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grow neat stuff in your lawn

 
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I have three species of Chelone and Campanula in my garden. They grow best in a sunny bog and flower(white,pink,reddish-purple) very late in then season when most plants are considering going dormant for the fall.
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Just Googling looking for ideas on how to do away with a lawn or at least, get a better return for all the effort put into maintaining one.

Not surprised there was a thread here.

I was a bit surprised that dandelions weren't brought up more often as a food source, not many Mediterraneans on the site?

The young leaves are boiled to make a dish called horta which has many alleged benefits, I bought a pack of seeds and spread them around but you need to pick lots of leaves for a decent side dish.

I also dug some saffron crocus bulbs into the ground but although they came up they didn't flower, maybe next year...

Hoping to eliminate as much lawn as possible though, even if you can grow edibles in it I don't like bending over to pick them.
 
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Location: De Cymru (West Wales, UK)
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I lead a herb walk at my cousin's house, almost entirely on the lawn! he mows sort of medium - higher than a conventional lawn but not as high as is recommended on here. There was yarrow, chamomile, plantain, dandelion, as well as ladies' mantle and self-heal which are fantastic and under-used medicinal herbs and seemed to do ok with mowing - the leaves and flowers were smaller than normal but seemed healthy. Oh, and wild sorrel.
 
pollinator
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Location: zone 6b
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Wild violets do very well in a mowed lawn. I've got a yarrow patch in mine that has survived countless mowings. If the soil is moist mint may be able to grow there - we've had it grow out from where it belonged into the lawn and I loved mowing that area because of the minty smell! Grape hyacinth will grow in the lawn and spread as long as you can let the leaves grow - in areas where they're nearly done before the grass puts on much growth (depends on the climate and grass type, I guess). Sorrel is another lawn survivor that is edible, I remember as a kid eating sorrel leaves out of the lawn. The wood sorrel has nice little flowers, too.
 
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Location: Yambol, Bulgaria
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Mint- medicinal and food (it takes a LOT more than a lawn mower to get rid of mint- be careful, invasive!)
Horehound - medicinal (related to mint), had flowers.
Purslane - food (grows below the 3" line and is durable enough to be walked on), small yellow flowers
Dandelion - food, bees.
 
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I'd love to have a whole lawn of moss.
So cool and soft and no itchy bugs.

Also a lawn of all lambs ear would be great to roll around in (without the spikes)

My actual idea is California poppy though.
It's a grower and soft. Also medicinal.
(My first tincture started two months ago)
 
steward
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Location: Carnation, WA (Western Washington State / Cascadia / Pacific NW)
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Thought I'd post these pics of the polyculture lawn at Caras Park in Missoula, Montana. These pics show yarrow, clover, and grasses, though it also had plantain and dandelions.





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Caras Park polyculture lawn
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Caras Park polyculture lawn closer
 
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Location: Seattle, WA
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All the edible weeds, plus a little bit of grass (also edible): clover, dandelion, catsear, sheep sorrel, nipplewort, common mallow, creeping woodsorrel (Oxalis corniculata), shotweed, chickweed, deadnettle. A few medicinals too - feverfew, yarrow.
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Location: Carnation, WA (Western Washington State / Cascadia / Pacific NW)
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Melany Vorass wrote:All the edible weeds, plus a little bit of grass (also edible): clover, dandelion, catsear, sheep sorrel, nipplewort, common mallow, creeping woodsorrel (Oxalis corniculata), shotweed, chickweed, deadnettle. A few medicinals too - feverfew, yarrow.



Have any pictures, Melany?
 
