Many of us have fond memories of our lawns, and our associations can be as unique as individuals. Does the word “lawn” bring back memories of walking barefoot in the grass, playing croquet, and family picnics—or does the word conjure up endless hours of mowing and steep water bills? Do you think of the place where the puppy would play, or do you remember the struggle to get grass to grow under your trees?
Whatever your reason to love (or not love) your lawn, its purpose does seem to change, as your needs and desires evolve over time. If we reimagine our puzzle piece, we gain the opportunity to develop a diverse, three-dimensional, varied landscape with year-long interest. To achieve the “layered landscape” referred to in the previous post, you may need to consider repurposing some of the lawn. Take a good look at your base plan; most landscapes have areas that are infrequently used, or not needed at all.
Doug Tallamy (Bringing Nature Home), suggests that we reverse “normal” landscaping so that turf is only in place where we walk or use the lawn for recreation. Often, children, as well as adults, are more attracted to the layers beyond the lawn, where there are countless opportunities for observation and activities that stir the imagination.
Lawn can also serve as a design element, a visual resting space that defines the shape of outdoor rooms between textured plantings. A grassy path can invite and guide the garden visitor to explore the wonders of the natural world in your landscape.
Over time, removing turf in favor of new plantings will bring more life to your yard, and immeasurable joy for yourself.
Author: Pam Ford