lawns, a love hate relationship

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#1
Many of us want that lush green carpet, but hate the work involved.

Large expanse of grass and lawns come from our European heritage, where large formal lawns and gardens were a must.

Lawns or grassis the biggest waste of time, money and least benificial in your yard.

Look at the water, fertilizer, chemicals and time we spend on keeping them up.

Time and money!

We panic when grubs appear...... what about moles?

There always seems to be some sort of fungus issue.

Don't water and it turns ugly and brown when it goes dormant.

What fun is that?

I like my green, but it is much smaller now days.

If you can, start turning some of your expanses into gardens of lush foliage, small trees, native shrubs, flowers etc and watch nature come to your back door.

Ron
www.gardening-for-wildlife.com
 
#2
I am strange. I am one of those people who adore mowing. It all fits my personality...I like any job I can see that I am making headway in. And I have a level in my brain, things must be straight. I agree with and appreciate your comments, Ron...but I get so much satisfaction at looking across my 2 acres of stripes!
 

RonsGarden

Super Moderator
Staff member
#3
I hear you Ron!
Grass is not environmentally friendly and is too labor intensive so we opted to get rid of it! And that means all of it!
We have a small inner city property with a small front, and a little larger back yard. We removed the grass from the whole area which covers 25'x 26'. In order to get rid of the lawn, without removing it, I used a spade and cut 12"x 12"x 12" deep plugs and turned the plugs over to bury the grass. This served to feed the soil and did away with the issue of removing the grass and taking it to the composter! I composted it on site! Doing this also helps to bury weed seeds that accumulated on the surface of the lawn just waiting to germinate once they were exposed to sunlight!
The whole are is now one large perennial garden with a walkway to the front door entrance!
I now longer waste time on a lawn and enjoy a mixture of perennials.
For the soil surface I use cedar bark mulch to help retain soil moisture and prevents weed seeds from germinating.
It is so much more interesting and inviting then a plain green lawn.

For the back garden we opted to cover a good 1/4 of the area with a low wood deck. The deck is between 8" and 9"s high and is surrounded by gardens with a pond. Since we have 2 small dogs we added a brick walk way for them to run on. To keep them out of the garden I installed a railing and stapled black mess fencing to the posts and rails. It is a fine mesh and being black visitors do not even notice it unless I mention it to them!
*(sorry about no photos! :eek: I lost all of them when my system crashed!)*, but I will be taking more, so you will need to be patient as I get my PC back up and reinstall everything!
 
#4
I finally got around to working in the south yard during the summer. I re-did the pathetic little garden area that was there when we moved in 8 years ago. I enlarged that and replanted with perennials and self sowing annuals. I made the "twice as big as it started" vegetable/herb gardens and dug another perennial bed to balance. Now instead of my 1/4 empty lot, I have 4 small grassy areas (one holds the compost bin) with seating for 1-4 in each. One quick trip with the mower twice a month..... And the new garden areas were quite the conversation starters with neighbors I had never met. One with the Greek lady who doesn't speak english, she just smiles and claps a lot....:D
 

RonsGarden

Super Moderator
Staff member
#5
Update on my neighbors:
One, a couple houses down from me came over to ask me the best and easiest way to dig up and replace her lawn. I gave her a run down on what I did, and off she went to turn her lawn over. I supplied her with starts from my garden so her garden filled in fairly quick as the summer months trekked on!
Another neighbor across the street from us will be doing the same thing as well as another down from him!
It's catching on and now we will have a healthy competition! I always have lots of divisions and plants, they are no longer going into the composter! My neighbors are more then pleased to take them off my hands!!
 
#6
I finally got around to working in the south yard during the summer. I re-did the pathetic little garden area that was there when we moved in 8 years ago. I enlarged that and replanted with perennials and self sowing annuals. I made the "twice as big as it started" vegetable/herb gardens and dug another perennial bed to balance. Now instead of my 1/4 empty lot, I have 4 small grassy areas (one holds the compost bin) with seating for 1-4 in each. One quick trip with the mower twice a month..... And the new garden areas were quite the conversation starters with neighbors I had never met. One with the Greek lady who doesn't speak english, she just smiles and claps a lot....:D
I was gonna say, you mow 2 acres. Holy Moly! Our one acre takes a couple hours but then we have those water directing ditches on two sides of our property that take a bit to mow.

I love the Greek lady who just smiles and claps :)

I have some ideas forming in my brain for garden beds ( which of course mean less lawn. We'll see what Spring brings though :)

Dora/Garden Goddess
 
#7
We have about 2.75 acres and when the horse lady down the street put a 2 lane street through the back woods I started letting my back field grow up for the wildlife back there. We still mow about half of it, but with the newer tractor it only takes about 2 hours instead of 4 or 5. If I had my way I'd have more flowerbeds scattered around, but hubby doesn't like having to mow around things. (I guess that's logical to him.)

My mom only has about 3/4 of an acre across the street, but her yard always looks like a golf course. We tease her about vacuuming the lawn because it's so short I don't think it's cutting much. But that's her favorite summertime pass time and at 83, if she can still do it, that's okay by me. She got a new John Deere this summer, because her old Cub was spouting oil everywhere.

Neither of us do anything to our lawns other than mow it. Once I did use some grub stuff, but that was ages ago. If it's green and it's growing I let it. I've got white clover, purslane, dandelions, violets, hawkweed (yellow and orange), and various grasses. This past summer there was a bumper crop of honey bees so I was tickled to death about that.
 
