Ask a Question forum: Is keeping Lawns a form of Gardening?

Page 1 of 3 • 1 2 3
Views: 944, Replies: 46 » Jump to the end
Name: Teresa
Indiana (Zone 5b)
Cat Lover Lilies Daylilies Irises Cut Flowers Canning and food preservation
Butterflies Birds Bee Lover Annuals Seller of Garden Stuff Vegetable Grower
Image
TsFlowers
Nov 27, 2017 10:06 AM CST
I was reminded of a beautiful strip of lawn as a walk path between some well-landscaped flower beds in an ad here.

So I decided to see if there was a "Lawns" forum here, and unless I missed something, I didn't see anything to relate.

Bad thing about lawns, is that to keep one lush and weed free, requires the use of chemicals.

Though I try to keep chemical use to a minimum in my garden, I still use them.

But I do have a portion of lawn (turf one might call it) down the center of my beds, and I call this the 'strip'. This is the first year I've actually sprayed it to try to get rid of weeds. I could use some assistance with different types of grasses, and especially ones that do well here in my area, and don't go to seed quickly, and are soft to the 'bare foot'.

I tried sowing in some good Kentucky bluegrass seed but found the coloring doesn't mix well, and whatever type I used (had a number and cost more than the others), it seemed the grass blades were course. I have one type in the 'strip' that I really like! I took a quick photo of it's seed head while taking other garden photos, and all came out pretty blurry.

There is a place for turf . . .
. . . it's always better to ask questions, than jump to conclusions.
AND . . . always hear both sides of the story before making a judgment.
[Last edited by TsFlowers - Nov 27, 2017 10:20 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1593199 (1)
Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL 🌵🌷⚘🌹🌻 (Zone 8b)
Houseplants Organic Gardener Composter Region: Gulf Coast Miniature Gardening Native Plants and Wildflowers
Tropicals Butterflies Garden Sages Cactus and Succulents Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Image
purpleinopp
Nov 27, 2017 10:16 AM CST
I can't tell if you just want some tips/advice/suggestions, or are opening a philosophical discussion? It may be difficult to do both in a single post.
👀😁😂 - SMILE! -☺😎☻☮👌✌∞☯🐣🐦🐔🐝🍯🐾
The less I interfere, the more balance mother nature provides.
👒🎄👣🏡🍃🍂🌾🌿🍁❦❧ 🍃🍁🍂🌾🌻🌸🌼🌹🌽❀☀🌺
☕👓 The only way to succeed is to try.
Name: Teresa
Indiana (Zone 5b)
Cat Lover Lilies Daylilies Irises Cut Flowers Canning and food preservation
Butterflies Birds Bee Lover Annuals Seller of Garden Stuff Vegetable Grower
Image
TsFlowers
Nov 27, 2017 10:28 AM CST
Posting looking for tips/advice/suggestions. Some times as I skim through things here I miss stuff. (I don't know how many times I had looked at the "Community" links above, and had still missed the one about the photo contest. Shrug! )

Only bad thing is, I would be looking for actual grass variety selections. I'm not so sure our climates are matched.

I lived in Texas for 3 years, and though some of the lawns were *beautiful* and well kept, I hated walking in them with my bare feet.

. . . it's always better to ask questions, than jump to conclusions.
AND . . . always hear both sides of the story before making a judgment.
Name: Teresa
Indiana (Zone 5b)
Cat Lover Lilies Daylilies Irises Cut Flowers Canning and food preservation
Butterflies Birds Bee Lover Annuals Seller of Garden Stuff Vegetable Grower
Image
TsFlowers
Nov 27, 2017 10:35 AM CST
Not a good choice of words for the Title. Thumbs down
. . . it's always better to ask questions, than jump to conclusions.
AND . . . always hear both sides of the story before making a judgment.
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
Image
sooby
Nov 27, 2017 10:47 AM CST
Purdue turfgrass specialists have a series of turf factsheets for Indiana lawns, you might find this one useful as a starting point:

https://www.extension.purdue.e...
Name: Teresa
Indiana (Zone 5b)
Cat Lover Lilies Daylilies Irises Cut Flowers Canning and food preservation
Butterflies Birds Bee Lover Annuals Seller of Garden Stuff Vegetable Grower
Image
TsFlowers
Nov 27, 2017 10:52 AM CST
Wow, Purdue, and even so close to me. *Blush* Thanks for the link!

