• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

permies vs. lawns?  RSS feed

 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 21477
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have a pile of magazines that have finally popped up after the move.  In most of these, I have pages marked with a yellow sticky note.

So I grab one and open it to a sticky.

And now my dander is up.

"There's no two ways about it.  A good lawn means a bad ecosystem.  Period."


Is it just me, or does it seem like when somebody uses the word "period" this way, a big red flag pops up. 

I am so weary of hearing this sentiment.  A lawn facilitates potlucks, yard sales, picnics and a place to hang out outside.  A place for children to play and a place where even adults sometimes play.  A lawn can be loaded with polyculture and edibles.  You don't have to do it "their way".

Granted, I think there are a lot of folks with freakishly massive lawns that I would prefer to see some permaculture food forests.

This is from "permaculture activist magazine".  Maybe they are hurting for contributors? 



 
Jami McBride
gardener
Posts: 1948
Location: PNW Oregon
25
books chicken duck food preservation forest garden hugelkultur trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
It's all relative isn't it....

A good lawn to me is diversified, hosting many verities of grasses and herbs, with dense growth so it can withstand traffic, high foraging and animal/people weight.  This lawn would hosts pic nics and animals alike with ease.

I would guess that article is referring to a good 'modern' lawn.  I would say - many things achieved with modern methods will run counter to permaculture's sustainability goals.

I think their statement is too general.  They should have added 'typical' or 'modern' in front of lawn.  I can see why it got your hackles up - why don't you write the editor?  Maybe they will let you write an article/opinion and you can put a link to permies.com in it 

 
Jennifer Smith
Posts: 714
Location: Zone 5
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
As a "lawn" is where horses graze I am all for lots of healthy lawn.  Any green living thing beats paved over or bare ground...I can find several arguments in favor of lawns.... Period
 
                        
Posts: 122
Location: sub-tropics downunder
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
g'day paul,

a good lawn to us is a conglomeration of green stuff with roots in the dirt and foliage on top that needs mowing every so often, it is drought hardy has to be as what is called the lawn part of our yard get no pampering outside mowing and brushcutting. it has 2 basic colours brown in the drought and green in the wet and shades in between..

but by and large those around the most who pamper weed n feed etc etc this special grass that only ever looks lush green are wasting resources least of which is wasting good water. yep the grandkids play on it when ever they are here.

we would be saying take those magazines lay them on a patch of lawn add some organic matter and grow a garden more resource efficient.

won't use that period word i like to leave what i say open ended for others to tag along.

len
 
Charlie Michaels
Posts: 124
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Well if you think about the quote in context of nature, yea, he's right. Lawn is the lowest level of ecological succession. But in the grand context of the whole community, lawns are perfect places for humans to do their... humanizing. And without people connecting as a community, or a family, the grander benefits are permaculture are much less. Just like in nature; the more interconnections, the better.
 
                                      
Posts: 172
Location: Amsterdam, the netherlands
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
hmmm interesting...

Have you guys seen the global gardener vids. i guess its the one about urban permaculture where bill is standing in front of this energy efficient house with a huge lawn in front. Starting the episode with the words: "even though he has a lawn he is still my friend" 
it cracks me up everytime...

First of all we should establish a good definition of 'lawn', any grass-land or, typical monospecies, constantly irrigated and mown lawn?

As for the latter it seems very hard to maintain this type of grasland in a sustainable way, if even for the ammounts of labor and water that need to be invested. But it depends on your climate and soil. in the northern parts of england it seems to be evergreen pasture wherever you look.

Second we cant overlook the fact as is mentioned by mrchuck, in most parts of the world the climax-state of nature is forest, and grassland is the first stage of pioneers settling, and accumulating fertility. after that naturally spikey schrubs will follow, which in their turn allow little trees to settle. Maintaining a grass-land will mean that you want to stagnate natural succession which can mean a lot of work. unless when you have livestock doing this for you by grazing and trampling, or when you need the grasses for mulching purposses.

