Get Rid of Your Lawn – Strange Ways to Save Money

Last year was the year the I finally decided I’d had enough of my lawn. The grass only grew in certain places, no matter how much we watered or which grass breeds we tried. We tried everything to get a lush, green lawn. We fertilized, tested the soil, watered, planted grass breeds indigenous to our area, sprayed for weeds and grubs, and mowed with a mulching blade. Through all of that, the yard still wouldn’t grow right. We spent a ton of money and time and still had nothing to show for it. And I certainly wasn’t about to pay a professional lawn company a fortune to come try all the same things we tried.

Finally, last year, I said, “Enough.” Enough wasted water. Enough money down the drain in fertilizers and lawn products. Enough mowing and weed whacking every weekend (and the wasted gas money and time). Enough chemicals spewing into the environment. Between all of that, the water restrictions my town has in place, and the near death experience I had two years ago after being attacked by yellow jackets while mowing, I decided I wouldn’t miss the lawn one bit. I decided I would spend one last bit of money to buy some grass and weed killer to kill off the surviving patches of grass and be done with the whole thing. Last fall I killed it all and started over with a natural yard.

When the leaves and pine straw fell over the winter, I left them where they fell. By spring they’d made a deep, mulchy ground cover. Then I went to the nursery and bought lots of plants that are natural to my area. They require very little water and almost no maintenance. They will die back in the winter, but return in the spring so I don’t have to replant every year. I bought lots of evergreen shrubs and more trees to fill in the space and created some “rock garden” type areas, too. Now I have an attractive yard that requires almost nothing from me in terms of time or money. The deep ground cover takes care of most of the weeds and other than some trimming of the plants, I don’t have to do anything. When the leaves fall this winter I won’t have to rake, either. They’ll just add to my ground cover.

It’s been a liberating summer thus far. Other than my initial planting efforts, I haven’t had to do anything. While my neighbors are out mowing every weekend, I’m doing things I really want to do. I’m no longer wasting money on chemicals, gasoline, mower parts and maintenance, seeds, and water to keep up with a grassy lawn. It’s saved me a ton of money (the latest estimate is up to about $300) and time, and this is just halfway through the first year.

For many people the idea of living without a lawn is too extreme. In some places it’s even prohibited to kill off your lawn. I’m lucky that I don’t live in an area with homeowner’s restrictions, so there’s no one telling me that I have to have a lush lawn. If, however, you are frustrated with your lawn, maybe you can try replacing just a portion of it with a natural area. Every bit that you don’t have to religiously tend will save you money and time.

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8 Responses to Get Rid of Your Lawn – Strange Ways to Save Money

  1. Annie Jones says:

    I’d love to see pictures!

  2. MonkeyMama says:

    I am SO with you. I live in an area that is lush and green for a few months of the year, and more like a desert the rest of the year. If the CITY and our HOA allowed us to let our lawn go (green/brown/natural) I would keep it, probably. But, that is not allowed, and our city wastes an insane amount of water trying to make our desert summers look like a tropical paradise.

    I met someone with an astro turf backyard and thought that was genius. I have also thought it would make more sense to take a clue from Nevada or Arizona when it comes to landscaping (rocks and cacti). For the backyard – I have a few ideas for the long run.

  3. oh brother I have been reading too many articles via facebook. I found myself trying to click the ‘like’ button :)

  4. I would love to see pictures. We live on an old (sub-divided farm) and have 5 acres of “yard” plus 5 acres of woods. I’m not so sure this would work for us. LOL! However, we drive by a house with a non-yard full of bushes, shrubs, etc. I find the idea very intriguing.

  5. Diane says:

    I never thought I’d say this, but I have to agree with you. I couldn’t do a natural yard in my neighborhood, but otherwise I’d definitely consider it. I love the idea of using ground cover & rocks.

    I like the idea of using native plants that will grow with the conditions in your area. I love flowers and I’ve spent an insane amount of time & money trying to keep things alive that are a pain to grow – and I’ve got a green thumb! I’m trying to switch over to blooming perennials that will hopefully come back each year.

    When we move I hope to be in an area where we could do more of a natural yard. My other idea is to do the back yard with a huge deck and/or a courtyard made of patio stones. I could do that in the back now, but I’m not ready to make the investment in time & money up front. Maybe next spring if we don’t move…

  6. luckycharmfarm says:

    i also with you on this one.

    i live in south florida where in the warm months the grass needs to be cut twice a month and all the weed wacking around the house and pool deck is insane (to me).

    i am slowly bringing in native plants. starting with all the places where weed-wacking has to take place. there is a plant called mexican petunia down here. purple flowers year round. i am putting it all around the pool deck, house and driveway.

    there will always be some mowing since i have a horse pasture but over time, a more natural habitat will be just as nice as a manicured lawn.

  7. Miz Pat says:

    I live in the desert and I’ve already had gravel put in my front yard with drip irrigation to 3 small flower beds and then drip to selected desert plants on the side of the driveway.

    Even with depleted gravel, I still need yard work done but its greatly decreased the cost for me. (I’m allergic to a lot of plants and sensitive to sunlight and no i’m not a vampire), so working in the yard can be a huge bummer.

    Doing the gravel in the front has made the house look much better.

  8. James says:

    if you can do a one time trip to the nursery or local hardware store and get some plants and supplies, still maintain an attractive lawn and increase your personal free time this is the combination of a win win relationship with your yard. and i am all for it.

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