If you have just finished mowing your lawn for what seems like the 800th time and are thinking there must be a better way, I have news for you. There is a better way. Check out the book Urban and Suburban Meadows – Bringing Meadowscaping to Big and Small Spaces by Catherine Zimmerman to learn about the advantages of converting part or all of your lawn to a native plant meadow. The book provides instructions for site preparation, meadow design and maintenance of your meadow. There are also sections that include plant lists by region and plant zone, resource contact information, and much more. Once your meadow is established, it will require only a minimal amount of mowing and you will not need to water, rake or apply pesticides or fertilizer.
When we moved to our place in Southern Arkansas in 2005, it included over four acres of lawn and pasture that had been maintained by mowing. We immediately developed and began implementing a plan for reducing the mowed area by creating wildflower/native plant meadows. We now mow about a half-acre (and we’re still converting!). The transformation of our place has been amazing to us. Our former “green desert” now supports a diversity of wildflowers, birds and butterflies. Instead of spending our time mowing, we have plenty of time to enjoy the trails that meander through the meadow.
Many of us have been raised to love manicured, chemically-induced lawns (there are more than 20 million acres in the U.S.) and a native plant meadow might not be for you. However, we encourage you to check out the alternative. Urban and Suburban Meadows by Catherine Zimmerman is a great resource for doing just that.
Article and picture by: Nancy and Mike Weatherford, ANPS members