I currently have a client who is removing her lawn and replacing it with a beautiful meadow garden. There are many good reasons not to have a lawn, like for example:
- Turf covers 32 million acres of land in U.S., which is 2% of the land mass!
- Lawn mowers account for 5% of air pollution (a 3.5 hp lawnmower for one hour = driving an automobile 350 miles)
- 30-60% of urban fresh water is used to water lawns
- 2000 square feet of lawn produces 600-800 lb. clippings per summer
- lawns have little to offer in terms of habitat value
- lawns are costly to maintain, in terms of labor, natural resources and your budget
If you would like to replace some or all of your lawn with garden space, there are many simple methods for doing so. My client dug up the lawn by hand, and piled some of it under a tarp to let it decompose. Next she amended the soil with plant compost, and in less than a week she had a wonderful new area waiting to be planted with grasses, shrubs and flowering perennials.
There is a great book about converting your lawn to meadow – it’s called The American Meadow Garden by John Greenlee http://www.amazon.com/American-Meadow-Garden-Alternative-Traditional/dp/0881928712/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1287445082&sr=1-1. In the preface, John argues that:
“Meadows are far more satisfying than either a lawn or traditional border, combining the best attributes of both: like a lawn, a calming place for the eye to rest, yet with the richness and complexity of a border. Unlike lawns, meadows are better for the environment, a safe habitat for beneficial insects and pollinators, a place where native ecology can thrive. Meadows, by attracting a diversity of “life”, are animated, alive with rhythmic movement, catching both wind and light. No lawn can do that. And – properly designed – meadows require less maintenance and consume significantly less resources than lawn or border.”
So if you have been thinking about replacing your lawn, now might be the time to take action. Lots of other resources are available, and of course I’d be happy to help!