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Ask a Clinically Depressed Landscape Expert
With: Bill Landis

Bill Landis is a clinically depressed certified landscape technician uneager to field questions regarding all your outdoor projects.

Dear Bill,
I was planning on trying my hand at building a porch in the backyard of my new home and have a couple of questions. First, is it necessary to leave gaps between the boards for drainage if I'm using high pressure treated pine lumber, and if so, how wide should they be? Second, what brand of varnish would you recommend? Thank you, and I hope you start to feel better soon.

George Henry,
San Diego, CA

Dear George,
Although pressure treated wood is resistant to standing water and will shrink 1/4" to 1/2" after installation (hence no need to leave gaps), these advantages over traditional kiln-dried wood merely prolong the inevitable. In time, everything falls apart. Much like love or the vibrance of a healthy young body, your once proud deck will inexorably succumb to decay, crumble and rot.

Dear Bill,
There are some relatively rocky patches of my property that get sun, but are mostly dirt and weeds right now. I guess I could rent a rotor tiller to get the ground soft to plant grass seed, but how do I get rid of all these tall weed plants? Thanks for your help.

Anthony Battaglia,
Abilene, TX

Dear Anthony,
Speaking of rocky patches, it seems my wife has fallen in love with our marriage counselor. I go to him for help, and the next thing I know I'm reading filthy, exclamation point ridden text messages on her phone in which she marvels that she "never knew it could be so good!!!". But I apologize for digressing. After all, such trivial tribulations as my own pale in comparison to your weed problem. Try removing the rocks and loosening the soil, then pull the weeds manually followed by a herbicide spray of the new growth that should follow in a few days.

Dear Bill,
I have a nice lawn of Bermuda grass in my small front yard, but the soil is uneven so it cuts unevenly. Any suggestions for levelling the soil and smoothing out the dips?

Abraham Jourgensmeir,
Hollywood, FL

Dear Abraham,
You could either mix some sand with potting soil to add into the dips for the grass to grow into, or you could take a walk outdoors at night, look up at the stars inhabiting the vast universe and contemplate just how insignificant you and your damn lawn are in the grand scheme of things.

Are there any aquatic plants that can oxygenate enough water to avoid a pump for my fishpond? If so, what are they? If I go this route, what happens in the winter? Will the plants freeze or die? In general, what are some good starter plants for a small pond?

P.S. Have you ever considered trying antidepressants? My sister is on Lexipro, and it's worked wonders. Take care :)

Lisa Swanson,
Louisville, KY

I don't know, and frankly, I don't care. The way this world's headed, I'd consider any organism emancipated from the curse of life by either freezing or frying to be worthy of great envy. And thanks so much for pretending to care about my emotional condition. I did try taking Lexipro once - half a bottle in fact. It didn't work. They charcoaled my stomach and I woke up two days later.

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