Less Lawn Jason 30 Mar 2006

48 comments Latest by Ron

Just say no to chemical fertilizers, heavy watering requirements, and high maintenance grass. Just say yes to a Less Lawn or a clover lawn.

48 comments so far (Jump to latest)

CitizenPain 30 Mar 06

Some of those pictures remind me of the “lawn” for the Malcolm in the Middle family.

I half expect a tumbleweed to tumble by.

Drew Pickard 30 Mar 06

It’s all about the moss gardens.

Derek 30 Mar 06

is this post influenced by your time spend in Tucson at all?

Adam Michela 30 Mar 06

My lawn is primarily clover, it’s fine I suppose… always green and never grows too high. Only problem is clovers don’t have thick roots, so heavy action will tear them out, and a good rain brings alot of mud out.

John 30 Mar 06

I like mowing my huge yard…it is an hour of pure bliss. No crying children, no nagging wife, no annoying client emails. Just me and a 3.5 horse power manual mower purring away.

Yosef 30 Mar 06

It takes more time to have a natural landscape than traditional lawn. I have a lawn, never watered it once and never sprayed any fertilizers.

I do think the less lawn looks much nicer however.

brad 30 Mar 06

In Massachusetts when they decided to let some of the highway medians go to wildflowers and shrubs, they had to put up signposts saying “Natural Revegetation Project” so motorists wouldn’t call up the state and complain that the grass wasn’t being tended to. In fact the biggest obstacle to “less lawn” is peer pressure from neighbors who think your unconventional landscaping will degrade the neighborhood’s property values worry that seeds from your “natural revegetation project” will land on their lawn and turn into weeds.

Edmundo 30 Mar 06

Dude, astroturf.

But if you want to get fancy: astroblade.

P.J. Onori 30 Mar 06

Lawns are so 1950’s. :)

Brandon Eley 30 Mar 06

Less lawn may not even be allowed if you’re in a subdivision with a homeowner’s association. Many have strict rules set in place to keep such things out (for the property value reasons mentioned above).

I personally have a 1/2 natural and 1/2 “lawn” yard. On about an acre, 1/4 is totally wooded, then a small strip of grass in the back yard (nice for the kids to play on), our house, a bigger strip of grass in the front yard and finally some trees and natural vegetation before the road…

I don’t spend much time maintaining our yard… it’s really harder to maintain the natural areas than anything, with weeds coming up waist high sometimes. The grass I just cut every other week in the summer and it’s fine. No watering, no pesticides or fertilizers. No hassles at all.

It’s not a “chemical” green color, but those lawns are so fake looking anyway. I don’t live in a ritzy subdivision anyway so I don’t have to worry about all my neighbors. Most of their lawns look just like mine.

Rob Sanheim 30 Mar 06

Its all about the concrete baby. Solid concrete for the whole yard == no work and no mowing. Less grass. Less green. Less vegetation.

street 30 Mar 06

I think your StressEraser is malfunctioning.

Jason Nelson 31 Mar 06

“I like mowing my huge yard�it is an hour of pure bliss. No crying children, no nagging wife, no annoying client emails. Just me and a 3.5 horse power manual mower purring away.”

Can’t agree more! Before getting into software development, I owned a landscaping company and did yard maintaince for serveral years. I look forward to my break from technology every week and getting to mow the lawn.

you know who it is... 31 Mar 06

lawns are for americans - ‘nuff said…

joy 31 Mar 06

Site tr�s interessant. bravo
Ik hoop dat de plaats veel beter zal zijn, kost op goede werk!

kit 31 Mar 06

Il y a quelqu’un qui peut me faire une faveur et me dit comment formater mon MP3 ?
j�admire le travail que vous faites et je vous souhaite une bonne continuation . Moi je sais toujours pas comment cr�er un site

Kyle Posey 31 Mar 06

Nice ideas, but the sites could use a little work.

D 31 Mar 06

A “Lawn” of landscape stone - No. 8 stone - is the ultimate answer!

Nick 31 Mar 06

I think that lawn gets a bad rap. When you need it, you need it. What if you designed a webpage or a publication that had no negative space? Grass is necessary for the same reason, and frankly, even with the mowing requirements, it’s a lot more maintenance-free than lots of plants. I am having to rip out my sickly grass that won’t grow in my forested sort-of front yard. It makes me sad b/c nothing else has the same profile so I have to totally redo the design.

Rich 31 Mar 06

No thanks, they both look pretty ugly. We have no water shortage problems where I live, and you don’t need chemicals to make a lawn look nice. I’ll stick to laying on my nice soft grass lawn. Do you even have lawns in the city of Chicago?

Danno 31 Mar 06

Let’s bring this to the logical conclusion: Zen sand garden yard.

Todd Dominey 31 Mar 06

Lawns are highly efficient at converting carbon dioxide to oxygen, which helps clean the air. They also filter contaminants from rain water, and absorb many types of airborne pollutants. Granted, over watering is never a good idea, but replacing lawns with rocks, concrete, or inefficient plant life is actually less environmentally responsible.

chris 31 Mar 06

Kind of hard to play football on a concrete, pebble, and cactus patio.

I’ve got an acre of woods and an acre of grass. Can’t say I’ve ever fertilized it or doused it with chemicals. As for watering, I let the sky do that.

It also gives me an excuse to crank up the gas-powered lawn mower and do my part to expedite global warming.

Jamie 31 Mar 06

It’s not quite low maintenance. You still have to do a lot of regular weeding! Unless you’re growing weed in that prairie lawn, then you just have a lot of harvesting to do.

Erik Mallinson 31 Mar 06

In Boston “Less Lawn” is accomplished by paving over the whole lot. Asphalt yard. That way you can park on it, if you are allowed. It’s sad.