Melany Vorass
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This is what I think of when I hear the words "a well kept lawn."
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Melany Vorass
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... and if you call it an 'intentional garden' as I do, you can get by with really growing your lawn out!
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Jocelyn Campbell
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Lush foodie things--nice! I love those pics, Melany!
 
pollinator
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Location: northern northern california
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love the "well kept lawn" !

i have never ever mowed a lawn. =)

occasionally i have clipped the plants down, but usually only for the mulch and not for whatever other reasons people mow. actually it seems awfully odd to me, to have a need and custom of cutting all plants/grasses to exactly same height! but then again most people think i am odd, so i guess we are even!

some stuff i have grown, had volunteer, and planted for lawn ish areas that get cut for mulch or harvested for use- small leaf mint (i think its corsican mint), lemon balm, viola, various flax, wild onions- we have these three cornered leeks and others here, chicory, clovers, chamomile, bird's foot trefoil, thyme, sheep sorrel, wild strawberry, pineapple weed (actually likes being walked on weirdly!)....i'm quite sure theres many more but thats all i can think of...
 
Posts: 1947
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
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My lawn has white clover, sheep sorrel, dandelion, wild strawberry, yarrow, thyme, chamomile, gill-over-the-ground and both broad and narrow leafed plantain that get walked on a lot. Around the less trampled bits there are some lovely red clovers and common mallows. We eat all of those.
The different parts of the lawn have different soil/moisture/light and thus these plants are not scattered evenly throughout but concentrated in their best areas.

I used to always have johnny jump ups in my lawns but since I moved here about 5 years ago I have only been able to find hybrid ones that don't come back/self seed.
 
Posts: 53
Location: Bulgaria, Zone 7/8
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I think some of the following might be really good candidates, I'm looking forward to trying a bunch of them myself this coming year.

In the back field I've got fruit trees and I want to kind of do meadow in between stuff. All the following can be cut down and will mostly come back or reseed, the main part I will be "mowing" or scything is the paths, and I'm considering just making a small chicken tractor to just move along the path to keep it more manageable. It will be an experiment.

I'm not totally sure about cutting down the lupines, but they are just so incredibly beautiful that I do want to include them.

CORN FLOWER -
medicinal and tea
annual, reseeds itself
info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cornflower

LADIES BEDSTRAW
has several uses
Perennial
info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galium_verum

COSMOS
bees love them
Annual, reseeds itself easily

FEVERFEW - picture: http://www.herbal-supplement-resource.com/images/feverfew_tanacetum_parthenium_img
medicinal
perennial
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feverfew
there are some double varieties of this that are really pretty and they are perennial. the foliage is also nice, very lime greenish.

POPPIES
edible and medicinal
some are annual, some biennial

BUCKWHEAT
edible, bee plant, great chop and drop, cute white flowers, doesn't last long, will reseed

RUPTURE WORT (Herniaria Glabra) - really nice thick, growing mat of green, tolerates foot traffic.
Picture: http://www.perennialmarketplace.com/_ccLib/image/plants/DETA-2422.jpg
Medicinal

LUPINES
http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/736x/2d/6e/ca/2d6ecae81938bc0ed71447f24caf4a22.jpg
http://imgc.allpostersimages.com/images/P-473-488-90/27/2745/KYDTD00Z/posters/jamie-judy-wild-balsam-root-meadow-with-lupine-columbia-river-gorge-oregon-usa.jpg
http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/736x/2f/02/e4/2f02e4605cfee822e3226f2fa4d35ca5.jpg
http://gossipinthegarden.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/DSC_0070-2-340x227.jpg


PURPLE PRAIRIE CLOVER, little clumps, looks nice
Picture: http://carlakeast.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/purple-prairie-clover.jpg
edible/medicinal
perennial
little red flower

GERMAN CHAMOMILE - keep picking the flower heads and it will continue to bloom, and the heads are used for tea
annual, reseeds itself

SPRING CARPET ( ‪Anacyclus pyrethrum‬)
Picture: http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3526/3980694122_ca6be5301d_z.jpg
medicinal
perennial
drought tolerant

PURPLE PLANTAIN
medicinal
perennial
Picture: http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/95/94/1b/95941be453ea21d3b77f975d8d4dba32.jpg
(mine are an even deeper rich purple)

