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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

How to Have a Greener Yard this Year

lawn pi
(Pi, enjoying the soft green at the Philbrook)
For those of us who have yards we want things to look nice. For most of us that means the pretty lawn with the pretty flowers. But what I am talking about here is the kinder green green yard. So often our friends and neighbors turn to chemicals to make their lawn pretty. The type of chemicals that come with warnings that say keep pets and children off of grass after use. Umm I ‘m sorry do you really want to use toxic chemicals on your yard? If so this article is not for you. If you want to have safer green yard this year then read on.
  • Reconsider the Lawn all togetherIs it necessary to have a lawn? I personally prefer the front yard. A place for kids to play and pets to romp. The notion of a front lawn is a relatively new one in the United States. The whole idea of the front lawn took hold after WWII.
  • Plant Native Plants – When you use native grasses, shrubs and plants you need less water for your yard.
  • Mow often but not too short – when you mow to show it affect the health of the grass. Slightly longer grass if actually a little healthier
  • Sharpen Mower Blades Once a Year  - Spring is a great time for this.
  • Spot Treat Weeds with Vinegar Mix 5 parts white vinegar, 2 parts water, 1 part dish soap, and apply with a hand pump sprayer.(Vinegar can burn grass and garden plants, so be sure to spot treat weeds only.)
  • Water Infrequently – water less often, but water deeply, this encourages the grass and other plants to grow deeper roots.
  • Have less lawn and more garden – grass uses more of our water resources and for many more chemicals than any other part of our lives. When you plant more native plants they are naturally more hardy and need less care.
  • Use Compostit is never too late to start composting, and you really don’t need a big area to do it. When done right it does not smell, except really good.
  • Try a rock garden – Seriously not all soil is good for growing, in fact if you have a new house in a new development chances are you don’t have any top soil at all. So why  not try a rock garden? Go for that simple Zen look of a rocks with a nice shrub or two.
 What is your favorite tip to having a kinder, gentler green yard?

this post is linked up to Your Green Resource


Megan @ Purple Dancing Dahlias said...

Last year we got rid of the yard. I was tried of putting in money and energy for something that doesn't feed us. We changed most of it into raised beds for food and the rest free range space for the chickens. Love it!!

Sheila said...

My two tricks for a green lawn actually take no work at all. The first is not to worry about the weeds. Plantains and dandelions are really hardy and help avoid the bare spots that our yard tends to otherwise. You can smear the grass right off the heavy soil on a rainy day just by walking on it, but with tough, deep-rooted weeds mixed in, that won't happen. I just make sure to mow each time the dandelions try to flower. Clover is another "weed" that is ideal for the lawn -- it adds nitrogen and is oh-so-soft on feet.

My other tactic is not to rake. Instead, I mow often and leave the clippings where they are. They help mulch any bare spaces and return nutrients to the soil. It really exhausts your soil to be always "harvesting" the grass and giving nothing back. I also leave a few leaves in the fall -- not so many as to smother the grass, but enough to add a few nutrients.

Lisa - the Granola Catholic said...

Love it Megan, I have my herbs and vegetables in the front yard too. The best decision I ever made, they are nice and close to the kitchen for when I am cooking, and taking care of them is so much easier than going down to the back of the barn. I do have some grassy area in the yard but no lawn. It is so much easier to take care of too.

Lisa - the Granola Catholic said...

Sheila, love that attitude, for me a weed is only a plant that grows where you do not want it to. I love having the clover in the yard. It really is so soft underfoot. As for dandelions what a great tip, to mow them before they go to seed. Dandelions are actually quite nutritious, and if you don't use chemicals on your yard you can harvest them for food.

We actually have a mulching mower so we don't rake either no clippings to gather up in our yard. Instead the clippings can mulch in place.

amandaginn said...

This caught my eye on SortaCrunchy's link up. We live in the city, and our backyard is part flower garden, part compost, part stone work, and part dead grass with sand and mud.

I would love to have a place for my little ones to play that isn't so... dirty. I will have to give these ideas a try!

Lisa - the Granola Catholic said...

Great Amanda, I have a friend who lives in an old neighborhood in the city and she mulched the area under the big trees, it was so shady that grass would not grow, so she turned it into a playground area with lots of free mulch from the city. My first thought was what a great idea. Her front yard was the sunniest place so she planted the vegetables and herbs there, it looks much better than a postage stamp size green patch. You might try mulching the area where the grass won't grow. If you decide to grow grass there later then you will have a nice soil builder.

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