Ellen Duncan Seguin and her husband, Matthew, bought their Silver Spring house three years ago knowing it needed work. They gutted the kitchen, then renovated other rooms. This year's project: the landscape.
They bulldozed and seeded the front lawn, sodded the back, relocated bushes, designed a concrete walkway, carved flower beds alongside it and planted a boxwood, granats, hostas and marigolds.
Then the skies dried up.
Now the lawn is more dirt than grass, the sod looks like squares of shredded wheat. The hostas are dead, the boxwood nearly so, and the granats look like headless twigs in topsoil. The marigolds bloomed, but became snacks for desperate deer.
"At this point," says Ellen Duncan Seguin, a 35-year-old human resources executive, "we're just a little frantic about what to do."