Replace your lawn with native plants to save money, time and energy
In my work with homeowners to create the gardens of their dreams, I have been dealing with a lot of lawns that homeowners want me to find solutions for. I have been asked to remove weeds and mushrooms from my clients lawns, plant grass seeds and design solutions to make people’s lawns more useful and I have seen that it takes a lot of work and resources to take care of your lawn, a decent amount of space and large amounts of regular watering to keep a lawn looking good. All of which is completely unproductive and costly as my clients also regular hire lawn care companies and pay anywhere between $360 and $1200 a year on to have someone come in and take care of their lawns. I would like to propose a different solution for your front yard – plant native plants.
Yes a beautifully manicured and well kept lawn looks nice and lawns are a huge drain of time, energy and money to keep up and in the grand scheme of things are completely unproductive. So why do people have grass in their lawns? Keeping up with the Joneses is a factor as the homeowners that I have worked with feel a certain pressure to have beautifully manicured grass lawns so they can match their neighbors homes and look good. Here’s the kicker though, according to a NASA study, American lawns are the largest single crop in the U.S. (https://www.huffpost.com/entry/lawn-largest-crop-america_n_55d0dc06e4b07addcb43435d). This means that more eland is devoted to grass lawns than to food production, which is absurd.
Lawns also seem easy to take care of as all you need to do is mow them (or hire someone to mow them), water them and sit back and relax and there are a lot of hidden costs to taking care of your lawn. Lawnmowers are powered by gasoline, need fertilizer to grow (most of which is derived from gasoline or gasoline by products) and require huge amounts of water to maintain. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency determined that 9 billion gallons of water per day are used on lawns alone (https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/commentary/ct-stop-mowing-your-lawn-20150805-story.html). So why not divert your time and energy away from taking care of your lawn.
Well thankfully there is a solution, planting native plants has been shown to have be extremely beneficial in a number of ways. Native plants are uniquely adapted to the climate that you live in, which means that they will naturally grown in your environment without needing the copious amounts of water, the large amount of work and the investment that comes in maintaining your lawn. Native plant gardens comes with a whole host of other benefits, which includes increasing biodiversity in your region, creating bird, butterfly and pollinator habitats, conserve water and can remove carbon dioxide from the air and store the carbon dioxide that they take in (https://www.audubon.org/content/why-native-plants-matter).
Native plants stand out in your front yard and provide a stunning array of colors, species and many different types of habitats from shrubs, to flowers to trees and bushes. Many native plants are perennials that can live for decades with the proper care, can survive long winters and hot summers without extensive care, are often drought-resistant and even help eliminate weeds by growing in dense groupings (http://grownative.org/why-use-native-plants/).
When you think about it, native plants make a lot of sense for homeowners, schools and gardens. The benefits far outweigh the benefits of having a lawn and if you are not ready to fully give up your lawn, then you can devote a part of your lawn to native plants and still receive some of the benefits of native plants.
Michael Forman is the Founder of Pure Love Sustainability Inc. He works with homeowners to help create the gardens of their dreams, solve garden problems and teaches homeowners how to grow their own food in their backyard. Michael can help you to get rid of your yard and create a native plant garden that can provide all of these benefits. If you are interested in ditching your lawn and planting a native garden, submit a contact from on Pure Love Sustainability Inc’s website