REVOLT – Alternative to a Lawn, Step 1: Making the decision

I hate to bring up an out of season subject like SNOW, but remembering the piles of snow we had in Ipswich this past season seems a perfect place to start this particular topic and the beginning of our latest landscape project. Take a look at our front yard last winter…

 

 Now that is some serious snow…and it only gets worse in our small backyard. I mean, how high can I actually raise the snow shovel above my head to get it to stay on top of the already humongous pile anyway?  OK, back to why I’m bringing all this up. 

After that much snow comes spring (eventually) and the dreaded snow mold that we always get on the small lawn area in our front yard. Wait – I forgot to say that our lawn was already stressed from drought last summer accompanied by a town watering ban from June through September. Not to mention the grubs, who found those conditions perfect for digging in and eating the grass roots, killing every blade. By fall, the only green to be seen was clover and the crab grass and violets that moved in from neighbors on all sides. What a mess. The long New England winters offer a lot of time for dreaming and planning changes for yards and gardens.

 As you can see, things didn’t look any better in the spring. These photos were taken in early May.

 

For years I’ve been preaching to my clients, “Give up on that lawn, there are so many alternatives that would be more interesting and creative, less work, and much less expensive in the long run. Aren’t you tired of paying that mowing service or spending your limited free time mowing the lawn? Not to mention having to endure listening to the “mow & blow” landscape crews who invade suburban neighborhoods everyday of the week (and weekends, and at 7 a.m. no matter what day of the week). Oh, and keeping an eye out for little white flags that warn of toxic chemicals just laid down on that green carpet lawn that will harm your children and pets when you take a walk around the neighborhood.”

OK, enough preaching. I’ve talked the talk to many of my clients…now I’m walking the walk.

Thinking it would be hard convincing my husband to go along with this idea, I toyed with many planting alternatives to replace the lawn before I shared my idea with him. Unlike most men, who have a male bonding thing going on with their lawns, I thought Dan could handle the implications of no more lawn to mow! Like…

  •       No tune up of lawn mower each spring
  •       No running out of gas to fill the mower
  •       No spreading lime to sweeten our acidic soil and keep the moss out
  •       No organic weed control (which barely controls weeds anyway)
  •       No organic fertilizer applications 2-3 times per season
  •       Less water usage
  •       No contributing to noise and air pollution
  •       More room in the shed with the lawn mower gone

 He was in. He cleaned the shed and gave away the mower. Now we were both committed to this project.

Check back next week for – Alternative to a Lawn, Step 2: Removing the Lawn

 

Learn more about Lawn Alternatives:

http://www.newenglandwild.org/publications-and-resources/reinventing-the-lawn.html

http://www.gardenpa.com/archives/2007/03/alternatives_to_the_sprawling_lawn.aspx

http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/entertainment/x104356630/Master-gardener-urges-lawn-alternatives

 
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