Then the grassland just makes out a part of your system. I would actually think that it is quite hard to make a permaculture desigh with no grassland, for livestock or mulch...
But than again, thats grass-land, with other herbecaous plants growing in it, and maybe even food-yielding produce like parsnip and wild carrots.

So if you mean 'lawn' as in the first defimonospecies, cut down evergreen stuff, yes i would say that the circumstances have to be quite ideal to maintain a lawn sustainnably, unless you want to mow it between 7 and 20 times a year (by hand, because your sun is HDD sensitive), and constantly sprinkle it, (because you dont know what to do with all that stored rainwater?)

But than again, to have the yield you mentioned earlier, kids playing on it, picknicking, gathering edibles after picking etc. it doesn need to be exactly 2 inches high and green all-year... does it?
 
Leah Sattler
Posts: 2603
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I think people shouldn't view their lawns as possible ecosystems so much as just outdoor living space. that clears up alot of the confusion. I guess as far as ecosystems go my living room is a pretty bad ecosystem too. but that is not its use or priority and same goes for a lawn. of course you can have more or less "earth friendly" lawns and living rooms. but to make a statement such as that magazine did is deceptive because it starts out with the wrong premise. its extreme and in a way.....dishonest

its like saying in arrogant outrage that a car is a terrible airplane.
 
Jennifer Smith
Posts: 714
Location: Zone 5
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thank you for that Leah.  I often say how my hubby doesn't understand right off, well you just explained his side in a way for me to see. 

I can see how someone thinks a certain way for a long time and then here I come move horses into the living room and think I am right abou it. 

Now it is a pond in the actual livingroom... he is not sold yet but has not said no.

Funny how we all think people think like we do, till we find they don't.
 
Kathleen Sanderson
Posts: 985
Location: Near Klamath Falls, Oregon
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Joop said this:  "But than again, to have the yield you mentioned earlier, kids playing on it, picknicking, gathering edibles after picking etc. it doesn need to be exactly 2 inches high and green all-year... does it?"

You are right -- I grew up without lawns mostly (we only had a small one in one place we lived).  We usually had bare dirt and tall weeds, LOL!  (We did NOT live in a subdivision!)  As kids, we played quite happily in that environment, and to this day, neatly manicured lawns seem a bit like a foreign environment to me.  Even the one place where we did have a lawn, that wasn't usually where we played.  We played in the cow pastures and woods that surrounded us; it was a much richer and more interesting environment.

The problem people run into is local rules and regulations, either city or Home Owner Association, which require that manicured lawn of a certain height.  I guess some people like to live in that kind of an environment, but it sure wouldn't suit me!

Kathleen 
 
                                      
Posts: 172
Location: Amsterdam, the netherlands
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
OK fair enough,
if you want your lawn just to be a lawn.
and your hubby likes mowing (can be therapeutically according to some).
and you have no water scarcity, so don't mind sprinkling it all the time.

thats fine.

What the topic starter intended is, as far as I understand it, to discuss how permacultural, or sustainable, a lawn (or grassland?) can be.

Looking at a lawn from a permaculture point of view i see several things:
- (unnecessary) use of lots of water
- a lot of (unnecessary) work
- monoculture, and the lack of biodiversity
- the possibility to grow more edibles.

All of this COULD (if your up for that) be changed in a system that is divers, produces edibles, and makes up an ecosystem or is part of an ecosystem, without loosing other functions a lawn can have...

For me, if doing permaculture, i would always try to make every element be part of your systems. also a house, a house generally doesn't make out an eco system but i don't see why a house cannot be part of a working ecosystem. it can harvest water, sustain warmth, etc. etc. but even the primary function of a house: shelter, is a function ecosystems  provide for their inhabitants...

post edit:
The problem people run into is local rules and regulations, either city or Home Owner Association, which require that manicured lawn of a certain height.

no way, people can tell you what to do or not on your own property?
i would have never expected that from the land of the free (o wait, i dont know where youre from, i am automatically assuming that everyone here is from the states, since most people here are, just as most of the people at that other pc forum are aussies)
 
rose macaskie
Posts: 2134
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Paul wheaton i know o f a strange american with a beard is he maybe quite tall, who wrote a paper on how to grow lawns in a less damaging way than that in which lawns are usually grown . It was an interesting paper and as it will be hard to convince all the lawn growers to give up a sensible way of lessening the damage lawns occasion.
In the meditereanean lawns need watering all summer that seems wrong to me. i let my grass dry and relive in autumn. agri rose macaskie.