PURSLANE - low growing plant, you can walk on it, spreads out
Picture: http://lebanesegarlicsauce.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/purslane_fm.jpg
Edible and incredibly nutritious
annual

There are some incredibly beautiful MILLETS:
Picture: Foxtail Millet: http://www.forestryimages.org/images/768x512/5363653.jpg
Picture : pennisetum-fountain grass: http://www.plant-biology.com/Ornamental-millet.jpg
Picture: pearl millet http://thealternative.in/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/pearl-millet-2.jpg

GOLDENROD
medicinal

WHITE VALERIAN
Medicinal

 
master steward
Posts: 32708
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
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A few years ago I was asked to speak on "alternatives to lawn" and I asked "you mean something that you can walk/play on, but it might produce food, herbs and flowers?" And they responded with something like "why can't you ever just answer the question?" So I think they mean tearing out the lawn to grow a garden instead - and their frustration is because the ideas in this thread are just a little too foreign.
 
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So many wonderful suggestions!
Here are a few more to think about.
Consider adding a small amount of alfalfa, it is a forage legume, or partridge pea. Both fix nitrogen and enrich the soil.
In low meadows butterfly weed, asters, and Canada milk vetch add diversity. Also New Jersey Tea, coreopsis and goldenrod.
Seneca Meadows is a sight that has been restored with native warm season prairie in Savannah NY. I'm on the Board of Audubon NY and was there a few weeks ago because it was designated an Important Bird Area. These are tall grasses and flowers, not mowed except once or twice a year. They used Big and Little Blue stem, goldenrod, and even had a rare but native cup flower. Switchgrass and Indiangrass. Lots of Cattails in the wetland areas. Also milkweed and butterfly weed.

I also let cilantro, mint, chamomile, and oregano escape into my lawn. They aren't invasive, but aren't prolific either. I encourage the mint near my vegetable gardens or plants that I want to protect from pests.
 
Posts: 131
Location: Lemon Grove, CA
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I found this company, researching drought tolerant and step tolerant plants
http://www.stepables.com
My only problem is that the plants I think will work in San Diego with very low water requirement cannot be shipped to CA
 
Posts: 42
Location: Duluth, MN
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This is all great! Is anyone on this thread working in significantly drier climates? I am trying to find a durable drought and heat resistant placement for grass for a children's park and playground I am designing.

~Starr
 
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Location: Schoharie County, NY
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This is a lovely thread!

Has anyone had any lucky with planting something and having it spread to take over their lawn? (other than mint! I have enough of that haha)

I'm interested in having a no mow lawn but REALLY want to do it the lazy gardener way - plant it and let it go where it will. It's mainly that we don't want to spend the money on a lawn mower. I'd rather go and buy a scythe and cut the lawn every so often to feed to chickens.I've convinced hubby that clovers and tall fescue will be sown this spring while it's still too muddy to do anything and hopefully some lovely crocus will be added this fall for next spring.

Also...does Yarrow really bloom when it's cut down to around 4/5 inches? I've only seen yarrow as these HUGE things..and the idea of it being all short just makes me curious.
 
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Does anybody have any ideas for mixes to be used over a septic field that receives full sun in zone 9b?
 
Posts: 180
Location: Boise, Idaho (a balmy 7a)
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I over-seeded my 'lawns' with Rye, Buckwheat and Vernal Alfalfa two years ago. They alfalfa has done well at the edges, clumping into shrubby heights. The buckwheat just didn't get enough sun (my yard is well shaded with tree canopy).The rye looks like most of the other grasses, when I cut to 4 inches.

I was hoping to switch to scything at about 10" and growing the 'lawn' for goat feed supplement. Too many visitors thought I was stupid and lazy, so 4 inches it is.

The longer I let it stay at 4" inches the more crocus, hyacinth, and pansy i see coming in. My hope is to get to a deciduous forest floor of ground cover and not really have grass.

