1. Why do you want to remove your
lawn? It's helpful to know what you're replacing the lawn with.
a. This is California! Lawns do not occur
here. What a waste! Look
at low ground covers.
Go to 2.
b. Environmental concerns-water use. Use taller
bushes provide wildlife cover and require less water, chemicals and
other inputs after first season, and you'll meet your neighbors you
tend the garden.
c. Costs. (see notes at end of article) Are
you paying $100 a month to have the front lawn mowed, another $50 per
month to water the lawn? $1,800 per year for what? You should be able
to replace the lawn for about the costs of one years costs.
d. I'm not enthused about replacing a lawn with a
native meadow or native grasses. Lawn grasses have been developed for
centuries. We really do not have drought tolerant lawns in the wild. So
if you want a
lawn, lower the overall size of the traditional lawn to what you
actually need and use. Replace the rest with groundcovers,
shrubs like Ceanothus
2. Kill the grass.
spray to kill the grass and weeds
that was called a lawn.
dig up the grass to remove the
spray to kill the lawn and then
dig out all the dead material
there should be no debris left
when you are done, just bare ground tilled as little as possible
3. Renovate the lawn sprinklers.
Replace the old
high volume lawn sprinklers with low volume sprinklers
. For most
native plants they want to be watered well when you plant them
and after a few months they want just
a little water every week.
Don't be a drip.
4. Plant fun stuff the first year.
The nutrition and pathogens
overwhelm the long term native plants if there are planted first.
Here are some
plants to consider: Prostrate
– Grindelia stricta venulosa,
Erigeron 'Wayne Roderick'
Also look at the low groundcover page.
Don't forget the mulch
5. Pay attention to the weeds and the
explosive new plants you've just
It's like you dropped a starving family from the hills into
a fast food place
and told them they could take as much as they wanted. They'd have
a tendency to drop
dead quickly. But they haul off the food first. Then you
could build your new restaurant to your taste.
After a year or so, you can start planting your long term plants.
Usually by this time you've met all you neighbors. They've come over to
check out you yard and either tell you you're crazy or ask how to do
it. Many neighbor watches/ block parties have started from a lawn
replacement of a front yard.
The costs of a lawn versus a
groundcover or hardscape.
Xeriscaping, zeroscaping and xerogardening all have been used in all
sorts of diabolic ways. I think it's safer to use native plants from
your region to achieve low water use. Use Texas plants in Texas,
California plants in California, New York Plants in New York. Do not
put them all together in a garden, call it zeroscaping and expect low