More people are wondering how to have a more natural lawn. Here are a few tips to get you started!
By Sarah Lawson
For most people, a lot of effort, thought and money goes into creating the perfect yard. It usually involves laying a lot of grass, using pesticides to get rid of weeds, and burning up lots of gasoline with lawnmowers.
Some people go even further, building decks, sheds and patios themselves or using the services of the likes of Contractors Inc to create them.
But you don’t need fancy structures or highly manicured plants to have a beautiful garden. In fact, more people are wondering how to have a more natural lawn: one that doesn’t require too much work, but still looks amazing. One that uses native plants that grow naturally.
Giving your lawn back to nature doesn’t mean letting weeds run rampant in your lawn and letting it grow as it would in an untouched natural environment, however. A natural lawn care strategy just means working in harmony with the natural environment, and playing up to its strengths. It means letting your lawn become part of the local ecosystem and using natural plants and grasses that can work together with your local environment. It means not minding if a few wildflowers or dandelions pop up in your grass. It means seeding plants that will thrive easily, and letting nature do its thing to a large extent.
This kind of lawn creation strategy can seem challenging, but done correctly it will allow it to thrive and fit in perfectly with its surroundings. Such a strategy will also allow you to perform less yard work while still maintaining a picture-perfect lawn.
If you’d like to know how to have a more natural lawn, it’s easy! Just read on, below.
5 Steps To Have A More Natural Lawn
Step 1 – Understand Your Environment
The first step to conforming to your environment is knowing the local land. What’s the weather like in your area? How much sun does your yard get? Do different sections get different amounts? What kind of grass thrives in your area? What pests, animals, and weeds are most common? How much rainfall do you receive? What’s the soil composition like? Are their slopes in your yard?
Figuring out the answers to these questions is the first step to perfecting a natural yard. It will help you determine where the planting zones in your lawn are as well as what you can plant.
Step 2 – Know What You Really Want
The next step is to determine exactly what it is you’re hoping to see in your garden. What kind of grasses, plants, shrubs, and flowers do you like? See if they match up with what thrives in your area. What is your main priority? Is it to have a beautiful yet low-maintenance lawn? Is it to allow nature to completely take your lawn over in the most attractive way possible? Do you want beautiful creatures like hummingbirds and butterflies to frequent the premises?
Assessing the needs of your environment and comparing them to your personal desires will help you draw up a plan to create a sustainable, easy-to-care-for lawn that lives in perfect harmony with your desires and the environment.
Step 3 – Pick Your Plants
Choosing plants that are known to thrive in the local area is your best bet. Planting a few trees whenever possible is crucial to stabilizing the soil and harmonizing your lawn with the ecosystem. Know that you don’t need to use grass for your lawn. It may be the most common greenery, but there are other options, like clover, that are often a better choice. For example, unlike most grasses, clover is a nitrogen-fixing plant that brings nutrients to your soil and requires no fertilization. Clover is also drought tolerant and grows very well despite a lack of water once it’s established.
To have a more natural lawn, you should also choose plant species that require no pesticides. This will encourage more insects to feed in your lawn, and will attract birds, butterflies and other animals, allowing your lawn to support local wildlife. Some of the best lawn plants that need no pesticides to thrive include juniper, ivy, honeysuckle, and daisies, but of course, this depends on your local area. Click here to learn more plants that are easy to grow.
Step 4 – Make Preparations for the Site
This step involves the removal of all invasive plant species and rocks and stones. This will usually require you to hand-pull them out of your lawn and areas near the border of it, but if you have any invasive species like Buckthorn or Nettles, you might need a shovel or even some professional assistance.
You should start small and work your way outwards from there. A space of about 150 sq ft is a good starting point. Despite what you may have heard, forego the fertilizer. Using the soil that’s already there will help native plants thrive more easily while helping keep weeds under wraps as well. Unless you live in a desert, you’ll still be able to maintain a beautiful yard.
Plant as densely as you can, leaving no bare spots in your lawn and using mulch only in the beginning to help suppress weeds.
Step 5 – Maintain and Establish
This phase involves taking care of your lawn as best you can until it’s ready to thrive on its own. Regularly water what you’ve planted as much as it needs, and pluck any weeds out while using natural methods to drive away pests if you need to.
No matter what you plant, it’s likely that your lawn will need about two full years to really establish itself in the local ecosystem. Trade in a weekly lawn care schedule for monthly maintenance projects like deadheading shrubs and flowers, and spot-treating weeds by cutting them down at their base. With the right ground cover, there’s no way they’ll survive.
Giving Your Lawn Back to Nature is a Long-term Project
Remember the growing a natural lawn is going to take some time. It won’t happen overnight and you shouldn’t expect the process to be similar to the average lawn installation. You are helping your lawn establish a healthy, cooperative relationship with the local ecosystem, not just completing a one-time project akin to remodeling your kitchen.
With a little research, a lot of patience, and a commitment to making it work, you’ll be able to maintain a lawn that both pleases the eye and lives in perfect, harmonious balance with its surroundings.