   
 
Jami McBride
gardener
Posts: 1948
Location: PNW Oregon
25
books chicken duck food preservation forest garden hugelkultur trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Joop Corbin - swomp wrote:

All of this COULD (if your up for that) be changed in a system that is divers, produces edibles, and makes up an ecosystem or is part of an ecosystem, without loosing other functions a lawn can have...

For me, if doing permaculture, i would always try to make every element be part of your systems. also a house, a house generally doesn't make out an eco system but i don't see why a house cannot be part of a working ecosystem. it can harvest water, sustain warmth, etc. etc. but even the primary function of a house: shelter, is a function ecosystems  provide for their inhabitants...



Yes, this was my take on it too. 

Thinking.... how can I redeem my 'lawn' area, not loose it, not judge it for what it is, but reclaim it for what it can be.  Let's face it not all 'lawns' are equal nor created and maintained equally.  The article appears to be judging the most modern of manicured lawns and saying it's a poor ecosystem - No Duh.  The article also implies - that any lawn would be the same - Not true, as discussed here. 

 
Kathleen Sanderson
Posts: 985
Location: Near Klamath Falls, Oregon
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Oh, Joop, if only you knew!  Yes, I live in the United States, but unfortunately most of our freedoms are long gone.  We are regulated up one side and down the other in many areas.  Some areas are more free than that, but generally only if they are quite remote, and sometimes not even then.  Most towns and cities have lawn ordinances which require the grass to be cut regularly, sometimes to a specific height.  Home Owner Associations (HOA's) commonly have rules about EVERYTHING, including what color you can paint your house, won't let you park your car outside the garage or keep an RV or a boat at your home, regulate whether or not you have have fences and what kind and how high, regulate whether or not you can fly a flag or have lawn decor -- it totally amazes me that anyone would choose to live in one of these places, but many do.  I guess they like living in a ticky-tacky box with more ticky-tacky boxes all around them (anyone else remember that old song?!?).

Kathleen
 
jeremiah bailey
Posts: 343
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Paul, I would invite and welcome the author of that statement to peruse this site. Perhaps their eyes could be opened to a new form of lawn?
 
                    
Posts: 0
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
We played in the cow pastures and woods that surrounded us; it was a much richer and more interesting environment.


I lived in a different house just about every year of my life til I was 9, and there were places with lawns and suburban yards (usually also a big garden thanks to my mom), and places that were a spittin image of the above quote.  Both were fun, but I had waaay more interesting times catching frogs and building stick forts in the more rural situations we lived in (built one of our homes mostly all the way ourselves actually). 

How one mows a lawn should be a big point in this discussion.  From peoplepoweredmachines.com:

"Each weekend, about 54 million Americans mow their lawns, using 800 million gallons of gas per year and producing tons of air pollutants. Garden equipment engines, which have had unregulated emissions until very recently, emit high levels of carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides, producing up to 5% of the nation's air pollution and a good deal more in metropolitan areas.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a traditional gas powered lawn mower produces as much air pollution as 43 new cars each being driven 12,000 miles. "

Not an altogether obscure statistic, but worth repeating. 

Now, if you use some other method of lawn mowing, say
a scythe (it's fabulous exercise, mental meditation, and you only need to buy one for yourself and your great-grandchildren if you treat it properly),
or animals (as mentioned in the post below - awesome example of lawn!)
and use a grass variety that is suited to your climate and rainfall,
and it's surrounded on all sides by a veggie garden,
and maybe even a nice shade tree that makes fruit or nuts is planted in the middle of it
and it's a really nice place for people to enjoy each other in.....
then it's just fine from my permie perspective! 
 
