Less Lawn – More Habitat: Take 2
We’re in my ‘Alternative Backyard Demonstration Area’. The backyard is framed by native plantings but still had a lawn in its center. For two years I have mown only an outside edge and a spiral through the grass leaving a corresponding spiral of o taller turf grasses with some very aggressive perennials. This decreased the amount of regular mowing by 3/4. The spiral shape was very evident from my second-floor office window and was great fun through the seasons. So progress was made for less mowing but the spiral was not evident on the ground looking into the yard and native plants do not compete well with turf so there has not been enough diversity. I want more natives – less grass, period. My goal is to create better habitats on this residential plot for a wider range of our smallest and smaller community inhabitants, in a way that is comfortable.
So, I’ve mown the whole area down today. I’ve composted the grass. It’s time to bite the bullet, per se, and take the major step to kill the grass with cardboard and mulch this spring. I’ll do this by covering a circle or moon shape with cardboard in the spring. But it’s important to leave the area open through the winter because of the many bulbs that already exist below the soil.
I’ll plant a circle of spring bulbs on the perimeter of this new shape to further define the circle in the spring. Next year, after several months of cardboard and mulch, I can plant a variety of native grasses and perennials in the circle. This moon shape will indeed have a mown edge to let people know I haven’t just left the yard to go on vacation!
If one experiment does not succeed, we’re trying again. Take a look at the short video: https://youtu.be/i5iaTtJZfs0