Grow Lawnless Landscapes

What That Green Lawn Costs You and The Environment

The EPA estimates that the amount of pollution emitted by a lawnmower operating for one 
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 Because lawns are an outdated post-war status symbol we hesitate to give up.

My Response - Do Clover Instead, if you feel the need for a green lawn.
Or go totally lawnless and use mulches, hardscapes and native plants and grasses as specimens.
Use solar powered lighting and fountains for pretty water features that recycle water.

And try xeriscaping with stone,  boulders, driftwood, branches and native plants.
Use raised garden beds for multi-level landscaping and food production.
Use trellises and vines, or your own fence to grow food for you and wildlife, or a floral landscape for scent and colors.

I had inherited a nasty and neglected backyard lawn full of weeds, a ditch, and big bald spots that are mostly gulf sand..if you have a fenced-in yard, are not close to neighbors who might get a stray clover or 2, and have no HOA to mess with your head, you can replace the lawn or parts of it with white dutch clover. It contains an enormous amount of nitrogen, fertilizes the soil, it's used by many  as cover crops and tilled under, or left to grow by gardeners as a sweet-smelling lawn.

I have substituted most of the backyard grass and weeds with clover within 3 fall seasons (zone 8) of broadcasting the seeds thickly once a month for three months in the fall.. No fighting or trying to eliminate the lawn, just ignoring it. No more food, no more water, no chemicals for you! Clover seed is available at places that sell feed lot seeds.
Creating a Clover Lawn - No Fuss, it smells wonderful, if cut, and you get bees.
Just fling handfuls of the seeds around just before a rain. i don't scratch it in, i just walk over it. The white clover reaches only about 8 inches high. i cut it with a reel mower (because i love the smell and sometimes i cut more often just to smell it!) you leave the cuttings and they mulch and fertilize your soil some more. The seeds become hardy seedlings very quickly.

The grown plants produce thick green cover and eliminates most of your weeds, and eventually naturally takes over the needier lawn grass. Survival of the fittest. The nitrogen feeds shrubs and flowers planted around and in it, as well. It's a soft airy cover that does not choke out or compete with shrubs or perrennials, in my experience. Most grass seed mixes have clover seed in it as a filler.It's tough, needs no care, goes through droughts then springs back with just rain showers. mine in zone 8 doesn't go brown with the grass. If sown tightly, in a few days after a rain the seedlings are already happening. The mature clover has pretty shamrock type leaves and grows in "drifts" and is soft and cool to walk on.
Clovers are also specially grown as wildlife forage by stewards and landowners. Of all the clovers, the dutch white variety is probably best as lawns. It needs no extra watering, fertilizer or care whatsoever. I haven't found it to be invasive or wandering off beyond my fence areas or other boundaries.

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.
• Conserve water.
• 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 or 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 you’re 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. 



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My Xeriscaping, hardscaping and Lawn Replacement Design