                      
Posts: 36
Location: Snohomish, WA
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I agree with Jamie, "A good lawn to me is diversified, hosting many verities of grasses and herbs, with dense growth so it can withstand traffic, high foraging and animal/people weight.  This lawn would hosts picnics  and animals alike with ease. I would guess that article is referring to a good 'modern' lawn.  I would say - many things achieved with modern methods will run counter to permaculture's sustainability goals.  I think their statement is too general.  They should have added 'typical' or 'modern' in front of lawn."

We have a little lawn space that is mixed herbs,clover fescue, flowers etc... We own a push mower but never bother since the we move a little chicken tractor and a rabbit tractor around it. This is a nice place to take a rest, play with the kids, have a picnic, roll around, etc... We gather for sing-a-longs and other community things on this small patch. It brings us joy, entertainment, animal forage and beauty. I thinks it's all a balance of what and how much.
 
rose macaskie
Posts: 2134
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I saw sycthed felids in Yugoslavia when i was fifteen, fourty years ago and they were beautifull, there was even a person playing a pipe somewhere Yugoslavia the muslem bit had quite a lot fo magical things to see. we drove to Greece for holidays and saw other countries on the way. Now those Muslims may be dead killed by the Serbs who are orthdox i believe it is not that people fight for religions it is that they seldom know any good of people of other religions and then they kill them to save them from their bad religions, the islamic people are killing the christians in Darfor now and they got killed by christian in Yugoslavia. rose macaskie.
 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 21477
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Yup, my lawn care article spells out my position.

- (unnecessary) use of lots of water
- a lot of (unnecessary) work
- monoculture, and the lack of biodiversity


A lot of folks have a lawn and use zero water.  Grass goes dormant in the summer.

Work can be reduced by a factor of ten (depening on a lot of things). 

We have a whole thread dedicated to a diverse lawn:  lots and lots of different things growing with the grass.

I agree that lots of lawns are damn scary.  But, it is my opinion that it is generally the whole lot that is scary.  The obvious use of herbicides plus the freakish lack of edibles. 

I think "chem lawn" is scary.  A lawn is not.

 
larry korn
Author
Posts: 118
Location: Ashland, Oregon
25
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Good lively discussion!  There are some things you can only do on a lawn.  Kids, particularly, love to play barefoot on a lawn.  However there are lawns and there are BIG lawns that use way too much water and chemicals.  Chemical free and minimum water lawns are really not that difficult to maintain especially if you can tolerate some clover, crabgrass, dandelions and other "imperfections."  Fukuoka called lawns "artificial green," because they covered what nature would naturally be doing there if it weren't covered with "green concrete" (another of his terms for lawn).

To show how people's idea of lawns has changed, the garden center I used to work at in Berkeley, CA, discourages customers from installing big lawns.  Recently I heard a customer ask the owner of that store, "What can I do to get rid of the crabgrass in my lawn?"  The owner, Paul, replied, "Instead of trying to get rid of it how about learning to love it?"
 
rose macaskie
Posts: 2134
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
After trying to love frankly agressive people for years, i had that one thrown at me. th eanswer is ot olve them it seems so hard to credit others wiht any moral stature that that my problem had been trying to love the agressibvve did not occure to themonly they try to love.
  love th agressive is the sort of arguement that kept the poor poor for years, an dwomen patient with their husbands who ewre just common garden bullies not poor people who would come round with love .
if you love them they may die feelling tha human love is true but you will dyie feeling that life isnot worth it you wont want to be reincarnated again. an dthye will go on trying to get there.
      What about the french revolution that works.
      On the other hand it is fair to say that without absolutely playng into their hands, try not to smash them to smitherines but you don't have to agree with them on everything keep them, a bit, in order and that is very hard, they are so good at it themselves or you would not be complaining.
    Another side of this is groups matter, you can't hope to change people much if your position is at the bottom of the group, ditch the crabs and try again at them when you have got a stronger position.