The horrific part for me is when people leave holes in their paved over yard so they can plant things.

Suthers 31 Mar 06

I find living in an old tenement building with no garden is gardening bliss :D

iTodd 31 Mar 06

A guy on my block as a child just put slightly polished rocks over his entire yard along w/ a couple cactuses. This was on a small suburban street in Ohio… needless to say it didn’t quite fit and everyone who EVER came to my place made a comment about it.

As a teenager at the time, I thought it was genius cause no one had to mow the lawn or rake leaves. LESS chores!

gwg 31 Mar 06

1. There is a water shortage problem everywhere. Don’t confuse the availability of water in your area with water shortage.

2. You’ll never convince everyone (like me) that you don’t need a yard of grass. But convincing people to grow the right grass for their climate (no fescue in Texas folks!) will save tons of water and chemical treatments.

3. Yard and garden maintenance is as stress-relieving for some as it is stress-inducing for others.

4. More education about natural lawn treatments and the benefits of some insects and animals is also needed.

mikedeh 31 Mar 06

In Tucson this is the only choice, count your blessings if you have a large green yard to mow!

Marc Andre Belanger 31 Mar 06

Rich: “No thanks, they both look pretty ugly. We have no water shortage problems where I live” Actually, one of my previous appartment had a clover lawn and it was terrific. No yellowing, flowers in the spring. And you could eat it too! And we really had no “water shortage” here either (I agree with gwg’s point about that too).

Todd (Dominey): “replacing lawns with rocks, concrete, or inefficient plant life is actually less environmentally responsible.” Actually, clover is way more efficient than grass. The most up-to-date environmentally friendly building built in Montr�al in recent years actually has a clover-lawn roof.

David 31 Mar 06

Does anyone here read “Pluggers”, I think this one is appropriate for todays post.


brad 31 Mar 06

Don wrote In fact, I�m ditching my power mowers this year in favor of an old-fashioned, human-powered reel mower.

Those things (the newfangled variety with four wheels instead of two wheels and rollers) are great — they’re no harder to push than a regular mower and they cut the grass just fine. I switched to one of those about 10 years ago and used it to mow a large lawn. That lawn took me 2 hours to mow with a power mower and slightly less time to mow with the reel mower (no tank to fill with gas!), and it was much quieter and more relaxing. The only time the reel mowers don’t work is if you’ve let your grass get too high…they just push it over and don’t cut it.

Robert G 31 Mar 06

No lawn. No football. No thanks.

I finally got the lawn service I always wanted this year. I gave the dead lawnmower and weed eater to the neighbor next door (who promptly fixed both).

If you want “less” yard maintenance, that’s the way to go.

I do agree with John, mowing is a good way to get away from it all. I did some of my best thinking mowing the grass.

willy wonka 31 Mar 06

Actually we should use harmful chemicals on our lawn in order to have less. Having less is an effort. So we’ll need chemicals to keep out everything but grass. I’m having fun with this post - don’t get too excited….

Dave P 31 Mar 06

I live in Vancouver, and there’s no reason to go to those ridiculous lengths to avoid using water/chemicals here.

You just simply avoid using water and chemicals. The grass is still as green as ever. :-)

MMI 31 Mar 06

I believe the fancy term is “xeriscape”, and I think it’s a great idea. Better water conservation, less chemicals in the environment and less fumes in the air from gas powered lawn mowers (less noise pollution too). It’s a good thing all around.


BW 31 Mar 06

2 words… wiffle ball

Anthony Baker 31 Mar 06


When I saw the title for this post, the first thing I thought was “Man, here it is — the 37S ‘less is more/less is less’ mantra has finally jumped the shark.”

(Or opened the hatch, as some folks now say.)

Frank Wiles 31 Mar 06

I actually did my whole yard in clover when I moved into my current house right after it was built. It was great. Had to water it more than a normal lawn in the very hottest parts of summer, but never had to mow it.

Unfortunately, when they built the house next to me they re-leveled the lawns and ended up destroying half of it. And before I could go out to plant more clover, they put out grass seed. :(

Anonymous Coward 31 Mar 06

When I saw the title for this post, the first thing I thought was �Man, here it is � the 37S �less is more/less is less� mantra has finally jumped the shark.�


the meadow lady 31 Mar 06

Let�s bring this to the logical conclusion: Zen sand
garden yard.

alas, not for us cat owners. ;)

we mow our lawn twice a year, once in early spring (the next month or so) and once in the fall. in the front, we’ll mow paths in the grass so it looks somewhat deliberate. the back just turns into a meadow, lots of different sorts of grasses.

the aforementioned cats adore it, and luckily we live in a neighborhood full of quirky yards.

Anonymous Coward 31 Mar 06

so little

Betty 02 Apr 06

How about less lawn care? If you live in a 4 season climate, you can’t beat zoysia. It’s practically maintenance-free once established. And it chokes out most weeds. When a drought hits, my lawn is still green while my neighbors’ lawns have turned brown.

Some don’t like that it turns straw colored when it goes dormant in the winter, but it’s a carpet of carefree green mid spring to late fall.

Ron 05 Jun 06

When I get out of work at 5PM and come home, I would like to listen to the birds singing as I relax quietly at home…

But that is not to be. Every day this is what happens:

Alot of other people come home about 5PM too, and the neighborhood quickly becomes noise pollution central with the loud roar of a multitude of lawn mowers. Within a quarter mile radius of my place there are at any given time 3 or 4 mowers going. As soon as one stops, another mower somewhere else starts up - deafening at times and it does not let up until a half hour past darkness.

This is crazy! Just let the grass grow and whack it down a couple of times a year with a weed wacker. The wildflowers are very nice and it is alot better than polluting the atmosphere with gases and noise.