My experiment has lead to an interesting invasion of Siberian Elm that can withstand the cutting. I have one 'yard' it is now about 30% covered with elm. If my new cordless electric mower will mulch that I can catch, I don't think it matters to the goats. They eat all the mulch cutting I can catch and give them, even if it is chopped up elm. I have seen yarrow taking hold too.

Since I never acquired the taste for dandelions that my goats have, I still remove them from the lawn, but the goats are disappointed,since the taller grass chokes them out.

My lawn looks great from the street, but is pretty mixed when you get out into it, which no one seems to care about. No fertilizers or additives, just water and cut.
 
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I’m glad I found this post and I think it is time to resurrect it again.  I too have a lawn, a wide boulevard next to a school and beyond that a high rise condo building, that I wish to make more interesting!  Hell, I wish to make it survive!  But why not think big – I would like it to flourish, even thru the worst drought, either staying green or flowering or both, all without any watering or fertilizer.  And it may as well be a pollinator lawn as well as an eco lawn to cover as many bases as possible.   Since it is trampled daily by a horde of students, bicycles, dog walkers, and their “out for a bathroom break” dogs, I’m not adding a food/medicine option to my wish list.  Oh and just to make it harder, it has to grow in full sun, between pavement and concrete, on thin, poor soil with nothing but pure sand underneath…..

So, to take the traffic and not be a mud bath during cold rainy early springs, and to look like a lawn,  it has to start with grass.  So many tenacious weeds which could be or are O.K. nevertheless die off at the first frost and don’t re-emerge ‘till the following May.  This next growing season will be my third since I conceived of this vision and I have already learned quite a few things….

To begin with, I have replaced the 8 inch wheels of my mower with 10 inch wheels so I can mow the grass higher.  This allows more flowers to bloom and the grass to better survive summer drought.  I’m now starting in the spring before the first mow at 2.5 inches high, then with the rapid spring growth cutting at 3 inches high.  I gradually increase the height to a maximum of 5 inches in the summer drought and then come back down all the way to 2.5 inches by frost, mulching a ton of maple leaves from elsewhere on my property into this boulevard.

Best plant by far to stay green in summer drought and have the best yellow flowers is birdseye trefoil!  But it has 2 drawbacks.  It is VERY slow to establish.  I started this stuff 2 years before I even thought of this ecolawn idea because it was the ONLY thing alive in any boulevard lawns on my street during a drought.  There is a saying, “the first year it sleeps, the second year it creeps, and the third year it leaps!”  Also, it cannot be transplanted.  It needs seeds on bare ground.  To produce more seed and to enjoy its massive yellow flowers by the 4th summer I mowed around patches of it until it was done seeding.  By the 5th summer I had to mow it back to keep it from choking out the grass underneath.  This became a pattern for lots of other weeds/flowers.  Mow around them to get them established, then mow normal to maintain them, or even mow lower over them to let the grass keep up.  Because the second problem; they die right back with the frost and then you need that grass to still be there.

Most weeds/flowers have this problem of winter die-back even if they are perennial so plants that stay alive/green or at least present year round like grass are premium for me.  One good one is heal-all.  It is very hardy, drought resistant, and has reasonably nice purple flowers.  It is not always green, spending much of the year a purplish colour.  

I have lots of white clover and red clover.  Although they are considered drought resistant, they are in no way as good as birdseye trefoil in that regard.  Otherwise they are quite similar to the trefoil, including all of them getting nitrogen from the air and adding it to the lawn, and also dying off in the winter.  I have a little sweet yellow clover but haven’t learned much about it yet – it arrived on its own last year.  Black Medic which some people call yellow clover is removed from my lawn.  Yes it looks nice; green with yellow flowers. BUT, it dies and turns to seed at the exact same time the grass dies or goes dormant from drought.  Thus it has bare soil for its own seeds and grows back a hundred fold, outcompeting the grass.

