Turning the Lawn into a Garden


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I no longer have to mow my front yard and it’s GREAT! One of the problems with my front yard is that I could not get grass to grow. The previous summer I had killed the front yard with a chemical. Didn’t really want to use such a thing, but I was desperate. I bought a whole bag of grass seed, and the whole deal cost me about $80! Well, it did absolutely nothing, so I wasted a lot of time and money. The new grass didn’t grow. It instead killed what grass was there, and allowed weeds to fill in. The hardy weeds actually had to be mowed more often instead.

The other problem is that I have a riding lawn mower, and I have gotten stuck trying to get it through the back gate. There was also an area that had a slope, right where it met my neighbor’s side yard and right where she had planted this awful looking Nandina shrub. I had gotten stuck there as well, my tires spinning away to the ground and nothing moving. I also spent a good while weedwacking the whole easment, since I had no other way to cut the grass weeds. Needless to say, mowing the front was awful and I’d of course put it off. Then I met my man and we made plans to turn the front yard into something great. Thankfully he knew where to get a lot of mulch for free, and I knew where to get a lot of cardboard for free.

There are several ways to turn your lawn into a garden. You don’t have to do it all at once, but sections at a time.

Steps for A No Lawn Garden

  • Have a plan. You want to go ahead and make a full vision as to what you want the garden to look like when it’s done, even if you only take steps at a time. This includes what plants you want, a layout plan, and the steps to get to your final vision. A landscape design company can be hired to help you with this. The layout should consider all plants including trees, evergreens, shrubs, perennials, annual areas, hardscaping such as pathways, slopes, and special design features such as structures, rain gardens or art. It’s bad to just begin cutting away soil without a plan and filling in haphazardly with plants. This will probably cause more work later when you have to redo things such as moving plants.
  •  Locate Materials. You should have a plan and adequate funds to coordinate with your plan. This includes purchasing materials and getting them onsite when you’ll need them such as plants, mulch, and hardscape materials.
  • Chose a Method. There are several methods to turning lawns into gardens.
  • 1. You can kill the grass outright with chemicals, but I would advise against this. Sometimes it still comes back, puts poison into the ground (which will be bad for the plants you plan to put in!) and you will still have root systems to deal with.
  • 2. There is also sheet mulching which uses cardboard. I believe this is the best, and is what we did with my lawn. It puts good soil structure back into the ground and really snuffs out the weeds and grass. It also breaks down very easily and once it’s down, there’s no more to do! You can also find cardboard for free from businesses. I got mine from a fabric store, but you could also try any merchandise retailers and groceries.
  • 3. There is also the method of plastic sheeting to kill out the grass. This takes longer than the cardboard mulching method. This should also be done when it’s hot, because you’re suffocating the lawn.
  • 4. Lastly, there is the dig out the sod with a shovel method! This is great if you’re doing small areas at a time and you want instant results.

Benefits of turning your lawn into a garden is that you no longer have to mow or weedeat. Which also means not buying gasoline, reducing pollution and noise, and not having to water it to keep it green. Once the initial investment is made to turn it into a lawn, there is minimal work. The only maintenance is taking care of the plants, which can turn into a family activity. It also increases the chance you’ll get to converse more with your neighbors (which turns into networking and opportunities). I’ve met a lot of people in my neighborhood since turning the front yard into a garden. You’ll also be attracting more wildlife into the yard which turns into a great learning experience for children.

Here are a few books that will provide useful information on turning your lawn into something awesome.

Beautiful No Mow Yards

No Mow Yards book

Lawn Gone!Lawn Gone! book

The Edible Front YardThe Edible Front Yard Book





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