Win a copy of Permaculture Design Companion this week in the Permaculture Design forum!
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • r ranson
  • Anne Miller
  • paul wheaton
stewards:
  • Jocelyn Campbell
  • Mike Jay Haasl
  • Burra Maluca
garden masters:
  • James Freyr
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • Steve Thorn
  • Greg Martin
gardeners:
  • Carla Burke
  • Dave Burton
  • Pearl Sutton

permies vs. lawns?

 
                      
Posts: 36
Location: Snohomish, WA
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Yep, I didn't have all my "irons in the fire" when I typed that out.  I meant I wouldn't want to plant a monoculture. Thanks for catching it. I shouldn't be on the computer when I am tired. Thanks!
 
gardener
Posts: 856
Location: South Puget Sound, Salish Sea, Cascadia, North America
15
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I seeded perennial rye, dwarf tall fescue, white clover, yarrow, english daisy, and chamomile.  Everything but the chamomile took well. 
PRC
 
                      
Posts: 36
Location: Snohomish, WA
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Paul,
Your lawn mix is almost identical to mine.  It sure looks pretty in the spring!
 
Author
Posts: 118
Location: Ashland, Oregon
26
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Oh my goodness.  You guys and gals are on the cutting edge.  Please take some photos and let us know all about it.  This could be big...REALLY big.  Well, at least it should be enjoyable for the kids.

Lawn substitutes are really fun.  You can do anything you want, really.  If it's low and green, more or less, during the summer it works.  Some herbal ground covers are supposed to have medicinal qualities.  You lay down and nod off and your cares are answered.  I don't know the details, but I have heard of such "lawns."
 
                      
Posts: 36
Location: Snohomish, WA
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Larry,

Your medicinal properties comment makes sense. It would hold true for chamomile since the very scent is calming. Of course, if I laid down on my tiny patch of lawn I would likely be ran over by little feet and that wouldn't be so calming although the kids would be laughing and that's good medicine! 

On a different note, I have been talking to Sochi Budin in Indonesia. I guess you are aquaintenc es. It turns out that I was next to his town when I was there last month. I visited the rice fields there. It was amazing!
 
larry korn
Author
Posts: 118
Location: Ashland, Oregon
26
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hello Ms. Mama,  I think the herbal lawn that so impressed me years ago was indeed chamomile.  Later I experienced a thyme lawn that was so relaxing that I didn't want to get up and continue on the garden tour.  No, I don't know the person you mentioned from Indonesia personally, but I loved the photos he posted of his fields.  You actually went there and met him?!  Do tell more.
 
                      
Posts: 36
Location: Snohomish, WA
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'll send a seperate message so as not to post in the wrong place.

Btw, I'm going to hang on to the "Ms. Mama"! 
 
larry korn
Author
Posts: 118
Location: Ashland, Oregon
26
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thought you'd like that
 
Paul Cereghino
gardener
Posts: 856
Location: South Puget Sound, Salish Sea, Cascadia, North America
15
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

larry korn wrote:
Oh my goodness.  You guys and gals are on the cutting edge.  Please take some photos and let us know all about it.  This could be big...REALLY big.  Well, at least it should be enjoyable for the kids.



Maybe... my little girl was out there frantically harvesting daisies begging me not to mow... but if I let it go to long, the push mower wouldn't work... and I didn't own a scythe... it was traumatic...
 
Posts: 2603
48
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Paul Cereghino wrote:
Maybe... my little girl was out there frantically harvesting daisies begging me not to mow... but if I let it go to long, the push mower wouldn't work... and I didn't own a scythe... it was traumatic...



that sounds familiar! at my house it was......"but daddy the bees are going to STARVE!" 
 
                  
Posts: 121
Location: Missoula, MT
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
So many ideas sprouted from these responses that it would be impossible to list all the quotes. How nice!

Being a writer, I can understand where the author of that article was coming from. Although I don't agree with the literal words he chose to use, lawns in their conventional manifestation are hugely counter to the philosophy of permaculture. Perhaps he even meant to say lawns symbolically, as a picture of the prevailing values that got us into this mess. That is my impression at any rate. Some of the original inhabitants of Arizona considered water too sacred to swim in. That is according to my friend who is Dine' and still feels like she has to perform a ceremony before stepping into water. A few miles south of her, Scottsdale is ripe with pools, golf courses, and a kelly green "Nature Park". Maybe they are referring to the desert shrubs surrounding the sand trap?

That being said, there is no reason lawns can't be both useful and livable. It depends on your ideas about living. I realize this is some preaching to the choir since many people posted about their childhoods without lawns. In my own hometown, there were no lawns to speak of. Plants grew, but they weren't really tended. A few people, like my mom, made a little effort, but even then, nothing was so established that we couldn't dig a firepit in the front yard and cook dinner out there on summer nights. On that same branch of thought, most of the potlucks and picnics we attended were held in ungroomed mountain campgrounds where the clearings were full of two foot grasses and the occasional mama and baby bear combo. Scary indeed, but a much more powerful place to connect with family and friends.

