So, how can one include a lawn, or lawn-like area, in a permaculture design, without the need for mowing and safe from dropping/manure?
- X 2
A little lawn fertilized with compost and mowed with a reel mower could be a very nice play space for little ones, in my opinion.
A little round lawn is the easiest to irrigate with a little sprinkler, plus round lawns are adorable.
The question of which ones is going to depend on your climate.
Your region [as tight as you're comfortable revealing] would be of great help. For example, if you live in venomous snake territory the lawn needs to be maintained far shorter than if you don't.
Tyler Ludens wrote:The main problem with non-grass lawns like clover is the bees = bee stings on the babies.
This might be another regional thing? I've never heard of anybody getting stung by a bee just for disrupting its foraging, but we don't have Africanized bees up here.
Around here generally unless you grab a bee or get too close to its hive it's just going to fly away from you. That goes for bumblebees too... which do make nests in the ground and could pose a problem if not handled somehow...
It's possible my experience was entirely unusual!
zinneken ikke wrote:Can clover be used for a cut-and-come-again (like grass) lawn? I'm thinking, use the clover for enriching the compost?
yes! We have mowed our side lot several times this spring, it is mostly white clover (I think Dutch clover). It has been a wet spring, so we are mowing often and always we are mowing high...our electric mower is set on the highest setting about 5-6 inches. We use a bagger most of the time (except when the few grasses in the yard are going to seed). The garden loves the fresh clover mulch, not too deep all at once but a steady 2 inches or so all spring and some in the compost too!
looking at the yard it looks very green and when looking down at the 'grass' you see that it is almost all clover.
The downside is that bees like clover blossoms but I don't see them very often and have never been stung by a bee on a lawn.....We all go barefoot out there including our grandkids when they are here. More of a danger is the neighbors dog's occasional surprise 'deposits'.
the first is unmowed....the second just after mowing...
This is probably the sixth time we have mowed and bagged this over the spring and each time the clover rebloomed, not sure how often that will happen as the rains will stop soon.
In a really dry climate I would suggest what my folks called alkali grass. This is NOT the correct name for it. The closest thing I have found on the internet is muhly grass which is a bunch grass while what we have is a turf grass but otherwise look very similar. The seed head is soft and fuzzy yellowish white to pink and in this heavy clay high salt high alkali soil it only gets 6 to 8 inches deep. In fertile soils it will go 2 feet. It is a warm season grass that is very drought tolerant. By careful control of watering you can actually push normal turf grasses out with it because it needs so much less water. It is pale green in color with a turf grass type soft friendly texture. Mostly it is the seed head that gets tall and the grass itself tops out at about 3 to 4 inches in this soil. It is not a high traffic grass so how much the kids played there would matter. A path walked in shoes 3 or 4 times a day every day will beat down to dirt. But for play with mostly bare feet over a wider area it does okay. The neat thing is low maintenance and low water. Mow it once a year to knock the seed heads down and it makes good lawn.
I don't know if this one is suitable for your area but Blue Grama grows 3-6 inches tall and is attractive if left unmowed.
After some thought, I wanted to suggest a area devoted to play sand. What fun the kids would have! Also I wanted to mention an edible landscape around the perimeter. Think of plants especially for little hands. I can't recommend any especially for kids but Turk's cap (Malvaviscus drummondii) is edible -the leaves, flower and seed. Chives and Fennel (Butterflys love)and any cooking herb.
Here is one from my region:
So I would suggest either this, or moss, whichever would work for you and your babies.
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