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Do You Even Need a Lawn? Exploring Lawn Alternatives
Have you ever wondered if there are sustainable alternatives to lawn grass? The fact is that attractive landscaping greatly increases the real estate value of your property. However, many lawns die each year due to low rainfall, leaving some to seek low-maintenance options, namely lawn alternatives. Homeowners are getting tired of watching their lawns turn brown and wither every summer, and they’re tired of paying a landscaper to try to extend the life of their lawn. All this effort costs time, money and effort, as well as the need for continuous watering and aeration of the lawn.
Lawns can be beautiful, but the price can be prohibitive. Large lawns, and especially many golf courses in our communities, require insane amounts of herbicides and chemical fertilizers to maintain their condition and pristine appearance. Mower fuel, harmful emissions, potentially harmful fertilizers and pesticides, water usage and your valuable time are all variables in the cost of lawn maintenance. Finding and hiring a lawn care service can save you time and energy, but the environmental costs still remain. Consider reducing the overall size of your lawn. In this way, you can contribute to the environment and at the same time save time, energy and costs. We owe it to ourselves and future generations to experiment with alternatives to lawns, or at least try to reduce the total area of lawns in our yard.
There are many steps you can take to reduce the size of your lawn and reduce the time and resources required to maintain it. For example, try converting part of your lawn to ornamental grasses. If you have a small unsightly area on your property that you’d rather not have to mow anymore, consider replacing it with a diverse combination of ornamental grasses and mulch. Adding raised beds to your yard will not only look good by highlighting your plantings, but will provide an edge barrier from the lawn and deter ground pests. Plant your shrubs close together to reduce weeds, and wider beds allow you to reduce the size of your lawn. A lot of maintenance can be reduced by laying out the beds so that the lawns are in continuous swaths that are easy to mow. An edge such as flagstone or brick can be used to define the edge. If you place this border below the level of the lawn, mowing will be easy without the need for other trimming. Any trees in your lawn can be covered with a wide border around the base, using a combination of mulch, some ground cover or native plants.
Unlike your neighbors, you may not need a lawn at all. For example, if you enjoy the open feel of a lawn, but not the maintenance or water requirements. Also, areas where traditional turf is difficult to establish can do well with some alternatives. For example, if your yard suffers from too much shade, moss can offer a solution. After getting over the weed mark of the lawn, many people find moss attractive. Moss shade gardens are becoming increasingly popular as an alternative to lawns.
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