• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Reducing lawn size -> Save energy?

 
                            
Posts: 9
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I've read a few articles claiming that replacing areas of your lawn with mulch, hardscaping, ground cover, etc, etc... can save time (no mowing), energy (no mower CO2) and the environment (no mower CO2, less fertilizer)

Has anyone intentionally reduced their lawn's size for these reasons? What's your experience with it?
 
                      
Posts: 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have intentionally reduced my lawn size.  I have about a four foot by ten foot strip that is a pathway, and is only about half grasses.  The rest are "forbs," smartweed, plantain, dandelion, etc.

We don't need a mower now.  We can pull up the taller stuff by hand and toss it into the compost.  We still have an electric mower (we call it the lawn vacuum), but it is almost more trouble to get it out and hooked up than just trimming the plants by hand.

Instead of lawn, we have ducks, hosta, native grasses, horseradish, garlic, beets, carrots, ferns, epimedium, grapes, a couple of raised beds for annuals, a prairie plant bed, daylilies, herbs, raspberries, blueberries, sunroot, irises, and sweet woodruff.

 
                            
Posts: 9
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
A) Boring lawn

or...

B) "ducks, hosta, native grasses, horseradish, garlic, beets, carrots, ferns, epimedium, grapes, a couple of raised beds for annuals, a prairie plant bed, daylilies, herbs, raspberries, blueberries, sunroot, irises, and sweet woodruff"

I think anyone would choose B if they actually thought about it - that sounds beautiful.

Sending you a personal message, Amiga.


 
                      
Posts: 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I forgot to mention strawberries and asparagus.
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
10
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
well 39 years ago this weekend when we got married, and moved onto this property, we had a few dying trees and the rest was nearly all lawn..think there was a tiny flower garden..and the rear of the 8 acres had some woods and swamp..

over the 39 years and a housefire and putting 2 houses and 2 garages on the land (gave some land to our son for his house)..we have also reduced the lawn size by about 2/3 or maybe more..hard to tell actually.

we now have dug a 175 x 75 ' pond..so that is no longer lawn, it is water.

we have planted hundred and hundreds of trees and thousands of shrubs and perennials and vines..we have put ground cover or beds under all of our trees except a couple that we haven't gotten to putting it under them yet..but all but 2 i think now have beds of some sort under them rather than grass.

so our lawn has gone to basically lanes between the houses and buildings and around the beds ..there is still an area of lawn south of the pond that we have a few trees started on..but we haven't  been able to take the time or $ to plant those areas up with more yet..we will.

i love to keep the lanes that we drive and walk on as lawn..as that gies an area for playing games like badminton or to throw a ball or play with a dog..and it gives us open areas to drive the truck or tractor on to reach the back of the property..and we have lawn paths through our garden areas rather than mulched or dirt paths as they are easier just to run the mower on to keep clean.

no mud on the shoes either.

yes we still mow..but i can mow all of my land and my  son's land that is mowed as well as the roadway trimming for our  neighbors in less than 2 hours with the rider...and that is generaly every other week most of the year and every week if it is wet out.

we dont' use any chemicals on the lawn and it isn't all grass..a lot of it is yarrow, clover, dandilions, etc.
 
                      
Posts: 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Brenda, that is a lovely sounding place!
 
                            
Posts: 20
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
We've got a 1.5 acre lot that we recently reseeded with wildflower seeds. We had
some grubs which made a mess of the lawn so we just left part of it to grow and made a little path through it with the mower. Now in the second year only about
half of the wildflowers grew but it did fill in naturally with so called weeds some of which I like better than the flowers!  Overall I'm happy with it and I would recommend it. Probably a good idea to leave a courtesy strip against the neighbours lawn though.  
 
Travis Philp
gardener
Posts: 965
Location: ZONE 5a Lindsay Ontario Canada
8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Here at the farm we've converted much of the approximately 1/2 acre 'lawn' area into vegetable gardens, with a few fruit trees (and plans for many more). Eventually most of the lawn will be a food forest as the trees fill in. I plan to platn them an average of 15-25 feet apart depending on species, and have them spreading almost all of the lawn.

We've also let most of the grassy parts of the lawn grow, and its great to see the yarrow, yellow coneflower, and other wild flowers come out and play. We only mow the very front area around the walking parts of the house, and walking paths along our driveway.

