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The Lawn as an Accent

Last time I talked about how the lawn is a great way to ensure young kids have a fun, safe place to play. But what if you don’t have a need for a full lawn, but still want to keep part of it in your new garden plan? Think of the lawn as an accessory in your new pollinator garden. The curving bed lines for your new garden, contrasted against a lush green lawn is a great way to preserve a little of the traditional American landscape, to create a space from which to view the new garden, and to conform with the more traditional landscapes in the neighborhood. Of course, how we care for the lawn will be different.  If we strive to have a garden that supports nature, using excessive chemicals to keep the lawn healthy is counterintuitive. Careful application of certain products is acceptable, but you can also embrace a more natural way to care for the lawn. As with any plant, the healthier it is, the better able it is to ward off pests and disease. A healthy lawn is thicker, which shades the soil, keeping it cooler and thus reducing its water needs. A thick lawn also helps to suppress weeds. We will also mow the lawn less often. It’s not a putting green we’re maintaining after all. Note, organic fertilizers will support the health of the lawn but will not kill weeds.

If a new garden is on the horizon, and you’ve decided where the paths will be, one option is to employ the lawn as your garden path. Because traffic will be directed to one area of the lawn, it will receive more focused wear and tear. Make your path wider than the traditional three feet to allow foot traffic space to spread out along the lawn path. A wider lawn path allows for ample space to walk should you like to have plants overhanging the bed edges. Fair warning: when you have a lawn path, it needs to be mown and plants that drape or cascade onto the lawn may succumb to the mower.  If space and finances allow, consider a lawn path edged with cobblestones or bricks. Now your plants that ever so gracefully spill out from the garden, will rest safely on the hardscape border.

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