I’ll list some more of my favourites in another post….

 
gardener
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I'm glad somebody bumped this. I have really taken to the chamomile for my garden paths. The seeds are expensive so I buy 1 LB bags of organic chamomile tea from Amazon and  it's mosly seed heads. It fills in nicely and is so great to walk on barefooted over chips. Thyme in other more heavily trodden areas other than the chickens like to hunt underneath it for bugs. They both smell good when you walk on them. My grass is slowly going away.
 
Ray Sauder
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Cont….

Another weed which could be awesome is blue speedwell.  I have 3 varieties of speedwell, my favourite being a beautiful blue colour.  BUT, like the black medic, they also die and go to seed under the exact same hot and dry conditions that cause the grass to die or go dormant; then drop way too many seeds, and resprout before any grass can get going.   I think they must also be allelopathic, since they destroy grass out of all proportion to their tiny stature.  And so they have to go!

I need plants that will stay green or at least maintain a ground cover because the heat and drought does not just make the grass go dormant; on this exposed soil it KILLS the grass!  Another prominent weed in the same category but with almost invisible green flowers is knotweed.  In spite of having almost no redeeming qualities, it is one of the few plants that will grow on the compacted, salty strip along the sidewalk.  Even in professionally managed lawns it is often the only green thing along the sidewalks.  Then it dies with the frost and human feet along the sidewalk pound the soil into a muddy mess.  Relatives of knotweed are red and green prostrate knotweeds which really are allelopathic and grow into a solid mat and kill everything underneath.  Another relative, Philadelphia smartweed, is one of my wife’s favourite pink flowers.  It is not as aggressive so I leave a little bit here and there for her.

Regarding the no-mans-land 1 foot strip along the sidewalk, almost the only other plant that wants to grow there is broadleaf plantain.  It has invisible/ugly tiny flowers, packs together densely, and wants to spread uncontrollably further into the lawn.  Not my friend.   My attempts to control this strip so far are spotty.  Grass will actually survive the trampling and the salt (I use as little as possible).  But it will not survive the summer drought located beside the extra heat of the sidewalk without some companion plant to shade it.  Some limited success so far with heal-all, Indian strawberry,  autumn hawkbit , and dandelion  -  I need plants that can survive drought, stay green thru the winter AND take a pounding from foot traffic, bikes, strollers, etc.  I have a lot of beautiful Siberian squill in this boulevard so last spring I collected as much seed as I could + thousands of more seeds from a nearby ravine and spread them all along this strip.  The idea is that they are the first thing to grow in the spring and if they can sprout in this environment they would help stabilize the soil in the muddy, soft spring conditions.  We’ll see if anything comes up this spring!
More later….
 
Ray Sauder
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Even before the blue scilla in the case of snowdrops, and during and after are other early spring bulbs such as grape hyacinths and crocuses.  I have these in other lawn areas but so far none in my “boulevard weed lawn”.  And they haven’t been a high priority because in early spring I have the scilla and then nice green grass and the clovers and birdseye and vetches are greening up.  But I will add some in the future.

Next up in the spring for a lot of showy blue flowers are wild blue violets.   I have a quite large area in a not quite so devastatingly hot and dry portion of my boulevard.  They are very very hardy and as many people have found out, hard to control or limit.  The reason is they spread in 3 different ways.  They can spread with underground stolons and form quite dense mats.  The pretty flowers form seeds in the usual way.  But I think the most prolific method is the late summer invisible flowers that never open but self pollinate and grow seed while never growing higher than the soil’s surface.  Then in very late fall, November for me, they suddenly grow a white, 4 inch high stalk with the seed pod on top looking like a mung bean.  Within a week the pod dries out and explodes a great deal of seeds far and wide.   I gather as many of these pods as I can by hand and destroy them and that is my main method of reining in the wild violets.  I also cut the violets lower than the rest of the boulevard after they have flowered if it is not too hot and dry to let the grass amongst them catch up.  And sometimes when the rains come after the August drought I cut them very short again and overseed with grass seed.  I have transplanted about 30 autumn hawkbit plants into this area because they have lovely yellow flowers in late summer and are allelopathic  and I’m curious if they will continue to grow with the violets.  The hawkbits stay green after the frosts have destroyed the violet plants.  All the transplanted hawkbits came up the second year but so far no new seedlings have sprouted….we’ll see this summer.

