Grass Lawns – Less is More

Grass lawns are the most common landscape in many places. They are durable, easy to grow and just what is considered normal. Since we are a family full of dogs and sports players, we don’t discount the use of grass entirely, but there are a lot of reasons why we could start changing the amount of lawn space we own.

Callaway Garden in Ohio has plenty of grass to remove still
Callaway Garden in Ohio has plenty of grass to remove still

Water usage, pesticides and fertilizers in addition to the time spent mowing are the main drawbacks to a lawn. We spend a lot of time, money and gas on maintaining our lawns.

With our interest in native landscaping and birds, it only makes sense that we are beginning to replace our lawn areas with other types of natural vegetation. We also drew inspiration from groups such as “Grow Food, Not Lawns” and “Food is Free” when we started researching the benefits to both people and birds if we started growing some of our own food.

All of the Birdfreak locations are “in progress” as we look at backyard farming and birdscaping but one of our goals is to replace much of our lawns with other types of vegetation.

Some of our challenges so far:
*Lawns are incredibly tough once they are in place. Hard work is our current method of grass removal. This involves a lot of digging and heavy lifting. Sod is extremely heavy and resilient.
*Weeds are everywhere. After you do remove grass from an area, the weeds will try exceptionally fast to take over. We’ve found that newspapers and straw around your new plants help keep the weeds down.

Woodland Sunflowers (Helianthus strumosus) at the Callaway Nature Preserve
Woodland Sunflowers

Grass can be expensive to maintain and a constant chore for many. Lawns are not unnecessary and are indeed better than bare soil for erosion and insects but it seems that the benefits of having less lawn are a natural fit for anyone interested in birdscaping. When conservation and saving money go together it’s a win-win for the people and the birds.

We look forward to working towards less lawn and talking about our progress over the next few years.