“Over 70 million tons of fertilizers and pesticides are applied to residential lawns and gardens annually.”

I am well aware that a good majority of American families don’t use their lawns, but merely maintain them. This wouldn’t be a problem if 70 million tons of fertilizers and pesticides weren’t used on these yards.

Why do we even have lawns? Do they create more beauty or inhibit the growth of it?

I, for one, am in search of alternatives to the unnecessary lawn. While we do have a front and back yard now, we are working on cutting it down and filling the space with more plants and trees. The only one who seems to be enjoying our lawn nowadays is our puppy, but he doesn’t have to mow it every week.

Many maintain a lawn simply because it’s there and everyone else does it. For those of you who are not interested in what everyone else does, but for what is better for your rivers, drinking water, and your health, here are some suggestions.

Instead of grass, add native plants and fill in empty space with rocks, bark chips, trees or big shrubs.

While a space like this one takes time to grow, make a small patio from stones and rocks so rain can still filter into the earth. Fill the surrounding area with large plants like hostas or ferns.

Create some interesting space with grasses and growing shrubs accompanied by tall trees. Try adding pots if you want something else to catch your eye or add color.

If you still want to hold on to some grass, try minimizing it by adding your favorite flowers or large trees in the middle.

If you have grass try using a good old fashioned push mower. We bought our first one months ago and I love using it. It’s not noisy and I get a little workout doing it, although if it’s short it’s hardly a workout. It will not produce air pollution while mowing, you will not have to buy gasoline for it, and you can use the grass clippings on your lawn.

With no pesticides what about the weeds in your new open spaces?

Some things we have done in our new yard are:

Mulch open areas where weeds grow. Do this by adding bark or leaves to the area in April or May before germination starts, or in our case whenever you can do it!

Start picking! Spend time outside handpicking or shoveling out weeds (my husband is way better at keeping up on this then I am). If you get it at the root, it is way easier to control later on.

If you want more help, for smaller weeks use a vinegar/water/salt solution to to kill them off.

What do you do for a beautifully better yard? Do tell.



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