I actually posted this thread rather quickly after seeing the "Ad" on a page. Also excited about getting outside again today since the weather is lovely.
. . . it's always better to ask questions, than jump to conclusions.
AND . . . always hear both sides of the story before making a judgment.
Name: Teresa
Indiana (Zone 5b)
Cat Lover Lilies Daylilies Irises Cut Flowers Canning and food preservation
Butterflies Birds Bee Lover Annuals Seller of Garden Stuff Vegetable Grower
Image
TsFlowers
Nov 27, 2017 11:10 AM CST
And also Tiffany @purpleinopp , or anyone else, if you decide you want to discuss the philosophical side of the thread question, I'm all I'm all ears! to that too! Sounds like an interesting discussion.
. . . it's always better to ask questions, than jump to conclusions.
AND . . . always hear both sides of the story before making a judgment.
Minnesota (Zone 3b)
RpR
Nov 27, 2017 11:11 AM CST
Fescue grass is the soft type.
See what types are available in your area.
You can keep a small area weed free by hand weeding and there are fertilizers that contain natural products.

Growing plants in an extra-normal environment is gardening.
[Last edited by RpR - Nov 27, 2017 11:18 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1593244 (8)
Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Deer Organic Gardener Ferns Herbs Dragonflies
Spiders! Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry Birds Fruit Growers Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Image
Bonehead
Nov 27, 2017 11:33 AM CST
I maintain a fairly large lawn and do not use any sort of chemicals, so I have to disagree with your statement that the application of chemicals is 'required' for a nice lawn. The use (or not) of chemicals is always a choice. I think if one works to keep their grass healthy, it will generally out-compete weeds. That said, it does not bother me to have clover, English daisies, and dandelions in with my turf, and I also don't get tweaky about ruts made by trucks or tractors now and then. Sometimes you need to drive on the lawn - a little black dirt fills in depressions well and provides some organic nutrients.

My lawn mixture is whatever the outlying fields are made up of - we built our house on the slow-side, and just started mowing the perimeter to give our kids a place to play. I occasionally over-seed some bare areas, usually with a mix suited to my region. I don't water excessively in the hotter months and let the grass die back. It is a bit unsightly for a month or so, but recovers quickly when the fall rains come. If having a lush green lawn is important year round then most folks would need to do seasonal watering, or set up an irrigation system.

The philosophical question of lawn versus beds is a whole 'nother beast. I fall right in the middle. My guess is I maintain about an equal square footage of turf and garden beds, although I've never actually measured. If I had a small lot, I would likely have less lawn and more beds. I do like to walk on grass, so at least my paths would be turf. Here's my herb garden, which used to be a raised bed vegetable garden, and has always had grass pathways. I like green.

Thumb of 2017-11-27/Bonehead/2c25e5

I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
[Last edited by Bonehead - Nov 27, 2017 1:37 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1593256 (9)
Name: Teresa
Indiana (Zone 5b)
Cat Lover Lilies Daylilies Irises Cut Flowers Canning and food preservation
Butterflies Birds Bee Lover Annuals Seller of Garden Stuff Vegetable Grower
Image
TsFlowers
Nov 27, 2017 5:31 PM CST
Thanks Deb. I agree that chemical use is by choice.

The main matter of concern for me at this particular time is that 'strip'. Probably 10 feet wide by 200 feet long. Lots of creeping charley or whatever it's proper name is, and lots of clover. I had been constantly battling with it. For now, to get things in order the best I can, for a lighter work load for the upcoming years, I have to do what I have to.

Except for two areas of my garden that are devoted to annual cut flowers and veggies, the rest is a no-till garden. So I can't run a tiller down the edges. And occasionally, like this past rainy season, I'm not able to get the 'strip' push mowed in a timely fashion. The clover especially would sprawl over the edges of the scalloped block edging and I would be contending with cleaning that up. I got tired of it all, though I was especially concerned about the bees.

And Deb, beautiful beds you have!! Does you husband help, or do you do it all yourself?
. . . it's always better to ask questions, than jump to conclusions.
AND . . . always hear both sides of the story before making a judgment.
Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Deer Organic Gardener Ferns Herbs Dragonflies
Spiders! Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry Birds Fruit Growers Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Image
Bonehead
Nov 27, 2017 5:51 PM CST
Gary is not much of a gardener. He mows the main lawn regularly with our rider, and keeps the perimeter in check with his brush hog and weedwacker. I do all the weeding and edging, but he often cleans up after me (raking up the weeds into the mower trailer or tractor bucket) which is much appreciated. He also sits in the purple herb bench with me for an evening beverage!

