indigenous shrubs or bushes here and there amid the gravel.

In semiarid areas of the Southwestern United States, gravel/polyethylene residential ground cover is not at all uncommon. It may be original in your eastern Canada realm, but worth a try.

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