Swap Out That Grass Lawn With These Stunning Options

The grass is not always greener!

Replace your lawn with wildflowers like these and promote biodiversity.

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These days, the grass is not always greener. Many gardeners are choosing to replace their turf lawns with more sustainable options. This helps the environment, reduces water and chemical usage, and promotes biodiversity. It also saves you time and money.  

Traditionally, Americans have loved their manicured, lush green lawns. It is so much a part of the culture and community. Manicured grass covers 50 million acres of land in the US, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. Yet these bright green, weed-free perfect lawns are bad for the environment.

Grass is the largest irrigated crop in the US and actually uses more fertilizer, labor, fuel and equipment than industrial farming, according to EcoWatch. Also considered a monoculture, it reduces habitats of pollinators, harms the soil, and uses a lot of water.

With spring arriving, it will soon be time to garden. Help out Mother Nature this season by considering these options for a sustainable and beautiful lawn.

Use Ornamental Grasses

Ornamental grasses are beautiful and easy to care for. In fact, you only have to mow them once or twice a year, according to going evergreen. If you choose a fescue or bentgrass blend, you just need to take out your lawnmower once a month.

Another option is dwarf mondo grass. It is heat and drought resistant, fights weeds, and needs no mowing at all! There are also eco-grass blends that need little water and will not invite any weeds.

If you like flowers and color, go for a flowering perennial groundcover. EcoWatch recommends clover, bearberry cotoneaster, and Creeping Jenny. White and fragrant sweet woodruff, multi-colored horned violets, and deep purple liriope all add magnificence and interest.

A colorful garden of ornamental grasses.

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Invite Native Flowers

Did you know that turf grass is not native to North America? Most lawns are made of Kentucky Bluegrass or ryegrass, according to EcoWatch. As they are not native, they compete with plants, grasses, and flowers that are natural to the region.

Planting a foreign grass reduces the food and nesting spots for birds and pollinators, forcing them to find other locations. Native varieties like wildflowers invite bugs and bees which then become food for reptiles, amphibians, and mammals. This also helps bring back biodiversity.

Find out which species are native to your area. Usually they are plants that have been maligned as ‘weeds,’ such as clover and dandelion. But these species are important as they provide a food source for pollinators, including endangered bees. EcoWatch suggests planting asters, holly, and columbine to offer a much-needed habitat for birds.

Growing daisies and dandelions looks like a meadow and attracts pollinators.

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Create an Edible Lawn

Planting an edible area is called ‘foodscaping,’ according to Morning Chores. It can take up to three years for the plants to cover the area, but once they have taken, you will enjoy a glorious groundcover that you can harvest.

Try planting crunchy, lemony purslane. This succulent even likes poor soil and will self-seed. Or, go for beautiful, fully edible nasturtiums. If you have full sun, they will spread across a large area.

Alpine strawberries do well in shade. The leaves are used in tea, while the tiny berries are delicious to eat. Wood violets are pretty, and their leaves are packed with vitamins C and A.

Or, go for herbs. Try mint, oregano, lemon verbena, Roman chamomile, or thyme. If you have hot summers, another interesting alternative is planting sweet potatoes and then eating its nutritious leaves and tubers.

A plate of salad green from an edible lawn, including nasturtium flowers.

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