Image adapted from Wisconsin Pollinators showing the difference in root depth of native plants versus turf grass
When most people think of the ideal lawn, they think of well-maintained, bright green turf grass. While this may be aesthetically pleasing to the human eye, turf grass it’s not so pleasing for the environment. Because the soil under turf grass is usually compacted and because the roots are so shallow, more water runs off into storm sewers, ditches and creeks rather than soaking into the ground. As it runs off, it carries with it the pesticides and fertilizers used to keep a lawn green and weed free. To keep our yards looking attractive and friendly to wildlife and the surrounding environment, we recommend five simple tips for shrinking your lawn.
- CONNECT THE DOTS – If you have several random planting areas in your yard, you can consolidate them into one larger planting area. To get an idea of what it would look like, get some rope and map out the area to see where you would be removing sod. This way you can “try out” the shape before any digging.
- HEDGE THE EDGE – This involves digging up the perimeter of your lawn in favor of a hedge or a bed of perennials. To keep the lawn from infiltrating the new growing bed, you may want to edge it with stone, brick or concrete.
- CUT-OUT THE CENTER – You can make a planting area in the center of your lawn. Plant natives to attract wildlife or ring a hidden patio with a planting bed.
- CUT CORNERS – Pick a corner of your lawn and convert it into an herb garden, rock garden or a space for something else you’ve been dying to grow.
- GO WILD – Let a piece of your lawn go back to its natural state to become and oasis for local wildlife. Before doing this, you should make sure it is allowable under homeowner association regulations, and consider how this might impact your neighbors.
No matter what strategy you use, we recommend using plants that are native to our area of Ohio. Native plants will help attract birds, butterflies and other pollinators; tend to have deeper root systems that improves drainage, and are more likely to thrive because they are well adapted to our climate.