    Mind you if you don't practice grabbing fire brands you never will be in a betrter position, some of the nearest and dearest to you are likely to be fire brands. it will always be be whoops i just did do for you, ha ha.
    Strangley grabing firebrands does teach you to keep things at an even keel but it is a long and painfull method, i would rather people got lessons in bullying, just enough and not to much. the methods are complicated and a lot of it can be taught whatch Kill bill.     
    Beatrice the heroine of kill bill two a bvery verbal film th efirst part is all action and nearly no dialogue,gets verbally bullied the whole way through and does not get hardly a hit back she is only good at killing them phisically not at making them mentally uncomfortable. When does all the verbal sweating. Look at all the techniques and you will have learnt a lot. sweating.  Being nice and horrible all at once i sone such  the man who is about to abandon her for two years leave her in the hands of a mad assasine, and says he does not mind how long he goes without seeing her has lit a fire for her and is singing here a song . You play people soft and hard like bill does and they will often take a lot of shit, it confuses them.
    He does not give a damn when he willl see her again but he has got the rest of the people the couple know, thinking its her that plays with him. THat destroys her moral standing in the group and the others  have not even noticed how things really stand People believe what the most convincing llier tells them and the bullies always get their story in first that is part of the trick, he has done her down long before she has started trying ro harm him or has done him any circumstanciol harm that is me¡ade sdesisionthat he does not like but not because she wanted to hurt him. Hisi, brother seems to think she has always manipulated bill..
      Its always her supplicant to him, in every scene they are together- Seeign which person has to do the begging to the other, is a good way of judging who is getting the better of whom. Count the number of times you have seen the one and the other supplicant. then things don't get confused, your preconceptions don't get involved.. Its always him playing with her till the last scene at least.
      Bullying is complex, in kill bill you can see how complelx, what i have described is complex it involves knowing how far you can trick people like those who think it is beatrice who plays with bill.and how to trick them, thats a lot of know how.  Thats why its very hard to manage, and people who complain of crab grass may well need help and if you arent a person who is quick to make judgements overconfident in you abilities to observe and lazy about knowing people well you will help bill not beatrice. .

  Some say you should just be able to handle people. By which i mean keep them at bay, I don't mean getting them jumping through hoops, alternatively  i mean stopping them eating people up. With no aces in your hand, such  as back up from others, its stupid long and painfull doing anythign about it, know when to get the hell out.
      People will probably listen to you if you have back up without much pain and fight , if you are at the bottom of the pecking order, bullies they will be incredible agressive if you talk of behavior and not listen to you and it will take so very long to brign about a reduction in bullying and be so energy consuming that its silly.
      Pretty phrases are bullies main ally, their stock intrade.. They smash you and then say, it is healthy to learn to eat crab grass or that that way you will get tough and able, so take recieving patiently or say what a pussy you are to mind being smashed to peices and afraid of sarcasm and being wet, you will sit around to take more.
the whole philosophyu at the moment seems to be elike crab grass do things on your own and other arguements that increase bullying . Trust others. waht has happend has human nature chagesd wit is silly to say trust others.
    Do you lose arguement when you know the other used a trick to win was not right did you then you need the karate of arguements. Did you love thefilm the karate kid it is because you felt the need to be taught to put paid to bulllies.  rose macaskie..
 
Jennifer Smith
Posts: 714
Location: Zone 5
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
rose macaskie wrote:

"the sort of arguement that kept the poor poor for years, and women patient with their husbands who are just common garden bullies not poor people who would come round with love .
if you love them they may die feelling tha human love is true but you will dyie feeling that life is not worth it. you wont want to be reincarnated again. and thye will go on trying to get there. "

People believe what the most convincing llier tells them and the bullies always get their story in first that is part of the trick,


The quotes here are great and well worth repeating, but I am sure this is not the place. 
 
Chelle Lewis
Posts: 424
Location: Hartbeespoort, South Africa
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
paul wheaton wrote: A lawn facilitates potlucks, yard sales, picnics and a place to hang out outside.   A place for children to play and a place where even adults sometimes play.   A lawn can be loaded with polyculture and edibles.  You don't have to do it "their way".
I agree. I also thought about all this. I have seen lawns that are monster time-gobblers cos too large. I know someone that has a lawn so big that it takes 4 days to mow! Her hubby is retired and that is what he does... no thanks. That is just nuts to me. ...."Cos it looks nice." And what did you do with your day....? Week...? Month...? I think it looks rather bare and uninteresting anyway. But his choice and happy with it.

