New Project For A New Year: Lose The Turfgrass For Energy Savings Wildlife Friendliness And Lower Maintenance
Project: Why: Its a good project for you if:1. You are concerned about water and energy conservation. Environmental Protection Agency2. Your current lawn is in a less-than-ideal spot, such as on sloping ground or in shade. Lane Goodkind Landscape Architect3. You would like to support your local wildlife.Shades Of Green Landscape Architecture4. You would like to spend less time and money maintaining a lawn.Who to hire: Rick O’Donnell Architect, LLCCost: .Typical project length: Permit: Best time to do this project: How to Get Rid of the GrassDig, dig, dig.Use the lasagna method.Arcadia StudioPlanting: First StepsWatch for incentives.Get and save ideas. Get help if you need it.landscape architectslandscape contractors
Why Find Alternatives To Grass
Lawns are child-friendly, wildlife havens, soft areas where you can sunbathe, and design-wise a necessary neutral space, but you cant use them year-round and they need care, including spiking and scarifying, mowing, natural weed control, and watering. In fact, in drought-prone places, a lawn is not a suitable covering at all as it will need a lot of water to survive.
There are, however, a number of alternatives. Some are wildlife-friendly substitutes others can cut maintenance time in half. All offer exciting garden design opportunities.
What we definitely don’t want to see is everyone resorting to fake alternatives like plastic grass. Artificial lawn is not the low-maintenance solution it is pitched as and the last thing we want is to be adding more plastic to our properties. So if you hate mowing the lawn but also love biodiversity, we have plenty of options for you below.
Who best to confirm that an alternative to grass can be a good option than a lawn care professional? CEO of Lawn Love Jeremy Yamaguchi says: ‘Though my company is centered on lawn care, I definitely acknowledge that there are more eco-friendly ways to adorn your front or backyard. If you want something beautiful that will increase your home’s value and curb appeal but won’t be as detrimental to the environment, consider planting local flora and using mulch. Make your own compost and be mindful of how much water you’re using.’
Nurture A Chamomile Lawn
Imagine relaxing on a springy, green patch of chamomile inhaling in the sweet, fruity fragrance. A blissful experience much loved by the Elizabethans, it can still delight and revitalise garden lovers today.
The soft feathery leaves hug the ground and send out shoots in summer, creating a beautiful and closely woven covering, making it one of our favorite alternatives to grass. Not to be confused with flowering Roman chamomile, the best variety for a lawn is low growing Chamomile Treneague.
Ideal for areas that are used occasionally, these plants prefer a sunny position in a light, moist soil and take up to a year to get growing. Once established the leaves do compress when walked or sat upon but dont worry, theyll soon spring back up. This also encourages new roots to form.
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Should I Get Rid Of Clover In My Lawn
There are several reasons you may want to keep clover in your lawn. Due to its symbiotic relationship with bacteria, clover acts as a natural fertilizer. Clover gets its nitrogen from the air and releases it into the soil. Another benefit? Clover outcompetes other weeds. So instead of something unwanted and unsightly, you could have clover.
Which Grass Needs The Least Care
Sussex Folly from A Place in the Garden
After alternatives to grass that will require little mowing? Then a turf or seed mix that includes creeping fescue is the answer. Forming a close-knit turf, the leaves grow at a much slower rate than other grasses, such as ryegrass, reducing the need for mowing. Suited to most light soils through to heavy clay, this grass can take time to put down roots and establish but it forms a dense covering and is hardwearing.
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Use Fluid Materials Such As Gravel
Gravel is an ideal lawn alternative, being easy to use and suitable for both traditional and contemporary garden designs. However, replacing a large lawn in the garden of a suburban semi with a sea of gravel is rather boring, and impractical for families with children. Where gravel really proves useful is in the front garden, where a tiny lawn can be a pain to mow. Its permeable, and the crunch factor makes for a useful security measure, too. Plants are essential for interest, though, so always aim for a healthy ratio of two-thirds plants to one-third gravel.
There are numerous different gravels available, so choose gravel that is subtle and natural-looking and wont detract from any planting. Water-worn weathered flint and cockleshells are favorites, but your choice should be guided by local stone, other hardscape materials in the garden, and the house. Choose a diameter of 5-20mm so that its easy to walk on rounded gravels are better for children, and larger angular gravels are best where cats are a problem.
Spreading gravel isnt just a case of splitting the bag and pouring it out. First, lay sheets of heavy-duty, semi-permeable landscape fabric , to stop weeds coming through. Overlap each edge by 30cm and fix down securely using 10-25cm U-shaped wire staples. Where gravel meets a lawn or planting youll need an edge of metal strips, granite setts, terracotta rope-top tiles or bricks laid in a saw-tooth pattern to stop it spilling.