This is the first year for the veggie garden so I would say that we are spending more time than if we mowed but since we do all no till, and these beds last for 5-10 years I think that over the years we will save a lot of time. Already I only weed each bed every 6 weeks on average, and watering is only done during extended droughts.
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
10
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
thanks Amiga, we do love it. One thing when you grow up a lot of trees, the lawn will actually begin to decline when the shade grows deeper anyway.

i still continue to mow the lanes in between the trees, but they are now more moss and ferns than lawn..

it is very satisfying to see what was once little more than lawn to be little lawn and more forest and gardens..after 39 years of hard work..but there are still a few areas that need planting

also the 5 acre field that once had little more than a couple of trees and a few elec poles in it is now littered with nearly full size trees, and lots and lots of baby trees. I was out there with the lawn mower picking my way across the field mowing a new path yesterday, and i kept finding 6 to 8" tall baby white pines, so great to know that someday that entire 5 acre field will be a 5 acre forest with a few mowed lanes through it !!
 
Paul Cereghino
gardener
Posts: 855
Location: South Puget Sound, Salish Sea, Cascadia, North America
15
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Depends what a lawn is...

I'd call it a vegetation system largely of grass that you harvest every few weeks and that produces a fine volatile high-nitrogen organic product.  The system is primarily justified by a internal combustion or electric powered machine called a lawnmower.  If maintained by animals it is called a sward or pasture.  In a few wealthy societies, poisons and fossil fuel fertilizers, and often hired labor are applied to these systems to create a surreal system used as a status symbol.

So I would say that its less about reducing lawn saves energy, but rather that maintaining lawn wastes energy.  i.e. lawn is not the default, but rather the endeavor that must be somehow justified.
 
rose macaskie
Posts: 2134
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
some one on the forums mentioned glomalin and i looked it up it is the secretion from the hypha of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi aaaarbuscular because thier hypha  branc in cells specially made reaqdy for them by the plants whose life they share. With hyphas superior ability to pick up water and minerals from the soil and plants abilty to fix carbons, sharing is a good idea. I have read that native american grasses have the liveliest poppulations of arbuscular micorrhizal fungi. so grass is on because the glomalin these fungi produce excrete from their roots is full of carbon so if you were recieving carbon credits and had a good glomalin production you woud recieve more credits i suppose. It seems accordign to what i hace understood froom darrel doherty that carbon credits aren't high enough to resolve anyones money problems. Glomalin  is very hardy and can remain in the soil forty seven years and it sticks together the soil, be it sandy soils making them less like a seive that does not retain water at all or it sticks together clay into lumps that have spaces inbetween the lumps, making clay  less of an inpassable mass more full of air and that allows a cerain amount of drainage of water instead of the impermeablizing the ground when its wet, so glomalin is the best stuff and if native grasses are good at increasing its production well grasses are good.
    Arbuscular mycorrhiuzal fungi do grow on all crops ecept ones of the cabbage familly and mustard family. so you don't have to have grass to have glomalin.

Glomalin was discovered in 2006 by a woman, great! called Sarah wright. agri rose macaskie.
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
10
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Paul, i couldn't agree more about "depending on what lawn is".

Ours is not necessarily "grass"..some areas of our lawn are nothing but mowed yarrow, some are mostly moss (where the trees are thick) with a little other stuff growing up, those need mowing about 2 or 3 times a year is all.

some of our lawn is wildflowers, clover, wild grasses, plantain, and other broadleaf plants, not necessarily what most people consider lawn, but we mow it to keep it open so it can be played on, driven over and walked through.

we also mow paths through the fields that are growing up with evergreens and alder trees, we mow them wide enough to use as a driveway, in some areas, 5 or 6 rider mowers wide, and then there are some paths through the "field becoming forest"..that are only 2 or 3 mower widths, that make it easy to maneuver through ..i just cut a new one of those yesterday to where we are thinking of putting a bridge over a drainage ditch by our pond..we'll see.

and then i cut those new paths through our woods, which someday will likely grow some grass in the sunnier areas too, they aren't "lawn" to speak of, but will be grassy paths..and i also have planted actual grass seed on the paths through my food forest garden and mow them..as it is easier than mud or dust....the beds in there have plastic or wooden edging so the lawn doesn't really creep into the beds.

although some of my beds also have grass growing in them that shouldn't be there..but that is a quack grass battle of its own
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!