But I want lawn in places... and I have lawn in selected places. A low-growing, slow-growing piece of green that looks fabulous in summer when the rains come and goes dormant in winter...  about 3 months of the year. I only have to mow it about once a month and it only takes an afternoon. I have some pennyroyal working its way between too and will leave that... I don't mow too low....it repels mosquitoes when it is walked on and the fragrance released..... nice fragrance too. Very low-maintenance and I never use anything chemical anywhere. 

I have it where I do not want food forest.... or veges... just ... hello... welcome... come sit and enjoy these beautiful flowers and fragrant scents.  I still think it is Permaculture..  ...  Permaculture is what we want from the plants... isn't it? Relationship dynamics fit with this. It would be a weed bed if not lawn...  And though I love weeds for what they bring, I do not want them where I want spread out space to sit with familly. Balance.

I like that idea of introducing edibles... never thought of that .... is nice to have more than one use for anything..... but what would be low-growing enough to count as lawn? But even without... I wouldn't give up all lawn. I would then be giving up outdoor living space that is conducive to fun times outdoors. Usually much nicer than indoors.

Chelle
 
Chelle Lewis
Posts: 424
Location: Hartbeespoort, South Africa
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
paul wheaton wrote:We have a whole thread dedicated to a diverse lawn:  lots and lots of different things growing with the grass.
That sounds good reading.... Where would I find that?

Chelle
 
Chelle Lewis
Posts: 424
Location: Hartbeespoort, South Africa
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Found it....

http://www.permies.com/bb/index.php?topic=1760.0
 
Jennifer Smith
Posts: 714
Location: Zone 5
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Lots and lots of stuff at
http://www.permies.com/permaculture-forums/3.0
 
Chelle Lewis
Posts: 424
Location: Hartbeespoort, South Africa
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks  Jennifer 

I am noticing... lots of stuff on everything! Months of reading... and most is worth reading. It really is impressive. A growing resource.

Chelle
 
Jennifer Smith
Posts: 714
Location: Zone 5
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
You are welcome.  A good place to start is

http://www.permies.com/permaculture-forums/1760_0/lawn-care/neat-stuff-you-can-grow-in-your-lawn
 
Chelle Lewis
Posts: 424
Location: Hartbeespoort, South Africa
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Very interesting thread. I think I would prefer 2 types of lawn now...

The one I have in certain places for outdoor relaxation space.... with low-growing LM grass ... and pennyroyal mixed in.. also very low growing and slow. Such low maintenance now .... that if I added anything that I read about it would increase maintenance.

And then another type of lawn for less used places but with stepping stones through.. say to a hammock... no walking on... so can harvest herbs and enjoy the flowers when lying on the hammock or swing-chair.

Really neat thread. Got me really thinking.... I know just the place to do it. Wish I could be 4 people with all I want to do!

Chelle
 
Jennifer Smith
Posts: 714
Location: Zone 5
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
One of thr things that gets me about most lawns is the mowing.  I have a no mow rule.  I have to think sometimes "what will graze this area and not damane..."  Not just horses but rabbits, geese, and mini horses, all may have a place on my place as mowers. 

Can anyone else add to the list of possable mowers? 
 
jeremiah bailey
Posts: 343
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
How about putting some yummy people food in there and help with the "grazing"? Dandelion is a first thought.
 
larry korn
Author
Posts: 118
Location: Ashland, Oregon
25
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
How about a lawn substitute like chamomile or thyme?
 
Jennifer Smith
Posts: 714
Location: Zone 5
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I try to automate all I can as I only have so much I can do in a day/week/year. 

I do not want my husband to spend his retirement on thoughtless repetitive tasks.

Even I can only graze horses so many places.  I need to have a yard for my dogs to do their thing, chase toys etc...  I am thinking of using that space for fruit trees too amd have about settled on rabbits to mow.  Geese would be way too nasty to share a yard with dog. 
 
