Reducing Lawn Area on a Site
Reducing Lawn Area
By reducing the amount of lawn on a
site, we will help to reduce water run-off, the amount of water used for
irrigation, waste generated from clippings, pollution produced from mowers,
edgers and weedeaters, pollution from fertilizers and pesticides, and money
spent on maintenance.
Determine the minimal amount of functional lawn that is needed on a site for
recreational purposes. One to two thousand square feet of lawn or less is
adequate for most families. This process will help to reduce the amount of lawn
that is installed as a default solution.
Use native fescue grasses.
These grasses are more drought tolerant, requiring less water than other
typical turf grass.
Use a mulching mower or grasscycle.
Grasscycling is simply leaving your grass clippings on the lawn, a simple step
that can reduce what is going to the landfill. Mulch mowers, while not a
necessity, aid the process by cutting the grass into smaller pieces.
Replace turf with a wild lawn.
One replacement for traditional turf grass is a "wild lawn." A wild
lawn is created out of native grasses, wildflowers, and groundcovers. Native
grasses stabilize soil and improve soil quality, increase water infiltration
and fertility and recycle nutrients. Their deep and fibrous roots can tap deep
soil water, allowing them to stay green year-round. Because of this, California
native grasses are relatively inflammable and can provide low-maintenance fire
buffers around residences. They also offer a long green forage season that
benefits both wildlife and livestock, and can help prevent invasion by noxious
alien weeds such as yellow starthistle.
Native grasses provide vital habitat
to many species of insects, birds, reptiles and mammals. Their visual texture
and beauty make them suitable for a wide variety of residential and urban
landscapes. They contribute to sustainable agriculture and add value to both
rural and urban areas. After the first two to three years, where weed control
is important, wild lawns require virtually no maintenance. You only need to mow
it once or twice a year.
Use sheet mulching to remove
unwanted lawn areas.
Sheet mulching is a non-chemical method of removing the unwanted lawn areas.
This is done by overlapping cardboard or newspaper on grass, covering this with
layers of wood chips, compost (or other organic matter) and straw. These layers
will smother the grass and create an organic planting bed environment. In
addition, no digging or tilling is necessary.
Strive to get all of these
ingredients locally. For example, boxes from a local merchant, wood chips from
a local tree trimmer, coffee grounds, juice pulp, or rotten produce from local
shops and stores. Manure can be acquired from area farms or racetracks.
"Reducing Lawn Area," Recycle Works: A Program of
San Mateo County:
[accessed on May 6, 2008].