And after the violets are done the white clover is starting to flower and then the birdseye trefoil , the red clover and the vetches…..
 
Posts: 62
Location: 5b Ontario
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This is a great thread!

I am in southern Ontario and zoned a Canada 5b, and on acidic hard clay in my urban yard.

I have taken to sowing white clover over my centre lawn patch in my backyard, since it is low growing and is able to beat out the dandelions and thistles, and doesnt require any watering.  I've also been encouraging birdsfoot trefoil, which cropped up on its own originally. Last summer I started harvesting the seed heads and now this spring I have been sprinkling over the empty patches when I weed out the thistles.

My next door "greeny" neighbour has been trying scotch moss and sedum for her backyard, since her yard is more shaded and she cant support grass or clover. We both struggle a lot with our hard, very acidic clay.

I have a sloping yard with treed backend and have also started soapwort in and around the cypress and junipers at the back. Creeping thyme also, which I know can also be a useful groundcover instead of regular grass. I really like flowering groundcovers, since they are nice to look at and useful for pollinators. Plus the rabbits like the clover in the winter when they have finished pilfering my vegetables.
 

This was useful to read ideas. I might look into some of the other mentions on here, and so have added my attempts in the hope someone might find it useful.

I like the idea of edible lawns, although the tall-lawns are probably more successful on very large lots, since even in my really generously sized urban lot (540 m²… or about 5800 ft²) tall lawns would be fairly prohibitive to walk through and could become very messy and unfriendly to foot traffic.
 
pollinator
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Mint?

Mint can get rather tall (up to 24"), but often stays small for a long time. It smells pleasant, and can be used in mojitos uh, tea.

Because it does get tall, eventually, you'd probably have to mow it, but maybe just twice a year.

Some types of mint stays low, but is much more persnickety in terms of moisture and shade - definitely not achievable in my area. But I could plant 'normal' mint in a lawn here - mint volunteers over my lawn as it is!
 
Ray Sauder
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Sionainn,  I too live in southern Ontario and I had a hard clay portion in my back yard.  Everything died during summer droughts and cracks up to 1 inch wide would form as the soil dried out.  I almost accidently found a way to fix it, and it is easy easy for a reasonably small area.  In late summer I was shucking sweet corn on this lawn to be outside and to keep the mess outside.  When finished, instead of gathering up all the beautiful lush husks, silk , etc. for the garbage, I hauled out my mulching lawnmower and mulched it all right on that area.  During the fall, as leaves started dropping from 3 huge maple trees elsewhere on my property, I mulched them with the bagger attached and spread them out over this area which received no leaves at all.  Maybe 5 times over two months, leaving them well mulched but not smothering the grass at the final mowing.  Many leaves disappeared during these 2 months.  I bagged 5 huge garbage bags of mulched leaves for use during the following summer.
From November ‘till the following April I threw all my vegetable kitchen waste over this area.  For 18 years I had thrown all kitchen waste into a digester.  Now I placed a second ceramic pot on the counter and separated the kitchen waste into two streams:  anything a dog or coon or possum would eat like meat, bones, gravy, grease, mashed potatoes, bread, etc. still went into the digester to avoid attracting animals or rodents.  Anything a rabbit might eat went into the second pot and got thrown on the lawn.
This pot sat on a radiator shelf and so dried out a little.  Banana skins were cut with a scissors crossways to maybe 2 inch lengths.  Cabbage cores, large outer leaves, cauliflower stems, etc. etc. were chopped into smaller slices so when this pot was thrown across the lawn there were no unsightly clumps of refuse.  All winter long vegetable matter was strewn across the snow.  I didn’t know what to expect in spring as the snow melted, but stuff was barely visible on the grass.  And that’s about it.  I started using my vegetable scraps to solve another problem of fungus disease in a group of 5 weeping cypress trees at the bottom of the lawn.  So each fall now I drag some leaves to this area and mulch them in and this area is now the best part of my lawn – no more drying out and no more bare cracked soil.  I wasn’t testing any of my soil at that time for PH but now it is the same as elsewhere – just slightly acidic.  I have read that organic matter will stabilize PH and trend it toward neutral…..
 