                              
Posts: 461
Location: Inland Central Florida, USA
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Ya know what "lawns" were originally?  They were grassy areas for rich people to enjoy.  They were not meant as pastures.  If your lawn is a pasture then I see it as a fine thing.  If your lawn doesn't require mowing, constant watering, constant fertilizing, constant herbicides to keep it to the one type of grass or constant pesticides, then it seems fine to me.  It should have a use or purpose other than simply being looked at out the window.

However

Where I live, most "lawns" are horrible chemical things that gobble water, fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides.  Even then not many people really spend much time sitting or playing in the grass since the ants tend to survive most of the pesticides and you wouldn't want your kids playing on such a chemical soaked surface anyway.  And the really sad thing, most of the HOA's around here require people to keep their lawns in such a manicured chemical soaked fashion and would probably kick up a real fuss if you were to try and grow anything that might be organic or edible.

I have some areas of grassy weeds that I've been keeping in check with chickens.  I think it has been almost a year since we had to start the mower and then it was simply to mow down the weeds out near the road and along the edges of the property where we couldn't really run the chickens easily.  Unfortunately, around here, once an area has been cleared, it is expected to be kept cleared for "public safety."  Sigh.
 
Jennifer Smith
Posts: 714
Location: Zone 5
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
A horse pasture is typically made up of two kinds of areas, the lawn where the horses graze and the rough where they eliminate.  That is what I think of as "lawn".  I realize this is not the norm.  Sometimes I can be too literal and way too horse oriented.
 
Joel Hollingsworth
pollinator
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
There's something to be said for a lawn with lots of clover and wildflowers, and maybe some big, clumping annual grasses that you only mow once or twice a year.

If you timed it right, and chose your species carefully, you could get a serious mass of seeds from a lawn like that.

 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 21477
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
How about an all yarrow lawn?  I've seen one - it was lovely on the bare toes.

Or an all moss lawn - I've seen that before too. 

My aunt and uncle lived in Kenya for a while.  They hired a local boy to mow their lawn.  The boy was confused - that's really nice grass and you want to feed it to a machine?  Why not bring in a goat?

My aunt and uncle finally convinced the boy to just do it.  So they got the mower started and the boy started to mow the lawn.

My aunt and uncle came back a little later to see how things were going.

Well ....  as americans we just assume that folks will mow in an optimal pattern.  The boy was mowing in a zig zaggy crazy random pattern.  I suppose the same pattern that a goat would use. 

 
                              
Posts: 461
Location: Inland Central Florida, USA
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
paul wheaton wrote:

Well ....  as americans we just assume that folks will mow in an optimal pattern.  The boy was mowing in a zig zaggy crazy random pattern.  I suppose the same pattern that a goat would use. 




LOL, well I guess if you are going to do something as crazy as feed grass to a machine , why would you worry about being efficient about it?
 
larry korn
Author
Posts: 118
Location: Ashland, Oregon
25
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Sunset Western Garden Book has a list of lawn substitutes.  Some of the ones I remember are various species of thyme, chamomile, yarrow, lippia, adjuga, dichondra (ouch!), erodium, knotweed, Irish moss and ornamental strawberry.
 
                      
Posts: 36
Location: Snohomish, WA
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

How about an all yarrow lawn?  I've seen one - it was lovely on the bare toes.

Or an all moss lawn - I've seen that before too. 


Even in planting a lawn, I wouldn't want to plant a polyculture. How about a fescue, yarrow, clover mix? These will all support each other and still be lovely on the toes.
 
                              
Posts: 461
Location: Inland Central Florida, USA
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
permie mama wrote:
Even in planting a lawn, I wouldn't want to plant a polyculture. How about a fescue, yarrow, clover mix? These will all support each other and still be lovely on the toes.


Looks to me like you mis-spoke here.  Don't you mean to say you would want to plant a polyculture?  Seeing as a fescue, yarrow, clover mix would be a polyculture rather than a monoculture.
 
And then we all jump out and yell "surprise! we got you this tiny ad!"
Learn, Design, Teach, & Inspire with Permaculture games.
FoodForestCardGame.com
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!