Farewell, traditional lawn. New turf trends: from wild flowers to fescue

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DAN FALVO and his wife, Nicole, almost didn’t make an offer for their 1988 colonial center in East Haddam, Connecticut, the 33rd property they had considered. It was accompanied by a development that Mr. Falvo found disappointing: nearly 3 acres of lawn. “We got here and the house was beautiful, but I saw the lawn and I thought, ‘No. I don’t want to live on a golf course, ”said Mr. Falvo, branch manager for a plumbing and HVAC company. “The first time I mowed it literally took me four hours on a riding mower. Three years later, the couple traded most of their front lawn over a hectare for a meadow of wildflowers (pictured above).

The Falvos are among the many homeowners who have decided to investigate green alternatives, believing that a perfect classic grass mat requires too many resources such as time, water and money. Others do not want to use chemical fertilizers and weedkillers and prefer to provide habitat for more diverse wildlife than a monoculture lawn can support. Since the start of the pandemic, for example, sales of one of the lawn attorneys, Wildflower Farm’s Eco-Lawn, have more than doubled. A blend of five drought-tolerant fescues, the grass requires comparatively less maintenance, said Paul Jenkins, co-owner of Coldwater, Ont. “Most of the lawns we care for in North America are not suited to North American conditions,” Jenkins said, and therefore need more care to thrive here. “Kentucky Blue [grass], you think it would come from Kentucky. He comes from Europe.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with loving your conventional strip of weed. “Lawns can serve an important social function and are one of the few plant communities you can walk on, play on,” said Peter Del Tredici, senior researcher emeritus at the Arnold Arboretum at Harvard University. , in Boston. Even eco-landscaper Jodie Cook in San Clemente, Calif., Admires classic green, though in her area she would recommend UC Verde Low-Water Bush: “For us, there’s nothing like a lawn but a lawn.

But what if you don’t have a croquet addiction or a bunch of brutal kids, and would like to learn about alternative lawn culture? Maybe you are ready to experiment with part of your garden, while still preserving part of the traditional turf, as Ms. Cook advises. Where to start ?

If you are considering a change, fall is a great time to undertake any of the following options. Mr Del Tredici advised visiting your local garden center to determine which species have the best chance in your area; what thrives in one area may shrivel in another. Consider starting with a pilot plot to assess how your choice is going. To take it up a notch, here are some success stories – inspiring approaches that require different levels of commitment.


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