Grow Lawnless Landscapes
estimates that the amount of pollution emitted by a lawnmower operating for
hour is equivalent to the amount of pollution emitted by a car driven for approximately 20 miles.
The National Wildlife Federation states that:
-30 to 60 percent of
urban fresh water is used for watering lawns (depending on city).
-$millions spent on fossil fuel-derived fertilizers for lawns.
-$millions of pounds of synthetic pesticides are used
-about half a million gallons of gasoline are used for lawnmowers.
-$Billions spent for the lawn care industry.
-$millions spent for pesticides
Approximately 20 million acres are planted as residential lawn.
Areas of lawn that include only one type of plant, such as grass, offer little habitat value for wildlife.
Most people don't use their
front or backyards for living and growing. Because lawns are an outdated
post-war status symbol we hesitate to give up.
Good Reasons To Eliminate That Needy Expanse of Lawn
Save time and money that you would normally spend on
mowing and fertilizing grass.
Provide habitat and food for wildlife. Birdfeeders, birdbaths are very busy all day. I leave plant hooks and branches nearby that the birds use as perches. I also use floating solar fountain pumps in the bowls of the birdbaths. The birds love it. I leave a few of the sunflower seeds that sprout under the feeders for pretty flowers and seed heads for the birds in the fall.
Reduce lawn mower pollution and decrease run-off from fertilizers and pesticides.
Reduce Your Lawn - And Help The Pollinators and Wildlife
Use native plant species as ground cover instead of grass.
I use a lot of decorative low-growing, drought resistant grasses as ground cover and
white dutch clover, and evergreen ground covers as well. Round puffs of
"Elijah Blue" festucca looks awesome for texture and Zen.
Plant native trees and shrubs
Create a water garden or pond, and rock gardens
Use mulch to conserve water, and create paths with hard and soft-scape mulching materials instead of grass.
Provide meadow, prairie patches, and hedgerows
Plant an organic vegetable garden
Create a butterfly or hummingbird garden
Encourage the native plants and replace exotic invasive species with native ones.
Use soaker and
drip hoses to save 90% of your water usage and direct water at the roots -
where plants need it. Not evaporated by using sprinklers and spray water all
around, with not every plant getting water at the roots.
The native plants will be naturals for xeriscaping - they can survive drought and insect attack
Mulch saves water, reduces weeds and prevents erosion. Use organic mulch to improve the soil with nutrients and increase water-holding capacity. Use gravel, river rock, and other decorative stones to add interest and eliminate weeds as well.
If you decide on a clover lawn, buy a reel mower. I did. It's great exercise, it's not mindless and tedioius work, it slows you down to enjoy nature and the garden, and the only smell is the sweetness of cut grass, flowers and herbs, not gas and fumes. I call it my outdoor Nautilus machine for keeping in shape. It's also very nostalgic. You can find old ones at yard sales and flea markets to use or add as a garden statement.
Getting The Lawn Gone
A section at a time...
1. Cover grass with 10
more ayers of newspaper
(black and white, not color magazine or glossy ) or use brown, not white, cardboard.
There is no need to remove the grass first.
2. Make sure the sections overlap one another so that grass and weeds will not come up between the cracks.
3. Thoroughly wet down the newspaper or cardboard. After trial and error, I do this by filling up a wheelbarrow with newspaper and soak with water, rather than lay it out first and dump water on it. This method saves water, and it's heavier and more likely to break down quicker than watering it after you lay it down. It breaks up when lifting from the wheelbarrow and makes a thicker mulch as opposed to laying sheet-by-sheets. And you don't have to put rocks on top to keep it from flying away as you're layering or watering it.
4. Cover the newspaper or cardboard with a thick layer of mulch or dirt or both (about 6 inches, or more).
5. Allow grass and weeds to die back for 1-2 months. Mine took a little longer than that. The runner-grass is a nightmare.
6. Plant directly through the mulch and newspaper/cardboard. If you know youre going to be planting trees or shrubs, dig the holes before putting down the layers of newspaper/cardboard and then layer the newspaper/cardboard around the holes. I'm not that organized.