A Home for Your Gnome

Gardening Advice from a Fan of Fun!

Loosen up On the Lawn

October 4, 2022 | Sustainability

I find it interesting that visitors to our garden get a bit of a nervous shake when they look around and imagine how much work / maintenance goes into such a small plot of real estate. But then they return home, go to the garage, and proceed to administer an arsenal of chemicals promising to keep their lawns “weed-free”.  There are many who tout the benefits of an attractive plot of turfgrass and then there is me. The guy who annually overseeds with white clover. Maintaining any type of monoculture is no less work and likely much harder on the environment than my loose, all are welcome* attitude towards the suburban carpet.
(* with the exception of crabgrass and Bermuda)

For those with very active children, having a plot of grass where they can run and recreate can be hugely important. And yes, clover produces blooms if allowed that attract bees which can be challenging if someone has allergic reactions to stings. But if you don’t have small ball players needing a place to practice their passions and enjoy some diversity, consider loosening up on the turfgrass regime a smidge and enjoy the extra wildlife that may venture onto your property.

One thing I’ve been experimenting with lately has been the concept of a “mini-meadow”. This is no more than a very small plot I’ve “let go” and sometimes supplement with some relocated perennials or wildflower seeds (and a decorative goat). The key to getting neighbors and passersby to accept your wild concept is to maintain a crisp edge of control on all sides. This way it doesn’t look like your mower broke down mid-way through a cut or you’ve abandoned your lot.


A recent view of the “mini-meadow”

One last thing to think about which may take a bit more planning is the amount of lawn you maintain. As you may have gathered, I am more of a plant & garden person than a lawn guy. When practicing my profession as a landscape architect in Knoxville, TN, I tend to lean towards planting heavily along all edges and allowing this to determine how large and what shape the lawn should be. Having a smaller plot of turfgrass is not only better for the environment but it can result is a very pleasing feature when properly scaled with the rest of your garden.

An eco-friendly lawn will bring some additional visitors.