Thursday, August 25, 2011

More on downsizing lawns

Remove some lawn and plant a perennial border in its place

Let wild violets spread to form a groundcover

In posts from August 21st and 22nd I wrote about my efforts to reduce the size of my lawn, but I only mentioned my back lawn. There was lawn in the front of the house as well and it curved around and into the back yard, 5,000 square feet in all.

I began the downsizing project in front, where the lawn size was smallest, because starting small is the best way to tackle this project. First, I removed a wide strip of sod and planted a bed of hostas and ferns in its place. I planted mature hostas that grew quickly to create the feeling that the border had always been there.

Wild violets had invaded a good portion of the lawn (and butterflies love wild violets), so I gave them free reign. Still, I kept mowing throughout the growing season and fertilizing in the fall. This year I stopped mowing and let the violets do what they will. Soon enough I had a thick mat of green groundcover, mostly violets but with some weeds growing in between. I've trimmed the mat with sharp hand shears twice this summer and I'm pretty happy with the results. The violets will crowd out any remaining weeds in time.

As you can see in these photos, I have very little lawn left. Moss is growing in some places, and since I love moss, I'm thrilled to see it spreading. The rest of what's left of the lawn will give way to violets, and as I write this post, a few wild asters are coming up in between the violets. The point is, I no longer have a front lawn and I like it. Seems the songbirds and wild turkeys like it as well because I often see them foraging there. Insects and worms seek out this shady patch of green and the soil stays moist longer there.

I only wish I had done this sooner.

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