Sionainn Cailís
Posts: 62
Location: 5b Ontario
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Thats great, Ray!

I have been using extensive cedar mulch over some of the clay areas and have started to see a lot of quality improvements. It doesnt change the acid problem, but my garden is ringed with a lot of acidic evergreens anyway, so one thing at a time. We bought this house 5 years ago and the original owners of 42 years let the place be a perpetual dead swamp every year. The slope had never been addressed  and the gardens were never cared for, so there was a lot of erosion and the whole yard was a swampy clay paddy that would suck the boots right off your feet for all the warm months of the year. (No wonder why they sold in winter lol)

Ive spent the last four years trying to really improve the soil quality, as well as improve water handling. I've also found that certain plants, like my currant bushes, are able to handle barely-improved hard acid clay and are actually really thriving in it ( my blueberries were as well. But the buns literally eat the blueberries down to the nubs lol.) My greeny neighbour gave me a couple of raspberry cuttings last summer, and those have popped out nicely. The mint is also doing well. Finding groundcovers for between all the bigger things has been trickier, especially since we had areas that dried out badly like how you described. I am going to see how the soapwort does this year, and have a few other flowers and herbs to try back there to see what sticks.

The clover definitely has established itself in my mind as an excellent alternative for grass, and the birdsfoot trefoil also seems impervious to both waterlogging or drought, and the only disadvantage is that it seems slow growing. ive been encouraging feverfew and columbines as well, since they dont care about the poor quality of the soil.

I havent tried composting here because we have a serious rat/mouse issue, so I only use the city green bin programme and then just pick up finished compost on the collection days. There is an old composter in the far back corner, but we decomissioned that when we moved in and I was overwhelmed by the rodent problem. Lol. (Augh yuck. And I grew up on a farm and we never had rodent problems like these people were comfortable to live with). Maybe in the future I will be brave to attempt a home compost setup.
 
Ray Sauder
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The point I was trying to make was you don't have to compost stuff.  Just throw it on the ground every few days.  It is a lot less work and earthworms will drag it into the soil for you.  Since you have lots of evergreens you will be getting lots of needles, cones, etc. so I think shredded deciduous leaves or even deciduous mulch would be more beneficial than cedar mulch......Birds sometimes peck at my offerings, squirrels sometimes drag them around and take a bite or two, and rabbits occasionally chow down when not eating the clover, but all these leave droppings that are more valuable than the food they eat.  I had rats when I tried composting but have never seen any doing it this way.  I don't think they are too keen on wandering over the lawn in daylight looking for scattered bits of vegetable waste.
 
Posts: 50
Location: Tampa area, Florida - zone 9a
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We let the small plants grow in our lawn like wood sorrel and other small wild flowers that pop up here.  The resident gopher tortoises like to munch on them.  

What we've planted on purpose in our yard are rain lilies (fairy lilies).  We mostly have pink, but yellow and white ones come up too every once in a while.  My mother-in-law had the pink ones all over her back yard and they were lovely intermixed with the grass.  When we moved in our current house, I started planting them and I still spread the seeds all over the place.  

They do well being mowed with everything else and do well when we have dry times.  St. Augustine grass is what we have in our yard.  The lily leaves and the grass blades are very similar in shape and size, so you don't notice the lilies until they bloom, which is pretty cool.  One day, green grass.  Next day BOOM!....green grass and pink flowers everywhere.


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