Top yard named for June

June Yard of the Month winner James Koenig stands in front of the patio area of his backyard. (Empire Press photo/Karen Larsen)


By Karen Larsen
Empire Press Correspondent

The yard of James Koenig at 506 N. Columbia Ave. is park-like with many healthy trees and perennial beds. (Empire Press photo/Karen Larsen )

James Koenig, who lives at 506 N. Columbia Ave., doesn?t spend long amounts of time each week in his yard.

Koenig?likes?his yard?to look nice, and he likes it to look green. When he moved into his house in 2008, he set about developing a yard that would be attractive, but low maintenance. So, Koenig was a little surprised to hear that his yard had been named by the Waterville Tree Board as Yard of the Month for June.

Yet, Koenig?s yard is an example for other residents who don?t have lots of time to garden, but want to develop something that looks nice.

Also, Koenig?s yard is an example to those who aren?t ready to take out their lawns and put in rock gardens and xeriscape. He has kept a more typical yard landscape, but conserves water within that framework by using a sprinkler system that waters for 10 minutes twice a day: at 5 a.m. and 9 p.m. Beds are watered by drip irrigation.

An area of potted vegetables and flowers in the yard of James Koenig. Koenig added the pots for his son’s high school graduation party. (Empire Press photo/Karen Larsen)

The arrangement keeps water use under control by using the sprinkler and drip system, which gets water where it is needed, at optimum times and for limited lengths of time.

One of?highlights about the yard is the many healthy trees that grace it and add shade and privacy to the property. The trees include maple, mountain ash, blue spruce, Douglas fir, tamarack, walnut, white birch and weeping cherry.

Perennial beds have been constructed attractively with rocks or bricks. Koenig has installed weed barriers underneath the beds, which not only keep weeds out, but help keep moisture in.

A patio area in the back yard is surrounded by potted flowers, which add color and interest.

Koenig added an additional area of potted flowers and vegetables to a bare area in the back this spring to decorate for the high school graduation party of his son, Cole Koenig. He said that since it is growing so well?? and there is promise of a tasty harvest?? he may plant it again next year.

Koenig said that though it took him a lot of time initially to set the yard up, he spends no more than four hours a week maintaining it. This includes mowing the lawn, pruning and weeding. He does spend additional time two weekends a year for fall and spring cleanup.

The Waterville Tree Board names a Yard of the Month every month from May to September, focusing on yards that demonstrate water conservation. Nominations can be made?at town hall.