Five Yards that Inspire You to Lose Your Lawn!

by Andrea Foster, Conservation Outreach Coordinator

Lawn care is tough. Maintenance is a pain, fertilizing is expensive, and constant watering takes a toll on not only your bank account, but your valuable time at home. The Little Forks Conservancy’s Conservation@Home and Conservation@Work programs both share a focus on getting rid of the turf grass – once and for all.

“Homeowners often ask me how to convert lawn space into something else that isn’t just grass,” said Andrea Foster, our Conservation Outreach Coordinator. “I think the trick is to plan what you want the space to look like and know what your neighbors will and won’t be upset about. While there will likely be a lot of initial maintenance to get started, the benefits will typically exceed the work you put in during those first few years.”

The images below each show wonderful examples of alternatives to turf grass. Check them out, and start thinking about how you can lose your lawn!

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This homeowner has done a wonderful job utilizing the natural areas of the back yard, and turned a mix of both native plants and hostas into a small wildlife haven. Keeping a natural forest feel that has a nice sense of place can be difficult, but edging and the addition of planters have greatly cut down on the amount of mowed space.

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This home has had lawn space converted into large gardens in both the front and back yards. With great care taken to add decorative touches and make sure the pollinators are also happy, you can see that gardens of this size are no small feat.

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Gravel and mulch pathways are simple ways to give a more “wild” yard a very intentional feel. This is exactly what this homeowner intended, as they sought to have their own slice of the woods right in the middle of the city. Water features of any type will help attract wildlife and many forms of pollinators, which will help keep your wildflowers thriving.
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Rain gardens and native ground covers are excellent additions to a landscape. The vegetation helps soak up storm water runoff, and a rain garden will help direct the water away from a house and make the most of a low spot in the yard.

Adding seating areas with mulch or gravel underfoot make great entertainment spaces, and will give you a spot to relax and enjoy the cool summer breeze!

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The yard above is almost completely filled with native plants. This homeowner hired landscapers in 2009, and requested that only native plants be used. The results are stunning! With some time and care, you can turn a “boring” lawn into a beautiful garden.

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We’re very proud to certify all of these properties as Conservation@Home yards! If you live in the Midland, Gladwin or Clare counties of Michigan, your yard can be too! Contact Andrea Foster at 989-835-4886 or email afoster@littleforks.org today!

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