To be to the point, both of us are allergic to grass, although it usually only bothers us when we mow, or when the grass gets so tall that it flowers (ok, that's not actually true- it itches any time bare skin comes in contact with grass, with the exception of the soles of the feet). We have about a quarter acre suburban plot, much of which will be built into gardens, however, we do like to entertain outside, have picnics in the back yard, etc, and so some space will be left resembling a lawn-type area.
The soil seems decent, not wet, with a strong southern exposure for most of the area (we live in zone 8, the wet side of the Cascade mountains). I would like to transition from grass to a predominantly clover lawn (with stuff like English daisies, yarrow, sheep sorrel, violets, crocuses, etc mixed in)- what is the best or easiest way to do this? It doesn't have to be fast, but I would like to have the process started before the summer. I work as a teacher, so I don't have oodles of time to spend on this, unfortunately. Pie-in-the-sky-amazing would have a good sized patch of clover lawn established and ready for use by June.
Here's my thoughts so far:
- Borrow/rent a rototiller (Cons: have to wait for the soil to dry out, costs money, messes with the soil structure, spreads any tenacious weeds that are started from roots, unpleasant smells and noise and sight until the clover starts to cover. Pros: done in all in one go, or as close to one as I can manage)
- Solarize the lawn one patch at a time (Cons: slow, tedious process, have to buy plastic, ugly, pita, kills bacteria/fungi as well? Pros: Cheap, physically easy, quiet, no noxious fumes, can start soon.)
- Dig a patch at a time (Cons: Labor intensive, takes a lot of time, also disturbs the soil structure, only giving the clover a head start because it's not actually killing the grass. Pros: No new purchases, quiet, will intimately know yard by the time I'm done, can start soon.)
- Sheet mulch a patch at a time (Cons: will take forever, will have to hunt down a lot of mulch, might be considered ugly, lots of physical labor. Pros: Probably very cheap, increases the organic material content of the soil, no awful smells or sounds, can start soon. )
Thoughts and ideas? Anyone with advice who has done it before?