No mow lawns or low mow

Looking at alternatives to mowing. One I found was spraying a chemical on the whole yard to slow growth. Not a fan of that. Another is to think about the yard differently. One option is a clover field. Another is a grass that grows in clumps, the end result looks like a wavey sea. The last one I found is a grass that grows tall, but lays flat. It looks more like flowing water than grass. My soil type and yard are only good for the clover mix. The benefits are less mowing, more spaces for animals and bugs, and smaller carbon footprint. Here's some pics of the clover for an idea: https://www.opnseed.com/shop/clover-lawn-mix-130643

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  • It's a cool idea. It should save watering costs, too. One of my friends mentioned she had good results with creeping thyme. I personally think some well-placed rocks do a whole lot.

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      • Khaki Storm
      • YNAB book topics online: https://support.youneedabudget.com/r/q5w48j
      • Khaki_Storm.1
      • 1 mth ago
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      The Artist Formerly Known As that looks cool! the clover mix has several creeping things in it, but they are all green. That's good to keep the weeds out. 

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    • Vibrant
    • No more counting dollars, we'll be counting stars
    • vibrant
    • 1 mth ago
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    Your neighbors might not love you if they have to try to keep it out of their yards, but I adore creeping Charlie. It's got pretty purple flowers and it smells nice when you walk on it. 

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      • Khaki Storm
      • YNAB book topics online: https://support.youneedabudget.com/r/q5w48j
      • Khaki_Storm.1
      • 1 mth ago
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      Vibrant I'm going to ask 2 of my neighbors. The third has a service spray their yard often, so I doubt anything will creep over there. 

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  • The clover idea is gorgeous. I can't stand mowing, and I have a huge yard which was completely full of sod when I first moved here. I'm on a mission to eliminate grass! Over the years some things I have done to minimize mowing: 

    - i turned over several big sections, uprooted sod, and planted wildflowers that are native to my region. 

    - the sidewalk strip is finally almost completely grass-free. Nodding onions and chives are there and they're just gorgeous, along with some paving stones here and there to indicate where to walk when folks get out of their cars.  Both nodding onions and chives split really well - you can start with just some small plants and if you split them each year, you can fill out a surprisingly big space in just a few years. 

    - In one area near the front, I put cardboard down to kill the grass and then 3 inches or more of playground mulch on top of that. Playground mulch is nice for bare feet, it's soft. I have some potted plants there and my son's mini trampoline and my Adirondack chair where I sit and watch the world go by. And some pretty flags and adornments. this section got a lot of (positive) attention from neighbors when I put it in.

    - i installed 3 raised beds 

    - I created a rock/gravel garden

    - I got the segments of tree trunk from various neighbors taking trees down. Then I created a kind of snaking wall that goes through the side garden. I put cardboard beneath the logs and mulch around to keep weeds down. These pieces of wood are about 2 to 3 feet across, so the "wall" takes up a good amount of space. Another plus for me as a parent is that children like balancing from log to log to log, it's the most attractive play feature in my yard I would say. They give each other challenges and play all kinds of make-believe with that "wall." You could do another version of that with tree trunk "cookies,' they are like stepping "stones" which are just slices of tree trunk. A bed of gravel with some tree cookies immersed in it is very charming.

    - I have patches of creeping thyme, which are really nice, but in my climate they don't really turn green until pretty late in the spring. I wouldn't cover my whole lawn with creeping thyme unless the lawn were quite small.

    - I'm working on creating new wildflower sections and a gravel area for my son to play in with his toy trucks and excavators. 

    each of these has been a lot of work to get set up. But, each year I have less and less mowing to deal with. I think in the next 3 or 4 years I'll be done -- my vision is just pathways, garden beds, wildflower patches, and play areas-- once that is in place my yard will just need weeding. I love weeding, but actually I don't have much of it to do now that everything is so established. In a few years my yard will be sooooo easy! And the vegetable gardens do take a lot of water, but other than that, now that the wildflowers are established, I never water. 

    Like 4
    • Ivory Storm I love the idea of tree trunk "cookies" and stepping stones! It seems like certain large logs could double as benches for sitting in a pinch, too.

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      • Khaki Storm
      • YNAB book topics online: https://support.youneedabudget.com/r/q5w48j
      • Khaki_Storm.1
      • 1 mth ago
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      Ivory Storm that's wonderful! It sounds like an excellent habitat for frogs and chipmunks! Thanks for sharing all the good ideas. 