Every spring I dream of hiring a weekly 'yard boy' but so far have not done so. We've occasionally hired out specific jobs (pruning, weed wacking) but I've so far been not too pleased with the results. I'm getting better at accepting a less-than-stellar look, and am also introducing more and more natives to my flower beds.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
[Last edited by Bonehead - Nov 27, 2017 5:53 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1593422 (11)
Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
Charter ATP Member Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: Mid-Atlantic Composter Region: Maryland Birds
Cat Lover Dog Lover Region: United States of America
Image
sallyg
Nov 29, 2017 6:22 AM CST
Beautiful picture, Bonehead. The grass strip does its job and is a pretty contrast to the dirt or mulch beds.
It is kind of funny there's no place for lawn grass discussion here. (or is there?) I guess philosophically, most gardeners think of a lawn differently than 'gardening', even though almost everyone with a yard is maintaining some kind of lawn. I'm in the camp of gardeners who decide "anything green I can walk on and mow" is the lawn.

Good luck fighting the creeping charlie, Teresa- it's a battle!
..come into the peace of wild things..-Wendell Berry
Life is a buffet (anon)
Minnesota (Zone 3b)
RpR
Nov 29, 2017 11:42 AM CST
As a side note, Fescue is the soft grass BUT it needs water, more than average if you want a soft thick fescue lawn.
I have it on two parts of my home lawn.
Years ago I wondered why it started go disappear. Then I reopened a small house side walk culvert, metal pipe two inches in diameter, and one spot it was in , a lower spot, got a lot of water when it rained. The fescue came back.
The other spot is by the garage and after I took the end cap off of the rain gutter that area gets a lot of rain water and it too is now most soft fescue but during a dry spell it looks like it.

Up here I have it where the old apple tree was. It is a lower spot that for at least four decades had apples fall and rot away so the soil is soft and rich as is the grass.
I kind of dislike walking on it as my footprints are obvious in the soft thick grass.
[Last edited by RpR - Nov 29, 2017 2:33 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1594399 (13)
Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Deer Organic Gardener Ferns Herbs Dragonflies
Spiders! Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry Birds Fruit Growers Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Image
Bonehead
Nov 29, 2017 3:04 PM CST
Sally, the subject of lawns seems to crop up here and there, now and again. To me, there appear to be 3 main camps: (1) The no-grass-ever crowd, (2) the golf-green-perfectly-manicured crowd, and (3) the willy-nilly crowd (if it grows, mow it). I'm clearly in the 3rd camp. I like lawn, I don't care if it is pure or perfectly cut, and I encourage lawn-friendly plants (English daisy, crocus, low herbs. I don't use any sort of weed killer, rarely fertilize, and let the clover and dandelions co-exist with the grass. My brother-in-law runs a yard care service and he is regularly appalled and gently tells me what poison I should use to....do whatever. I thank him for his advice. I have too much property to go with the no-grass-ever look, although I do like it. I find grass to be my least labor-intensive plant, just mow and go. Sometimes when the flower beds overwhelm me, I just hop on the mower for a quick and easy clean-up. To me, a freshly mown lawn neatens up the whole yard. I use a mulching blade so no raking involved.

I encourage others to share their lawn love/tolerate/hate stories.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Minnesota (Zone 3b)
RpR
Nov 29, 2017 3:33 PM CST
If other people let weeds take over their lawns that is up to them really but when the neighbor's weeds end up in my lawn I do something about it and do not ask permission.
Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
My dogs love me; some people don't.
Deer Bookworm Keeper of Poultry Vermiculture Garden Ideas: Master Level Region: Georgia
Plant Identifier Rabbit Keeper Composter Garden Sages Native Plants and Wildflowers Herbs
Image
greene
Nov 29, 2017 3:41 PM CST
TsFlowers said:Not a good choice of words for the Title. Thumbs down


You can scroll to the bottom of the page and look for Suggest a Change; ask that the subject (not title) be changed to reflect the actual question and you will more likely recieve the answers you are looking for.

I am of the opinion that a lawn is most definitely not a garden. But that's just me. I have been striving to remove lawn grasses and replace them with something more environmentally friendly, more wildlife-friendly, less chemical-dependent, etc. But, that being said, some folks like in a community where they are actually required to maintain a lush lawn.

