I had the immense pleasure of interviewing Evelyn Hadden yesterday about her wonderful new book Beautiful No-Mow Yards: 50 Amazing Lawn Alternatives.
When you goal to to create welcoming habitat for wildlife in your garden, reducing your lawn and replacing it with more native plants is the quickest way to provide more wildlife habitat.
Beautiful No-Mow Yards is chock full of stunning photos to give you inspiration and ideas on ways to reduce your lawn. But I wanted to highlight just 5 to get you started.
1. Start With the Places You Only Go to Mow
Look around your property and make a note of the places in your lawn that the only time you go there is to mow. Obviously, you’re not using those places for recreation or anything else, so this is a great place to remove the turf and plant some native plants to attract wildlife.
Native pollinators are in deep decline, so you’ll get double benefits if you add some pollinator attracting plants that bloom from early spring through autumn.
2. Stop Mowing Slopes
Using a mower on a slope is very dangerous, and sloped areas aren’t any good for kicking around a soccer ball or relaxing in your lawn chair. So these places are an excellent place to create more wildlife habitat in your garden.
These sloped areas may be a great place to plant a wildflower meadow for wildlife, including lots of butterfly host plants and nectar plants for butterflies and native pollinators. Plus, the birds will come in to eat the seeds.
You will have created a place that is full of life, and you will never tire of watching the constant activity of the butterflies and other wildlife.
3. Focus on Your Trees
“Tree Islands” in the middle of your lawn are places where the tree and the lawn are in direct competition with each other, and neither is really getting what they need. Why not remove the lawn under your trees and replace it with shrubs and perennials to instead create Habitat Islands.
When you add berrying shrubs that fruit throughout the season, you’ll be inviting migratory birds and other wildlife to take up residence in the habitats you’ve created. These pockets of habitat will become living ecosystems for you to enjoy.
4. Add a Wildlife Pond
Removing a section of your lawn and installing a wildlife pond will create a soothing area for relaxation for you, a spot that is full of light and life, and a place that will attract birds, dragonflies and damselflies, frogs and toads, and so much more.
You will never again need TV because you’ll want to spend all of your time watching the endless parade of visitors to your wildlife pond.
5. Put People in Nature
When we create habitats where nature is welcome, we are not only providing for wildlife, we are giving a gift to ourselves. Spending time in nature is good for our own health, soothing our souls, providing relaxation, lowering our blood pressure, and connecting us to the natural world around us.
6. Your Ideas?
I’d love to hear about the ways you are reducing your lawns and creating more habitat for wildlife in your gardens.
Please share your ideas in the comments section below. I can’t wait to hear all about what you’re doing!
Carole Sevilla Brown lives in Philadelphia, PA, and she travels the country speaking about Ecosystem Gardening for Wildlife. Check out her new free online course Ecosystem Gardening Essentials, 15 free lessons delivered to your inbox every week.
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