Author Topic: Native garden => no lawn mowing  (Read 3112 times)

FrugalAussie

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Native garden => no lawn mowing
« on: June 29, 2013, 10:11:38 PM »
I wrote about us replacing lawn with a native garden on the topic of 'lawn mowing' but on reflection I think it deserves its very own topic as I didn't realize how badass we were until I wrote about it. Of course a native garden isn't suitable for all yards/locations but for us, with Statewide restrictions on when we can water our gardens (twice per week) and a reluctance to care for lawn that looks half dead in Summer and full of weeds in Winter this was a good solution...

We brought a house with front and back lawns.  The front we converted to a native garden (we live in Western Australia) and did have some weed/grass issues at first but after applying lots of layers of free mulch (from the Shire) we have only the occasional weed.  We don't water the front garden, even during our long, dry Summers and never use fertilizer. We slowly added the plants over two years as we got them free - from my partner's work once a year, transplanted from the back yard, from the Shire and as gifts.  We're now looking to add some Bush Tucker (native food plants) which we'll have to pay for but we'll purchase them small so the cost should be minimal.  So basically, the front yard cost us almost nothing to convert and while it took initial work to convert it it, now takes very little time to maintain and we didn't have to pay $ to buy a lawn mower.

The back yard is a different story.  We're converting it into a food garden have 3 chickens.  It's a long term project that does take time and money, though we're doing it MMM style. It's our hobby and a passion we both share so we consider the work fun, certainly more fun than mowing, fertilizing and watering a lawn. So far we have about 15 fruit trees and lots of greens growing. We've had disappointments but that's the nature of gardening, the disappointments make us really appreciate the successes and we keep learning so hopefully production will increase. We certainly eat better as there are always a few greens to pick to add to our mostly vegetarian diet and herbs to add flavor.

I'm out of the country at the moment but when I return to Australia permanently in October I'll be semi-retired so I'll spend a lot of my spare time pottering in the garden as well as getting involved in our local community garden. Ahhh, I can't wait. 

happy

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Re: Native garden => no lawn mowing
« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2013, 10:35:51 PM »
Hey great work on being mower free! I'm not there yet, but am working on it. I live in a high rainfall area, so have different issues but natives +  the good survivors already on the block + food is what I am aiming at. I also have a lot of plants on the property that can be divided, so I am gradually moving these around and covering more ground with hardy bullet proof plants.  I hope I will have less and less to weed as time goes on. I still have some lawn which needs mowing but its getting less and less.  I have a nearly closed system for pruning/shredding/composting and mulching. Still dreaming about chooks...

Jamesqf

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Re: Native garden => no lawn mowing
« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2013, 11:12:47 PM »
Still there's the question: without a lawn of some sort, where the heck do you sit?  I do have a large part of my garden devoted to native/xeric plants.  It's pretty to look at and to walk through, but even the areas of native grasses are not all that comfortable as sitting spots.

FrugalAussie

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Re: Native garden => no lawn mowing
« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2013, 03:19:14 AM »
Fare comment Jamesqf.  We don't sit out the front, as there's no privacy.  Which to me proves, at least in my area, how useless front yards can be.  Out the back we have a large undercover patio where we usually eat on the weekends and we follow the shade/sun/breeze around depending on the season, moving lightweight chairs and a side table for the cups of tea or glasses of beer. 

Happy, we're also aiming for a closed system, except for the free Shire mulch, using chook manure, worm castings, compost and green manure crops for soil nutrition but we're a ways off yet.  Another project is aquaponics, using old recycled fridges as grow beds.  That project is moving very slowly. I'm jealous of your rainfall, it's really hard growing vegies in WA in Summer as it gets so hot and dry.  Many people give up over Summer and just grow when the heat eases off. We've found caring for chooks easy. We salvaged the housing so the only cost is the chooks and some feed, supplemented with scraps and garden produce. They're great entertainment. 

Stillworking

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Re: Native garden => no lawn mowing
« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2013, 06:18:45 AM »
Any chance we can see some pictures?

hoodedfalcon

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Re: Native garden => no lawn mowing
« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2013, 06:52:40 AM »
This sounds amazing! Yes to pictures!!

mahina

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Re: Native garden => no lawn mowing
« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2013, 04:01:45 AM »
thanks for breaking this topic out of the mowing thread. though it may not be less work than mowing grass, caring for fruit trees, veggie beds, and native ornamentals is a satisfying hobby, which also provides food for your family and friends, habitat for wildlife, and support for soil and watershed.

for sitting outside, a casual paved area can be made with broken pieces of concrete, stained a terracotta color, with a small groundcover in the cracks (depending on location, sun, shade, etc). an area covered in bark or pine needles can also be a nice place to park your chaise, especially if it's under a tree. all these materials can be sourced on the cheap.

happy summer everyone!

Stachsquatch

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Re: Native garden => no lawn mowing
« Reply #7 on: July 05, 2013, 01:32:57 PM »
The interwebs demands pictures!