So... is this question really looking for an answer? Humans are not separate from nature; we don't have to be a destructive force in order to be happy. You can both be a human in your yard and pursue the equally fulfilling endeavor of caring for that piece of land in the way you feel is most right.
 
Posts: 61
Location: Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
A reasonable goal on any property would be to maintain a lawn that requires no chemical or petroleum inputs. If it cannot be maintained via grazing or manual mowing without external inputs, then it would appear to be a compromise to the objectives of a permaculture.

The ideal I strive for with any property I've owned is to reduce the size of lawn and change its composition to one which I can manage without external inputs, i.e., mow by hand and fertilise exclusively with surplus compost. I recently moved to a property with an expansive yard composed 99% of poor lawn and soil, so I have a long road ahead of me.

A "typical monoculture lawn beyond an area-rug size would be quite demanding to manage, IMO. I've seen plenty of polyculture lawns and pasture fields which are self-sustaining, however, so it depends on one's expectations in a lawn.

The origins of the manicured monoculture lawn, as I understand, are in direct contract with the objectives of permaculture as it represents a purposefully wasteful (and destructive) consumption of inputs as a demonstration of wealth and power. One should feel compelled to earn sufficient karma elsewhere on a piece of land to afford such a luxury.
 
                                    
Posts: 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have been a lawn guy for 25 years and have always hated what is regarded as a perfict lawn.
I have seen people spend thousands of dollars a year to keep a green carpet around thier house so it will be prettier that the neighbors.
My general approch to this is either convince a new client that there are better uses for the property like making the beds bigger using ground covers or using grasses that don't need constant spraying and almost dialy watering.
We have put in some mostly edible landcapes lately and I am using a groundcover strawberry and asiatic jasmine to replace some grassy areas other plants like perrenial peanut and mimosa are looking like options but I am trying them out at my place first.
Now I am not a purist by any means I like very much the effeciency of equipment I am way to old to start using hand tools all day and I have a large area in my front yard that is bermuta grass but it never gets irrigation or spray and only gets mowed once a month and looks great if I had a more conventional type grass that would not be the case.
 
Posts: 102
Location: Tampa, Florida zone 9A
3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

daygrower wrote:
...
We have put in some mostly edible landcapes lately and I am using a groundcover strawberry and asiatic jasmine to replace some grassy areas other plants like perrenial peanut and mimosa are looking like options but I am trying them out at my place first.
...



Reading between the lines of your post, it seems clear to me that you are in Florida (like I am).  Perennial peanut and sunshine mimosa are some of my favorite grass alternatives

I haven't heard of the groundcover strawberry -- I'll need to look into that at some point.
 
                                    
Posts: 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Denise
I am in North Florida near Lake City the strawberry is one that seems to have a resistance to nematoad and just keeps on growing year after year small good berries in spring.
It was given to me by someone who had it for many years and I have had it for 4 years if you plant them on three ft. centers in spring it will be a solid mass by fall so not good for small spaces.
If you want some I will be glad to send you a few plants
 
gardener
Posts: 1948
Location: PNW Oregon
32
hugelkultur forest garden duck trees books chicken food preservation
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hey Guys/Gals,
it's a good idea to put your location under your name, maybe your zone even.
This way others can have a reference for the information in your posts, or better make recommendations when questions are asked.

Need help, just ask    peace out
 
                                    
Posts: 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks for the tip Jami
Denise the strawberry works without too much water but the more it gets the better it does in Tampa they should do alright without irrigation.
 
pollinator
Posts: 4437
Location: North Central Michigan
23
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I continue to use mowed native vegetations for drive/thru access and paths all over my property, none of it is actually acceptable to the mainstream "lawn"..it is full of native wildflowers and native grasses and forbs..

I start at my driveway with a wide "lawn path" to my front door (which I drive on to bring groceries closer to the house), off of it are several "lawn paths" between my many garden beds and to the gates to the neighbors..then the "lawn drive" continues around behind my garage and east of the house to the woodshed (where wood deliveries are brought in) and a large "lawnish area" that is a play area for children and a turn around for the delivery trucks and trailers..a 2 track road continues along the pond (would be lawn but it is too well used) and a lawn path around the gardens and up and into the drainfield garden areas (3 acces lawny paths)..and around the pond and rear garden..also inside the garden there are lawn paths with weed barriers (plastic and wood) that are mowed a few times a year, as well as lawnish paths and trails through the woods that are mowed.

you  won't be lacking for green swards on our property, but if need arrised all I'd have to do is quit mowing if I wanted to eat the plantain and dandelions..etc..
 
