Thanks to all who responded. I will definitely work toward a grub-free
lawn; the total property is over 2 acres and partly wooded, so I'll just
focus on the open areas, definitely using organic solutions.
The yard is very wet (per one of the responses indicating that will rust
the hardware cloth quickly); I think with proper placement I can avoid the
garden area itself being too wet. The biggest reasons I wasn't looking at
raised beds is (a) I want to avoid all treated lumber, but haven't found
anything that is affordable as a good alternative that will last as long,
and (b) for the vegetable area of the garden I want to be able to use my
larger tiller to add compost every other year, and (c) the garden will have
a temporary greenhouse on top because the winters get just a little too
cold, and all the greenhouse books give a range of options, from
freestanding pots (which lose a lot of heat quickly due to large surface
area) to larger raised beds (medium heat loss) to what they say is the best
option- planting directly in the ground for maximum heat retention (I'm
actually considering putting in some subsoil drain pipe and a fan to
capture heat in the soil during the spring/fall- cheap if I do all the
I'm new to the area (Pacific Northwest), but all the neighbors say not to
let the cat out (or any dog under 40 lbs) due to the coyote population and
the eagles, which have a reputation for taking small domestic animals
(there goes my idea of getting a chihuahua to rat out the moles).
Again, thank you all for your suggestions, and I'll continue to monitor for
additional replys, questions, or suggestions.