We’ve written a lot over the past two years about losing at least HALF of your lawn areas to create a “greener” more eco-friendly garden. Losing some of your lawns areas is a fantastic way to make your garden space less water needy — and it will introduce new options to make your landscape current and interesting.
Replacing lawn areas with ground covers is a great option I recommend everyone to consider. And remember that if you position numerous species of ground covers together in large groupings, it will add much drama to your space, in addition to both color and texture. Think about creeping Jenny for a sunny areas and Creeping mints for shadier spots. And trailing yellow dale and trailing Lantana.
What to really ramp it up? Bring your sense of smell into the mix and add a fragrant ground cover, such as Sweet Woodruff, to your garden space.
If in the end your heart belongs to grass, think about replacing your lawn areas with grasses and grass-like options such as pink mulhy grass, liliope, deschampisi caespitosa (aka tufted hair grass) or mondo grass.
You’ll need to water your grasses and ground covers adequately until they’re established, after that, depending on the type, you’ll find your ground covers require up to 100% less than your former lawn areas.
GardenWise is Sweet on Woodruff
Sweet Woodruff (Galium odoratum) is a shade garden delight, and the perfect groundcover for adding fragrance to your outside space while reducing lawn areas. Easily grown in average, medium to wet, well-drained soils, it’s fast growing, insect repellent, low maintainance, quick to establish and it isn’t prone to invasiveness — though you definitely do need to keep it in check. Sweet Woodruff has white spring flowers and an attractive eye-catching foilage. The foliage’s scent intensifies when the flowers are dried, which makes them a popular choice for those making potpourri.
GardenWise on “Green” Garden Projects
When a gardener asks, “How can I make my garden ‘green’?” The journey has begun. A thoughtful understanding that an outside space can have a positive impact on the environment is the first step to a green garden makeover. An exciting weekend project that will bring immediate and amazing results is to reduce your lawn area by at least half.
Substituting lawn areas with ground covers will provide beautiful colors and textures to your garden spaces. Ground covers retain moisture in the soil, help prevent erosion, and require significantly less water than grass, which will make your garden space eco-friendly. Creeping thymes and Creeping Jenny are good choices for sunny spots, and for shadier areas, tiny creeping mints such as Mentha requienii will work well. Some nice low-water choices include Trailing Yellow Dalea and Trailing lantana.
By adding some stone elements and pourous pavers into your plan, your garden space will come alive with wonderful garden paths that will add new dimensions to your garden spaces.
A Fragrant Ground Cover
Sweet Woodruff (Galium odoratum) is a shade garden delight, and the perfect groundcover for adding fragrance to your garden space while reducing lawn areas. It’s fast growing, insect repellent, low maintainance, quick to establish, and it isn’t prone to invasiveness, though you do need to keep it in check. Sweet Woodruff has white spring flowers and an attractive foilage that looks nice in winter, with leaves that smell like freshly mown hay when crushed. Best of all? If you lose some grass, you save on water bills, and help prevent erosion in your garden.
You know that really large lawn area you have? Lose some of it! One alternative is to add garden interest with flagstone stepping stones and a plant vignette for color and texture. Above is a small portion of one of my projects; creeping Jenny with Japanese Rhodeq and white Mazas between stepping stones. A bonus is the 100’s of gallons of water and dollars you’ll save by not watering a larger grass area.
Here a Leaf, There a Leaf
Don’t be a procrastinator! As we journey further into Fall, it’s important to get the leaves off the ground quickly and to mow your lawn until the first frost. This will keep the grass strong and healthy. If leaves aren’t removed and remain on your lawn as they fell, they’ll deprive your lawn of important sunlight and rain that will help it stay healthy through the winter months. Also, if leaves are left on the ground, it will lead to mold and pest problems (mice, rats, etc.) because the water will get trapped in the lawn.
And be sure to remove leaves from your deck — leaves that accumulate on decks can lead to algae, mildew and mold, which will cause the wood to rot.
And keep in mind, leaves do not just fall on your lawn and deck — they fall in your gutters! Clean your gutters every month. Clean gutters will save you from experiencing serious problems with water around your house whether it be landscaping erosion, water in your basement or damage to wood around your roof. But be careful on that ladder, and work in pairs to be sure you don’t have any ladder accidents.
Water Conservation Tips for Every Garden
As we start the fall season, water conservation is something many of us have to consider as we maintain our garden spaces. Here are some ideas that can greatly reduce your water usage and help you get the biggest bang for your water buck.
Less Lawn. I’ve been giving this advice for years now, reduce your lawn by half! The average American uses over 200 gallons per day when watering their lawn areas. Consider replacing some of that grass with an attractive groundcover which is drought resistant, covers a large area, and requires no mowing. Do you have grass between stone pavers? Consider replacing that grass with an attractive and drought resistant groundcover as well. Sweet William has the added bonus of being a fragrant ground, providing an added bonus to any garden space.
Super Soak. Up to a third of all water from irrigation systems can evaporate during the heat of the day. Instead, give your plants fewer, heavy soakings. If your watering routine includes using the sprinklers, as mine does, consider using them only in the morning.
Recycling Water. Recapturing Grey/Rain Water Provides a Free Source of Garden water. These systems can be easily installed and incorporated into irrigation systems.
Drip irrigation. Soaker hoses are easy to install systems that water plants right at the root and serve as an efficient alternate to sprinkler systems. It’s an afternoon project you can do yourself; be sure to get a timer for maximum effectiveness.