At the moment I live on over an acre of land. Some of it is a lawn (it was here before I arrived)...I pull weeds from it, I mow it (or daughter does when she visits), it is a big wasted space. Sure, it's beautiful to look at, but it does not produce food for humans or animals, so (INHO) it's a wasted space. I look forward to the day when this area will contain fruit trees and grape vines. Thumbs up

Thumb of 2017-11-29/greene/6721d8

Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Nov 29, 2017 3:55 PM CST
Teresa - up here in NW IN we use a fescue blend along with a little bluegrass (for the sunnier areas). Best time to plant seed is late summer/early fall. Spring planting not so good for baby grass in the summer. A healthy lawn does tend to reduce the number of weeds.
Only when the last tree has died and the last river has been poisoned and the last fish has been caught will we realize that we can't eat money. Cree proverb
Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
Plant Identifier Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Image
stone
Nov 29, 2017 4:22 PM CST
greene said:
I am of the opinion that a lawn is most definitely not a garden. .

At the moment I live on over an acre of land. Some of it is a lawn, it is a big wasted space.
it does not produce food for humans or animals, so (INHO) it's a wasted space.

I look forward to the day when this area will contain fruit trees and grape vines.

Hurray!

I don't have enough room for turf...
The only place that stuff grows is down the center of the drive... Gotta keep that cropped enough to drive...

Anyone that thinks that a meadow is more work than turf... I would have to insist that they were doing more harm than good...
I'm of the opinion that the only work that a meadow should receive is enough of a trimming in the early Spring to prevent a return to climax forest...
and that early trimming... doesn't even have to be done every year!

All those people spending tons of effort pulling "weeds" out of the meadow, and cutting the flowers before they have the chance to produce seed... break my heart.

Those "weeds" usually aren't.
that cutting of flowers means a loss of song birds.

Those chemical lawns are one of the worst ecological disasters from a country that specializes in them.

all that acreage of useless turf displaces the bird populations, and adds to the pollinator crisis... not to mention the amphibians!

In my eyes... a big patch of "weeds" is far more attractive than a fresh cut patch of turf.
If you take the time to observe that "weed" patch next door, you will eventually notice that all the songbirds and butterflies are over there, and very few bother to make the journey over to the pristine "every plant in it's place" flower bed that so many of us strive for.

Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Deer Organic Gardener Ferns Herbs Dragonflies
Spiders! Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry Birds Fruit Growers Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Image
Bonehead
Nov 29, 2017 5:06 PM CST
Ha ha, RpR. Good thing we are not neighbors. Sounds like we would quickly come to fisty-cuffs if I am reading correctly that you would not hesitate to spray someone else's property (?) I fear my jolly dandelion infested lawn might be on your hit list!

I'm firmly of the opinion that whatever my neighbors choose to do is their own business and I don't mess with them or complain about it. We currently have junkers on both sides of us and, while I'd rather they didn't insist on keeping fleets of non-working vehicles, lawnmowers, boats, backhoes, etc., at least they both line them up fairly neatly! Meanwhile, I just keep planting screening plants on my side of the fence.

Stone, I've tried several times to establish wildflower meadows, to no avail. I thought I really had it locked in one year when we did some extensive yard work and ended up with mostly bare dirt on a hillside. I spent quite a pretty penny on regional meadow mix, but only got a couple of daisies, and now I'm back to mowing it 2x/year with the brushhog to keep the blackberries and aspen seedlings at bay. The key appears to be watering it well for the first year or two, and I just didn't buy the miles of hose and sprinklers that would take to do properly. I still have hopes. My latest effort is to gather free-seeding annuals and perennials, knock down the mole hills, and plant in that fresh dirt.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
Plant Identifier Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Image
stone
Nov 29, 2017 5:19 PM CST
Bonehead said:
Stone, I've tried several times to establish wildflower meadows, to no avail.

The key appears to be watering it well for the first year or two, and I just didn't buy the miles of hose and sprinklers that would take to do properly. I still have hopes. My latest effort is to gather free-seeding annuals and perennials, knock down the mole hills, and plant in that fresh dirt.


My meadows tend to be whatever wants to grow.... with zero supplemental water.

So...
at the current garden, camphor weed and several varieties of bluestem....
also.... blue curls, agalinis, and prickly pear....

and a lot of other stuff...
You know... the natural plants from the existing seed bank.

looks nice to me.... get lots of birds and butterflies.... lizards... other stuff.

in the areas where I do the work of tilling the soil and spreading organic amendments... I scatter seed and forget them.

Works for me...

Those free-seeding annuals should work for you... annuals are easy.

Page 1 of 3 • 1 2 3

« Garden.org Homepage
« Back to the top
« Forums List
« Ask a Question forum
Only the members of the Members group may reply to this thread.

Member Login:

Username:

Password:

[ Join now ]

Today's site banner is by bootandall and is called "Aphids on swan plant"