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 grasses, and so on.

All good!  Well, mostly good – because that well-intentioned advice isn’t easy to actually implement, without a LOT more information.  Which groundcovers? Which native grasses – and native to where, anyway?  How much do the alternatives cost, can they be walked on, and how much work does it really take to maintain them?

My mixed reviews of much of the lawn-free cheering has me wildly cheering the thoroughly researched and honestly reported definitive book about reducing or eliminating lawns by Evelyn Hadden.  Beautiful No-Mow Yards contains exactly the kind of info that’s needed, and its gorgeous photographs (most by Evelyn and the wonderful Saxon Holt, too) are deeply inspirational to anyone looking to make their yards more interesting, more beautiful, and more wildlife-friendly.

Meet Evelyn

Readers of GardenRant are no strangers to this subject (see the many stories in our Lawn Reform category), but may not be familiar with the author.  Well, Evelyn is THE original lawn reformer, having written Shrink Your Lawn and created the Less Lawn website back in 2001.  She’s a pioneer whose cause has caught on.

What’s in Beautiful No-Mow Yards

  • Photos and stories about gardens sunny and shady, flat and hilly, a “shockingly simple meadow garden”, a “patio for pennies”, rain gardens, edibles, ponds, terraces, hellstrips and more.
  • “Smarter lawns” using fine fescue mixes, carexes, and other low-resource grass types, including where each type works best and what it takes to install and maintain them.
  • Real gardeners and the truth about their attempts to replace their lawns, failures and all.
  • How-to chapters for killing the lawn, designing alternatives, and maintaining them.
  • An illustrated guide to groundcovers by type.

Here’s Evelyn’s quick video introduction to the book.

And on a personal note, that’s my garden on the cover, photo by Saxon Holt.  (Though I suppose I should start saying “former garden,” since I sold it three weeks ago. Sigh.)

Plus, I wrote the forward, happy to help in any way I could because this book is soooo needed.

So I feel like the proud aunt to Evelyn’s baby. Her beautiful, superbly written baby.  Great job!