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How to Teach a Town to Garden – Ideas, Please!

The Mission To turn my mostly-lawn community of 1,600 townhouses, some with incredibly large yards, into a place with gardens that benefit the environment and humans, too.   We do have large trees and lots of geometrically shaped hedges, but that’s about it, except for the houses on the perimeter that face the woods.  (Sadly, there’s […]

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Posted by on February 22, 2013 at 9:13 am   This post has 39 responses.

The American Lawn Predates the Civil War

Susan asked in a post whether we should blame Frederick Law Olmsted for the popularity of lawn in the U.S., and we have an answer by guest ranter Thomas Mickey. Recent posts have appeared on this site that blasted the American obsession with the lawn.  I have no problem...

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Posted by on January 15, 2013 at 1:52 pm   This post has 6 responses.

How the rest of the world solves the front-yard problem? No front yard!

Time for a follow-up to my recent criticism of the all-turf American front yard, which we can thank Olmsted for popularizing both in parks and in front of homes.  When commissioned to design a new town, he mandated 30-foot setbacks from the street. Readers here know that front yards...

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Read related articles in: Designs, Tricks, and Schemes, Lawn Reform
Posted by on January 4, 2013 at 9:11 am   This post has 32 responses.

An Anti-Valentine to the Lawn

For Valentine's Day, Timber Books has invited some bloggers to write anti-valentines to lawns, to help spread the word about Beautiful No-Mow Yards. (Click here to see the anti-Valentines of my blogging buddies.) I'll start with a photo that shows lawn at its most perfect and ridiculous.  Next, here...

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Posted by on February 14, 2012 at 4:30 am   This post has 18 responses.

More Beautiful No-Mow Yards

As promised in my first post about this book, here are more photos from the book, just a few of my favorites. Above, the tiny urban back yard of DC Master Gardener Barbara Dinsmore.  Photo by Lucy Dinsmore. Below, pink muhly grass in a California yard.  Photo by Saxon...

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Posted by on January 24, 2012 at 1:15 pm   This post has 12 responses.

Beautiful No-Mow Yards is just what American gardeners need. And you can win it right here

In the last year or so, we’re hearing that there are better uses for our land than turfgrass, that unless it’s needed for sport or play, you can save on resources and probably your labor, too, by switching to an array of alternatives – meadows, vegetable gardens, native grasse,...

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Posted by on January 24, 2012 at 6:54 am   This post has 161 responses.

Who will buy my lawnless garden?

Breaking news – to anyone who knows me and assumed I’d never, ever leave my garden – I’m selling it and the house it surrounds.  Time to move on. Selling the Complicated Garden Any realtor will tell you that nice gardens may or may not be advantages in selling...

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Posted by on September 27, 2011 at 6:25 am   This post has 19 responses.

Contribute photos of groundcovers that can replace lawns!

Lawn Reformers are getting lots of questions about specific plants that can be used en masse to create a low, lawn-like expanse in the landscape and we're frustrated by the lack of detailed, regionally specific information about the plants people are asking about – Carexes, buffalo grass, low-input grass...

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Posted by on September 24, 2011 at 6:31 pm   This post has 6 responses.

Garden Designers Roundtable: From lawn to Sedum, clover, bare soil and erosion!

The Garden Designers Roundtable invited the Lawn Reform Coalition to be their guest blogger(s) this month, combining forces to publish 19 articles about Lawn Replacement on the same day, and linking to each other. Great idea, designers!  Scroll down for the links to those 18 other blog posts, including...

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Posted by on August 22, 2011 at 9:02 pm   This post has 37 responses.

Turf is top topic in my town’s parade

You've seen the partying spectators for my town's July 4th Parade.  Now for the turf- and gardening-related floats and people IN the parade. This group of reel-mowers have been at it for 15 or so years now, way ahead of the rest of the Lawn Reform movement.  I believe...

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Read related articles in: Gardening on the Planet, Lawn Reform
Posted by on July 19, 2011 at 8:06 am   This post has 7 responses.

