Lawn Replacement-Yea or Nay?
There's a lot of talk right now about lawn replacement. People all over the country are tearing out their lawns-at least part of them-and putting in groundcover gardens, perennial gardens, mulch, rocks, and hardscape. All of this to save time, money, water, and chemicals that are generally needed for lawn care. Ambiance
For or Against Lawn Replacement
I have to say that I'm partially convinced about partial lawn replacement, but not entirely convinced about entire lawn replacement. There are a number of reasons for my half-heartedness about this trend.
I live in an area where there are some water restrictions, but growing a lawn isn't an entire exercise in excess. If I lived in Southern California or Phoenix, I might feel differently. I'm right on board with residents in those areas jumping on the bandwagon. There's precious little fresh water to go around out there, and lawn irrigation isn't necessarily the best use of it.
Because I live in an area where lawns are the norm, I would be very nervous about selling my house if it had NO lawn area. I'd have to work pretty hard to find people who were gardeners, through and through. Right now, in this economy, I'm not sure that's the best idea-although one of my friends sold her suburban DC home where she had replaced her entire lawn with no problem. She also had a pretty small lawn.
Replacing the lawn can be expensive. I don't do a whole lot of extra lawn maintenance beyond the regular weed control, fertilizer, and mowing, so lawn maintenance isn't too expensive for me. Digging up the entire lawn and planting groundcovers or perennials? That wouldn't be cheap. Besides, there's not just the plants, there's the soil prep, the mulch, the time. Yes, it is a mostly one-time expense, but a gigantic one-time expense.
Lastly, I don't have kids now, but I might, and I want some area for them to play!
I have Some Experience With This
I didn't start out to replace half my lawn. We started with a new little flower bed around the front sidewalk that expanded to encompass half of the front yard. The first year, we planted some perennials, shrubs, and mostly annuals. The next year, we added more perennials. To keep this area weeded, mulched, and planted costs a few thousand dollars a year. We're almost through completely filling it with perennials, but it has taken five years and quite a bit of money!
My parents had to actually move when I went to college because there was nobody to take care of all of the flowerbeds, so lawn-replacement as work-replacement isn't exactly the full story.
Gradual or Partial Lawn Replacement
Probably the best move for people who want to cut back somewhat on their lawn without sacrificing a green spot in their yard is to do partial lawn replacement. Plant some of your lawn with groundcovers or a garden, and leave some of it planted with turf. That gives you the best of both worlds at half the price!