#9
I wouldn't give up my lawns for any thing I mow every other week and that takes 15 min. I don't water as much as I use too thats because its all most all clover now and with clover you don't need any fertilizer and it smells great when you cut it, Grass is environmentally friendly if you grow the right kind one that you don't water as much or have to cut alot, when I had lots of bees around they would spend hours going from clover flower to flower, my back yard is now 90% clover and the front is about 50% this spring I will reseed any spots that need it, on top of it clover seed is cheap if not free and I like any thing thats free:D and my mow is environmentally friendly too I plug it in and charge it up and off I go for about 50 cents every time I mow, beats the heck out of using a gas mower but thats just the way I like things easy and green
 
#10
My greek lady is the best, she will see one of the boys and will yell come, come, and send them home with baklava.....She did look confused when I was building the lasagna beds:confused:
 
#11
The thing with clover, I like to walk around in the yard and often with bare feet. difficult to do with all the bees.

Oh, I like bees and we need bees, so don't get me wrong.

One more thing.............. Lawn clovers are also non native plans, if that makes a difference in your habitats.

Ron
www.gardening-for-wildlife.com
 
#12
My small lawns I love them and my two cockers love them..I love the clover in them..The boys (dogs)play on the lawn, chase bee's and tennis ball..I mow every other week..
I'm having a big debate now whether to buy a new electric mower and keep my gas mower...Big decesion...
Happy mowing
oremudpie
 
#13
We are rural here with 25.5 acres for property. Of course that isn't all in turfgrass, but we do have a large lawn area. While it is maintained as lawn area it isn't the focal point of my gardening efforts. To me the purpose of the lawn is to serve as a backdrop or perhaps better put, an area that serves as a welcome mat leading to my various garden beds.

It is not my desire to have a Class A, top of the line lawn because there are far more important aspects of our yard that offers more appeal.

The photo below shows a small portion of our backyard with a water garden in the foreground and my wife's gazebo (a surprise gift for her birthday many years ago) in the background. The lawn area leads to the gazebo and serves as a pathway and welcome mat for one who wishes to explore a bit, go to the gazebo and, perhaps, sit and tarry for a bit.

 
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#14
Beautiful pic Whit...
I love the lush green grass and I love to mow...but I am not allowed to ...Cliff insists that is his job and he loves to mow grass and I have too many irons in the fire already...
He puts I think Scotts weed and feed on it in the spring along with something else... It is taking care of the grubs...very few Japanese Beetles thiese past two years and it kills all the crab grass... The grass is lush green...he does a good job
Peggy
 
#15
I love the lush green grass and I love to mow...but I am not allowed to ...Cliff insists that is his job
My wife and I both mow. She uses the rider and I do the edges with the walk behind. However it is best that we do not mow the same part of the lawn at the same time. My organized mind cannat watch her mow and the "unpatterns" she sometimes reverts to using. I can only stand to watch it for so long before I have to say something..........:)
 
#16
Oh Whit, you have a beautiful place! And I so commiserate about the erratic mowers of the world, lol! I have quite a reputation in my neighborhood for how I like my grass...my dear neighbor won't even drive his wheelchair thru my yard because it leaves marks and he's scared of me!!! Of course I could care less, but oh well.

Here's my front yard, and I agree about providing a welcoming view. I love to sit on the porch and just look across the smooth and soothing shady vista. I sometimes feed my lawn, but mostly not. There is moss in some areas in the shade...I like it.
 

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Crabbergirl

Super Moderator
Staff member
#17
I love taking care of my yard. Living on the river I am very aware of environmental concerns ( not to mention I am all organic anyway). I have adopted the "If it's green it's great" idea. Weeds are ok, I don't use fertilizers or weed killers. I have weeds but my yard is green. I don't have bugs in my lawn either which is cool. I have allow wild mint to invade and it smells great when I cut. It also deters pest. Try it you'll like it! I have found that the St. Augustine grass I had was hard to care for but it still is there in the weeds. Now Centipede is so easy to care for. Low water low maintenance. It's great.
 
#18
Great pictures and great thoughts everyone.

Lawns are what we make of them.

Kids are grown, dogs are little so I have little need for a big green manicured lawn, t much time and money involved. Could also be all the mowing I did growing up.

Yes I like what grass I have green and nice looking, but as a naturalist, I'm more into attracting birds, butterflies etc. so, I plant for wildlife.

Ron
www.gardening-for-life.com
 

lynpenny

Super Moderator
Staff member
#19
You know I moved down here to Texas with no intention of having a great yard of grass. In Kansas I never had good grass. Now I don't know what kind of grass is in my yard but it is lush and green and good for the grandsons to play on. I love it. I fertilize, mow and mow and mow. I used to hate mowing but I think it was because I didn't have nice grass. I was mowing alot of dirt and weeds. Here I've managed to rid the yard of dirt and most weeds. I had to pull the clover out to keep the grass. I like the grass better. I do water about once a week in the summer. But I water more for my flowers and bushes than for the grass.
Mowing especially up the hill is great exercise. It can be fun and the yard looks so nice when I'm done.
 
#20
We have an acre to mow. The lawn is full of various weeds and clover, but it's all good. When moeing.. even with a rider.. there is something satisfying about seeing where you have been and where you are going. A nicely mowed lawn has a certain beauty of it's own!
Next spring we will be putting something down for the grubs.. this winter has shown us that we have a mole infestation.. a bad one! I am not going to even think about the damage they are doing to my garden beds!! I planted the Giant Imperial Fritterlarias in the beds last fall in an effort to try to deter them from the flower beds. Those bulbs are expensive and stinky!! The flowers they produce however are beautiful.

Whit.. love the pictures.. a nice pond you got going!! I bet MG loved the gazebo!!
 


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