Dead trees! Killer compost! Thanks to DuPont and their herbicide Imprelis.

Boy, this sounds familiar.  A new chemical that's claimed to safely kill dandelions and other turfgrass weeds turns out to be not safe at all.  This time the unintended consequence is killing nearby trees.  We heard from Mother Earth News about it, asking us to spread the word that:...

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Posted by on July 19, 2011 at 4:46 am   This post has 9 responses.

Lawn Reform Blog is Born!

 Standard-issue "lawn care" information is OUT.  Lawn reform information is not only IN, it's important, dammit.  So 15 months ago the Lawn Reform Coalition launched a website filled with alternatives to the conventional, overly perfect and supersized American lawn.  Next came our Facebook page, which quickly grew to over...

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Posted by on January 17, 2011 at 3:30 am   This post has 10 responses.

An Appalling Waste of Horticultural And Scientific Talent? You Betcha

Turf without management I hate to be shockable at 50–it's unseemly–but I was doing some research yesterday and was shocked to learn that Colorado State University has an entire degree program devoted to "turf management." This program is taught by actual Ph.D.s.  It leads to glorious management careers, the...

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Read related articles in: Gardening on the Planet, Lawn Reform, Ministry of Controversy
Posted by on January 6, 2011 at 4:41 am   This post has 50 responses.

New York bans phosphorus? Huh?

Algae in Lake Erie. Courtesy of the Ohio Sierra Club. For a state government that is generally immobilized under the weight of its own bureaucracy, inefficiency, and stupidity, the crew in Albany have shown a certain activism when it comes to horticultural regulations. I was taken by surprise when...

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Read related articles in: Lawn Reform, Ministry of Controversy
Posted by on August 24, 2010 at 5:00 am   This post has 5 responses.

In the Washington Post: “Toss the turf.”

There's a great story by Adrian Higgins in today's Washington Post titled "Lose the Lawn" – and look at it on the cover of their Local Living section!  Here's the introductory story, in which Higgins weighs in with his own conclusion on the subject:  "Toss the turf."  (As if...

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Posted by on July 22, 2010 at 9:54 am   This post has 25 responses.

Good News – Campus Lawns are Controversial!

We knew this was coming – the great lawns of college campuses are being challenging on environmental grounds.  As Mark Hough, Duke's landscape architect, says in a recent issue of Landscape Archiecture Magazine, "Everyone now knows that high-maintenance turf must be questioned."  And "The use of lawn is being...

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Posted by on July 19, 2010 at 3:45 am   This post has 28 responses.

I Can’t Believe We’re Even Having This Conversation.

  Actual words used on GardenRant to talk about what people do with their front yards: "Practically no one wants a meadow out their front door." "A meadow in a suburban development looks suspiciously like a weedy, unkempt yard at an abandoned property.  Neighbors are not amused." "Mowing requires...

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Posted by on July 7, 2010 at 6:39 am   This post has 63 responses.

Do people really want meadows on their quarter-acre lots?

All the talk about meadows we're hearing these days is great, but let's get real – practically no one wants a meadow out their front door.  Or out their back door.  Or anywhere they have to walk through.  Which kinda leaves the back 40 for real meadows, or at...

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Posted by on July 5, 2010 at 4:42 am   This post has 29 responses.

Big Lawn Reform Update

Saxon Holt, photographer of meadows, grasses, lawn alternatives and sustainable gardens of all types, has joined us.  We are now 10. We have a Facebook Page, y'all, so click here to "Like" us and follow what's happening.  If you're one of the hundreds who joined our Facebook Group, sorry...

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Posted by on June 22, 2010 at 3:55 pm   This post has one response.

Lawn update – the good, bad and just less of it

Lawn in the News "Study shows that Lawns May Contribute to Global Warming" say the headlines, but the study actually confirms what we all knew – that conventional lawn care is the culprit, not really the turfgrass itself. Findings are summarized in UC Irvine Today: Turfgrass lawns help remove...

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Posted by on January 25, 2010 at 4:34 am   This post has 13 responses.
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