What Base Do You Use For A Putting Green
A base of concrete, asphalt, crushed rock, and crushed limestone can be used to install a putting green. Most people prefer to use crushed limestone because its easier to work with, but you can use crushed stone as well. If you want to make your own concrete base, you will need a concrete mixer, a cement mixer and a bucket to mix the concrete.
You will also need to have a large bucket or bucket of water ready to pour into the mixer. If you dont have any of these items, then you may have to buy them from a hardware store or a local home improvement store.
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Grass Plug Planting Tips From A High Country Gardens Customer
“I think the advantage of the water drilling does a couple of things like pushing water down 8″ inches and gives the plants a good passive watering. Also, it is a lot easier on your back. I did around 500 plugs and the time was about 5 hours. If you have a friend or two you could get the job quicker.” — Customer Erik L.
- The old grass was killed, then tilled and raked level.
- Drip soaker lines were installed in a grid with 12″x12″ spacing.
- A root water feeder was used to water-drill the holes. They used a section of 3/4 PVC with a coupler and inserted it into each hole that was water drilled. This method works particularly well if you have very hard soil.
- They drilled and planted in batches of 30.
- They dipped all plugs into Soil Moist before placing them in the holes and covering the roots with soil.
Why Would You Want To Get Rid Of Your Grass
A few years after I bought my house in the San Fernando Valley, my fifty-year old sprinklers failed completely. Shortly after, the lovely new lawn the previous owners had installed started to die. I started adding up the costs to get a new lawn and sprinkler system and realized there was no way I was going to spend that kind of money to have a front yard that I had to water all the time.What I wanted was a way to replace the yard that 1) was cheap, 2) that I could do without hiring anyone, and 3) didn’t involve machinery and trucks.Some friends recommended the “newspaper and mulch” method I’ve slightly modified it and I’d like share some tips and pointers to help you out.
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How To Prepare Your Soil For Lawn
Before you lay down turf or grass seed, you’ll need to to prepare the ground. Remove any large stones or weeds. You can hand weed or use weedkiller, but avoid long-lasting weedkillers as they linger in the soil for months and will kill your lawn, too.
Turn the top layer thoroughly with a fork and then use a rake to level it out. You can either add in topsoil or give your existing soil a nutrient boost by spreading some well-rotted manure or granular fertiliser.
Alternatives To Grass: 10 Easy No
Smarten up your plot with these stylish alternatives to grass, guaranteed to save you time and hassle
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Looking for some alternatives to grass for your lawn? Then grab a coffee, get comfy and read on. Weve chatted to leading garden industry experts to find out their favorite ideas and to discover the latest products set to transform your plot.
But why replace the lawn? After all, isnt it meant to be a gardens crowning glory? Well yes, but there’s a chance that your patch of green is anything but. Full of moss, weeds and constantly demanding attention, many grassy areas simply lie neglected a mud bath in winter and scalped bare and rock hard in summer. The reality is that lush and healthy lawns require plenty of love and regular care and not all of us have the time.
Dont worry that birds and wildlife will object either as many of these alternatives to grass will increase the food and habitat on offer, providing plenty of safe hiding spots too. So go on, take the plunge and replace that tired lawn.
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How To Replace Artificial Grass With Real Lawn
Find out how to remove artificial lawn, how to dispose of it, and how to replace it with real grass using turf or seed
Originally marketed as a way to enjoy a lush green ‘lawn’ in arid climates, artificial grass has taken off rapidly in the UK in recent years, becoming a more and more common choice for gardens.
However, for all its conveniences – it’s durable, cheap, long-lasting, and requires almost zero maintenance – artificial grass is no friend to the environment.
Not only does the mass manufacturing of plastic grass have a negative impact on the planet, artificial grass is often used to replace real lawn, hedges or flower beds which provide valuable habitats to native wildlife like bees, butterflies, birds and insects.
‘Gardens make up a huge part of Britains green habitat. A report from 2011 found that domestic gardens make up almost 24 per cent of Londons total area, for example, which only goes to show how important a habitat our gardens can be for wildlife,’ says Paul McGuinness, editor of BBC Wildlife.
‘But with every lawn that is replaced by a hard or artificial surface, that area shrinks a little more. Returning your garden to real grass provides food and shelter for wildlife. If we want to bring back hedgehog numbers, see more bees, butterflies and other pollinators, and bring the dawn chorus to our urban zones, then theres no better place to start than with our lawns.’
