Saturday, August 07 2010
If you want a yard that demands less time, money, and water, consider ground cover rather than a traditional lawn.
Americans have long had a soft spot for lawns. Turf grass covers nearly 47 million acres in the U.S., according to the Lawn Institute. But there’s plenty that’s not green about all that green. For starters, the average household dumps 60 gallons of water a day on conventional lawns. Toxic lawn herbicides and pesticides run off into lakes and streams. Gas-powered mowers spew pollution into the air. And then there’s all that time spent watering, weeding, seeding, sodding, thatching, and mulching.
If you’re looking for an alternative, consider replacing some or all of your high-maintenance turf with ground covers that form walkable “carpets,” and innovative grasses that require little or no water or mowing once established.
In turn, you’ll reduce the need for irrigation, stop washing harmful chemicals into the watershed, add depth and texture to your landscape, and spend your spare time enjoying your yard instead of manicuring it.
Creeping perennials, clover, and other ground covers
There’s a ground cover to meet most needs, whether you’re planting a pathway, a hedge, or a broad swath of green. They run the gamut of foliage textures and colors, and many have wonderful flowers. Some varieties are ground-hugging and feel delicious under bare feet. Others grow up to two feet tall, making them ideal as barriers or landscape punctuation.