                            
Posts: 13
Location: Lake Forest Park, WA
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
"an all-moss lawn"

I live just north of Seattle and often complain about the grass that keeps invading my moss.  But now the buttercups are giving them both a run for the money. 
 
                                
Posts: 21
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I used to have grass front and back but over time I have replaced all my lawn with raised vege' beds out back and planted out front.
sold the lawn mower to a pawn shop when i removed the final patch out front on the nature strip, or roadside lawn, not sure what you's call it up there.
took the 80 bucks and bought an olive tree and a bunch of plants & bulbs with the money.

a couple years on I don't miss lawn at all, the olive tree is now in flower and the bulbs and everything have taken off too.
I guess if your on a large property then lawn is ok but for me in the city I try and use every inch of space, if there's a spare inch somewhere i'll plant a bean.

this is my front lawn area today..





not many edibles here as the occaisional dog likes to take a leak on the plants, but I do have lemon balm, rhubarb, oregano, comfrey, borage, parsley and nasturtiums which are edible i s'pose.
 
gardener
Posts: 863
Location: North Georgia / Appalachian mountains , Zone 7A
47
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I live on 2 hilly acres in the middle of a forested area with about 1/2 acre that was kept as lawn by the previous owner,  The 1st year or so I tried to maintain it, but it was so much work mowing up and down hills that I started mowing less and less.
Finally my mower broke and I stopped altogether.

Right now I only mow paths between different parts of the yard, the rest I am letting grow like a prarie with tall grasses and wild flowers. Also I am planting many fruit trees.
I have a relatively open space right in front of my house though with bushes, small trees,etc. so that I have open sky. This lets sun in during winter, and also lets me see the stars at night any time of year.
 
Posts: 539
Location: Athens, GA/Sunset, SC
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Lawns are the SINGLE largest argicultural sector in the country.. Responsbile for more water,petrol-fertilizer,herbicides,insectiside use...4 billions of drinking water DAILY.

Startling,ay?

I thought about this video...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-enGOMQgdvg

Get out there and tear up your yard in favor of food!
 
pollinator
Posts: 940
Location: Stevensville, MT
22
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Podcast review of Geoff Lawton's Urban Permaculture DVD: podcast

Paul and Lacia talk about permaculture and lawns.
 
Posts: 288
Location: Deepwater northern New South wales Australia
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thinking people up here use microlaena in their lawns it is native here,less yield than fescue thus less mowing,nice fine leaves ,tolerant of low fertility soils
If we could get the mule service up and running i could get you some!
 
pollinator
Posts: 363
Location: NW Pennsylvania Zone 5B bordering on Zone 6
8
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I will be converting a large portion of my lawn over using permaculture and food forest principles. I fully intend to maintain some lawn, more toward the middle parts of the yard. I cannot remember where I read it, but I think I read of a designer that developed a major park area using permaculture principles but did not close in everywhere. They left open areas because they helped to calm people and make them feel not so closed in. While I want to intensively plant a large part of my lot, what is wrong with a bit of lawn for myself, my family and neighbors and my dogs included to enjoy. If I remember correctly, Mollison absolutely hates lawns but Holmgren thinks that they are ok (within reason) as a place to bring people together. If you want to call it a part of the permaculture design, leave it a bit long (3-4 inches or so) so that the water doesn't evaporate as easily, don't water it outside of the normal rainfall that it gets, if you want edibles, eat the dandelions that are growing in it, NO CHEMICALS, use the grass clippings as ammendments in other parts of the system, and so on. If you want something, you can figure out why it can be considered a part of your permaculture paradise. Now my dogs...yes Mollison has no use for them too. They are memebers of my family. I am still mulling the "purposes" I can give to my older one to "justify" him in permaculture terms. The younger one is a terrier mix, so he might will be rooting through things digging for critters and the like. I suppose while that one is digging to chase away unwanted critters, he could also be considered to be aerating the soil too? HaHa. The older dog, being larger in stature and quite lively and energetic, he will be actively chasing the above ground unwanted critters, so if he is protecting the food, he does have a purpose too. Cheap goofy entertainment from the two doesn't qualify, but it does add a very enjoyable energy to the entire system and my life. Isn't permaculture about finding what works best for you and your site? If my entire yard was a dense, almost inpenetrable food forest, I wouldn't be happy. I need some open space and light too.
 
Oh the stink of it! Smell my tiny ad!
WORK/TRADE OPPORTUNITY IN THE BEAUTIFUL SANTA CRUZ MOUNTAINS OF CALIFORNIA
https://permies.com/t/119378/WORK-TRADE-OPPORTUNITY-BEAUTIFUL-SANTA
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!