Alternatives To Grass For Your Backyard
For some, saving money is a key concern, and grass alternatives that require little or no water, pesticides, fertilizers, herbicides or gas-powered equipment is an appealing way to enjoy significant savings while still having a beautiful yard. For others, mowing, watering, feeding, weeding, edging and aerating a natural lawn is just too time consuming, and the cost of hiring landscape professionals to care for their lawn is just as undesirable.
Other homeowners look into grass alternatives as part of their efforts to lower their homes impact on the environment, since conventional lawns require more than their fair share of water, and common lawn care products like chemical-laden herbicides and pesticides are harmful to the environment and are linked to a variety of health issues.
You can save money and time, limit your familys exposure to harmful chemicals, decrease your environmental impact and still have a great-looking yard by replacing your lawn or decreasing your lawn space by choosing one of the alternatives listed below.
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Factors To Consider For Each Potential Yard
With the help of professional landscapers, conservationists and experts on the environment, we’ve put together a series of popular landscape options. For each landscape possibility, we’ve considered how they fare in several categories*:
- Water need– How much water each landscape type requires
- Biodiversity – What kinds of wildlife will benefit from it
- Permeability – Will water be able to pass through the landscape and reenter the aquifer?
- Heating effect – Will it add to or mitigate the urban heat island effect?
Cost – Average price estimated per square foot
Keep in mind this guide is intended only to be a general reference each landscape type will perform differently based on how it’s installed and maintained. Also, most yards are likely to incorporate more than one of the options below. Finally, we chose not to include aesthetics as a category, as it’s subjective.
What To Do With Areas Of Yard That Won’t Grow Grass
Grass can be stubborn and sometimes theres no convincing it to thrive. If this is the case, go with it and try a less stressful option. Smart permeable paving ideas with raised planters gravel and boulder gardens planted with grasses and cacti or, perhaps, a timber deck with potted olive and citrus trees can all create a smart and relaxing outside spot needing very little maintenance.
Faced with a shady area then why not devise a network of meandering garden path ideas weaving through shrubs, bamboo and mounds of ground cover. Cover the ground with bark chippings and cut logs to help suppress weed growth and retain moisture too.
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California Native Plant Garden
- Water need – Low, though not all plants native to California save water. That’s because some come from areas that see a lot of precipitation. Experts stress the importance of choosing locally appropriate plants.
- Biodiversity – “Including semi-native plants are best for native biodiversity pollinator resources appropriate for the species native to this area food plants for native wildlife.”
- Permeable? – Yes
- Heating effect – Cooling. Trees capable of producing shade would provide the most cooling effect . Shrubs are next, followed by low plants and grasses.
- Cost – $3.75 – $18 per square foot, including labor. The wide range reflects the variety of plant choices available. The City of Santa Monica has a native demonstration garden, which cost $11.06 per square foot, as opposed to a traditional garden, which cost $7.50.
Planting And Maintaining A Clover Lawn
- Clover lawns can be established by encouraging already-existing clover patches in your landscape, by seeding, or a combination of both.
- It is best seeded in early spring from mid-March to mid-April. It can also be seeded in fall. Tiny clover seeds are difficult to sow evenlyone way to improve your chances is to mix the seed in with some soil, sawdust, or sand. If you donât have any in your lawn or nearby, you may need to add a bacterial inoculant to promote the best growth if you do already have it in your lawn, however, the inoculant is probably already present in the soil.
- After planting, use a misting attachment to water daily until you can see the seedlings.
- Existing clover patches can be encouraged by mowing with the blades set at 1.52 inches, which favors clover over most traditional turf grasses.
- In the middle of summer, stop mowing to encourage clover to flower and seed.
- Once established, most clovers are low-growing and require little or no mowing, unless you wish to discourage bees by mowing to prevent summer blooms.
- Never apply herbicides to a clover lawn.
- It is a short-lived perennial and may require reseeding approximately once every three years to maintain consistent coverage. It may successfully reseed naturally, however, or wild clovers may move in and take over aging stands.
How To Get Rid Of Clover In Your Lawn Naturally
If you dont want clover taking over your lawn, there are several natural and organic ways to get rid of itno harsh chemicals needed.
Some homeowners like clover in their lawn, but many dont. If white clover is springing up and creeping out in patches in your yard, there are several ways you can get rid of it. If youre interested in going green, theres good newsyou dont have to use harsh chemicals. There are a number of simple ways to get rid of clover in your lawn naturally.
This Old House has rounded up the best methods for getting rid of clover in your lawn naturally, some of which wont even harm your grass. Once youve eradicated your clover problem, The This Old House Reviews Team recommends hiring a professional lawn care company to keep your lawn healthy, hardy, and robustmuch less likely to attract clover. We recommend TruGreen, an industry leader that offers five annual programs and a la carte services.
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