The manicured American lawn isn’t ecologically friendly. It wastes water and doesn’t promote biodiversity, and biologists agree that plants function better in a regenerative system. Using fertilizers harms the soil, stopping some vegetation from growing. Landscapers and biologists agree on the solution to this lack of biodiversity: let nature take back your yard.
The lawn rewilding movement has picked up steam as more information about water use and ecosystems becomes available. If you are considering letting wild plants take over your garden, there are a few key steps to follow.
Get Started With Knowledge
First and foremost, study the ecology of your town’s land. Go to nature reserves to learn about the type of plants that thrive in the current soil. You’ll better understand which varieties benefit one another and what animals are likely to eat them.
There are many online resources you can access to understand what plants thrive in your region. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Plant Hardiness Zones and Koppen Climate Classification maps are free.
It’s essential to understand your yard as well. Many factors affect the vegetation growth rate in backyard plants. Tracking the sun is imperative to see where it shines brightest on your property.
You’ll also need to know how water moves through the grass. If you’re on a hill or slope, it will flow downward. Find out where it settles to determine where plants are going to grow best.
Soil type is another information bit you’ll need to know. Don’t change it, but be prepared to add flowers and other vegetation that match up. Once the plants are in the ground, let nature do its thing.
Planting For Success
Speaking of vegetation, don’t overthink it too much when it comes time to plant. You don’t want anything that will require special care. If your yard is prone to flooding, rain garden plants are the way to go. If you want to attract bees and other pollinating insects, you’ll need to get flowers that are easy to care for.
What’s the best piece of advice? Avoid all invasive species. Don’t buy plants that aren’t native to your respective region; if you find any invasive weeds in your yard, get rid of them.
Once you have all the items in the soil, just sit back and watch your lawn grow. Weeds will pop up now and then, but don’t remove them. They will lose out to the new plants as they get bigger.
The flowers and shrubs you’ve chosen will grow nicely in the right soil, and rain will help them thrive, so you won’t need to use a sprinkler or hose.
When it comes to mowing, aim to trim back about a third of an inch of grass, depending on height. However, keep the trimmings around. One step to boosting lawn health is “grasscycling,” where chopped-up grass acts as a natural fertilizer.
Where The Wild Things Are
As the lawn goes through its rewilding process, animals are likely to take up residence in the fray. These visitors are actually super beneficial to the vegetation. Frogs and toads will handle all the insect repelling since that’s their dinner, and it’s much more eco-friendly than chemical fertilizers. All the critters ask in return is a little shade under some flora and fauna. It sounds like a fair trade!
If you compost, add worms to the pile. The slimy creatures will eat the leftover food scraps and leave behind nutrient-rich fertilizer, ensuring high-quality soil. Adding a bird bath will also attract more insect-eating animals. The occasional hedgehog or squirrel will drop by as well.
Rewilding a lawn means less maintenance, saving water, energy, time, and labor costs. Cut a small path between the patio and any entry points for easy walking. Other than that, just leave it be. Nature will care for your landscape as it intended. All you have to do is sip your iced tea and marvel at the wildflowers sprouting in your backyard.