      Like 1
    • The Artist Formerly Known As oh yes, sitting, pretend "ice cream stand," hide and seek, those logs really do it all. I've even put tablecloth on the flatter ones and used them as tables for a party. The ones we have are so huge that the tree company had to use their machinery to drop them into the yard. (they did this for free, to avoid having to haul and mulch them). They are awesome.

      And yes! We have so many chipmunks! The most brazen one is named Footsie, since he will literally run over your feet, eek. The frogs all congregate in the neighbor's yard though. And besides the beauty of the flowers, also, this year we have more butterflies and hummingbirds than I've ever seen before, and we've gotten to watch several monarchs in their full transition from caterpillar to pupa to butterfly. I love the wildflowers. I love looking up from breakfast and seeing beautiful butterflies perched on a branch. It feels like magic.

      About norules below on property values - it's true that lawns often get a free pass, where lawn alternatives are more looked askance. Free pass in the sense of -- even very ugly lawns don't seem to register to people as "lowering property values," but start in with the lawn alternatives & people do get concerned. It's funny. To address that, and remain a neighbor-in-good-standing, one thing I've found useful is borders. The eye can take a bit of a "mess," if it looks contained around the edges. Even though neglect is the point, good borders create a feeling of intentionality around your "neglected" patches.

      Landscaping timbers are great & cheap. I've also used beams from an old play structure, rock, and even fallen branches if artfully arranged. I have borders around all my wildflower patches, and a border around the mulched play area and around the stone/gravel/rock area.  They elevate the situation and create a bit more latitude for things being unkempt.

      Like 4
      • Khaki Storm
      • YNAB book topics online: https://support.youneedabudget.com/r/q5w48j
      • Khaki_Storm.1
      • 1 mth ago
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      Ivory Storm all great tips, thanks! 

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    • Ivory Storm Beautiful!! I'd love to see pictures if you can!

      Like 2
  • I went with synthetic turf. No mowing, no water. The stuff looks amazing these days. You can't tell it's not real just looking at it. Great for my dog. She no longer pees on my patio pavers. The stuff is made for pets with a drainage system with silica granules underneath.

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    • Superbone As the owner of a fairly large husky, tell me more! 😂 

      We have a fairly large backyard and I avoid it because it's mowed infrequently (new fence, wrong gate, riding mower wont fit - long story). Synthetic sounds lovely and I'll be Googling possibilities for the Wish Farm.

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      • Khaki Storm
      • YNAB book topics online: https://support.youneedabudget.com/r/q5w48j
      • Khaki_Storm.1
      • 1 mth ago
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      Superbone I'll keep it in mind, but I doubt I want to know the price for 1 acre of synthetic. :) 

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      • Superbone
      • YNAB convert since 2008
      • Superbone
      • 1 mth ago
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      Faness I have a small patio and a small dog. 😄 For me, it was surprisingly affordable. My job was about as small as this company does. So, I suppose you'd have to price it. Here's the website for the company I used:
      https://www.synlawn.com/

      You can get a free quote anyway.

      Like 1
      • Superbone
      • YNAB convert since 2008
      • Superbone
      • 1 mth ago
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      Khaki Storm 😄Probably not.

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    • Superbone Thanks for sharing! I didn't realize there were so many synthetic options.

      Khaki Storm If we're going by acres, my yard is no longer fairly large. 😆

      Like 2
  • Find a neighbor's kid who is looking to make a few bucks.

    My yard is .72 acres and I pay $45/mow, for professional service. I have bermuda grass, so it doesn't need to be cut frequently.

    Whatever you do, don't make it an eye sore that can drive down the neighbor's property values. Makes for a not fun neighborhood.

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  • There are lots of solutions to this challenge, it just depends on what you want to look at out the window. Kudos to you for thinking of alternatives. Mowing is such a waste of energy in my book, especially when there are so many other nicer alternatives.

    For flowers and things like that, it can take a bit to set it up and get it going, but after a few years, the result is beautiful and very low maintenance. I'm working towards that here, and we add/rehab about one bed per year, the first year is mostly establishing the boundaries, and keeping it heavily mulched and the weeds down (currently behind on that chore), and then the next year I start working with the plants. We have a lot of trees in our front yard, so my goal is to add beds around the trees so that it is easier to mow (beds with curves so the mower can move around easily) and not have to worry about bumping our mower (it's a small tractor, and has a roll bar, which sticks up), and to provide a habitat that supports birds and bees.  We have a couple slopes that aren't easy to maintain, and I want to turn them into beds with lots of flowers as well.

    It's a slow process, but I'm looking forward to the result in a few years!

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