Reasons To Lose the Lawn (And What to Replace it With)

Embracing diversity is key to sustainability. When I first arrived here five years ago, the orchard was just fruit trees and grass. (In the foreground, you can see a newer area of forest garden which I am in the process of establishing.)

There are plenty of reasons to get rid of the lawn in your garden. When I say lawn, what I am referring to is a manicured, perfect grass mono-crop.

Of course, grass cover is not always a bad thing. Grass cover can protect the soil, feed livestock, and can be very practical. It can also provide a place for kids or pets to play and, yes, areas of grass can look good too. But a shorn mono-crop lawn is not a sustainable or eco-friendly choice.

Reasons to get rid of your lawn:

  • Manicured lawns are severely lacking in biodiversity and more biodiversity will mean a healthy garden (and a healthier planet).
  • Maintaining them can also harm wildlife in your area.
  • Lawns have been found to release more carbon than other land cover (in part because of the heat effect in towns and cities makes them hotter). Switching to carbon gardening practices means your garden can capture more carbon than it emits.
  • Lawns can’t feed your family or provide the things you need in life. But alternatives could give you a range of useful yields.
  • Manicured lawns are boring. Why look out on just grass when you could be looking out on a beautiful and abundant vista with a much wider range of plants.

Alternatives To a Grass Lawn To Consider

If you’ve already read some of my posts, it will come as no surprise to you that my top pick to replace a grass lawn in many areas is a forest garden.

Forest gardens may not give you a wide open area to look out on. But what they do offer more than makes up for that.

Another fantastic option, of course is to replace your lawn with a kitchen garden. The more food you can grow at home – the easier it will be for you to live in a truly sustainable way. But don’t dig up or till your lawn to make one. Use no dig gardening techniques instead. Layer materials on top of the turf. And once you have your growing area, be sure to plant in polycultures to bring that biodiversity back up.

You could also create new habitats to attract wildlife to your garden. A wildlife pond tops the list for boosting biodiversity.

Other alternatives to grass cover include:

  • A wildflower meadow (with flowering plants appropriate to your location).
  • Moss ground cover for a shady area.
  • Other ground cover plants, such as clover, herbs like thyme, or chamomile, for example. (Which could be considered if you want a more open aspect.)
  • Sedum or other succulents in a dry area.

If you don’t want to get rid of your lawn altogether, at least consider letting some weeds in. Mow less often, always garden organically, and embrace a wilder look to be kinder to wildlife and the environment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: