Yesterday I was invited to participate in the Anti-Valentine Lawn Project, and I wrote a Love Letter to Wildlife, talking about how each of us could create a love letter to wildlife in our gardens by reducing or eliminating our lawns and adding welcoming habitat for the birds, butterflies and other critters to share our spaces with.
The Anti-Valentine Lawn Project was a virtual blog tour to celebrate the release of Evelyn Hadden’s new book Beautiful No-Mow Yards: 50 Amazing Lawn Alternatives.
This book is full of wonderful ideas to have a beautiful garden without lawns. And the photography is amazing! As I page through this book I get so many ideas to add to my wildlife garden.
The American lawn care industry is a 32 billion dollar a year, profit making enterprise. This industry maintains these huge profits because they have convinced us that we are less than perfect neighbors if our lawns are not as green or weed-free as are the lawns of our neighbors.
But we as wildlife gardeners know that a lawn provides very little habitat for wildlife, and the resources it takes to maintain this state of green perfection is not at all sustainable.
So what can we do to replace our lawns? I have several ideas, some of which Evelyn Hadden beautifully illustrates in her book Beautiful No-Mow Yards:
Install a Wildlife Pond
You can eliminate some of your lawn by installing a wildlife pond where you’ll attract Dragonflies and Damselflies, frogs and toads, and so much wonderful wildlife that you won’t need tv anymore. Just pull up a chair and watch all of the amazing things that will be happening in your pond.
Plant a Wildflower Meadow
Native grasses and wildflowers are a much better use of lawn area. You’ll be attracting butterflies, native bees and other pollinators, birds, and so many other critters. A native meadow helps to reduce stormwater runoff from your property in addition to creating something beautiful for you to enjoy.
Create a Rain Garden
Instead of struggling with those areas of your yard that seem to collect water every time it rains, why not plant a rain garden? A rain garden is a beautiful addition to any garden, and lawns don’t like those wet areas anyway. Rain gardens attract pollinators and butterflies, allow the rainwater to seep slowly into the ground instead of running off and flooding streets and eroding streambanks, and provide you with a gorgeous area of your garden.
These are just three ideas that I share with Evelyn Hadden about ways to get rid of your lawn, and there are so many more that we could discuss and that are illustrated in Beautiful No-Mow Yards, but my question for you is, how are you getting rid of your lawn? What have you added to your wildlife garden to reduce the amount of lawn in your garden?
We’d love to hear your ideas, too. Please tell us all about it in the comments below!
This post is one of a group of Valentine’s Day Tributes to Lawn Alternatives by different garden writers. Visit them all:
- “A Love Letter to Wildlife” – Carole Sevilla Brown: Ecosystem Gardening
- “Lawn Anti-Valentine” – Susan Harris: GardenRant
- “Dear Lawn, I’m Breaking Up With You” – Heather Holm: Restoring the Landscape with Native Plants
- “Book Review: Beautiful No-Mow Yards“ – Susan Morrison: Blue Planet Garden Blog
- “Just Say NO: 5 Ways to Break Up With Your Lawn” – Debbie Roberts: A Garden of Possibilities
- “Landscapes That Love Us Back” – Evelyn Hadden: Lawn Reform Coalition
- “Love Letters to Lawns” (coming Thursday) – Saxon Holt: Gardening Gone Wild
- “Feature: Beautiful No-Mow Yards“ – Timber Press Talks
I’m so thrilled that working on this project has distracted me from my very cold house!
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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