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Lawnless and Loving it!by Chris Lewis, CNPS Sac Valley Gardening Committee Western Redbud, Snowberry, California Fuchsia
Why go Lawnless?Water is a scarce natural resourcebut 60 %+ of summer water in theSacramento area goes to maintainingLAWNS. (Audubon)The average gardener applies 20 timesmore pesticides than farmers do. (EPA)Most commonly used mowers emit 11 timesthe air pollution of a new car for each hourof operation. (EPA)
How to get rid of lawn?There’re probably 50 ways to loose the lawn!Here are just a few ideas: California Aster Shade it out Allow leaves to pile up with leaves or newspapers and smother it. Organic herbicides Herbicides work well but be sure that no chemicals run off into waterways. Dig it out Like hand-weeding but harder!Go slowly. Take out only the amount of lawn that you have a plan for.
What can you do now?Children’s GardenWater GardenHabitat GardenEdible GardenVineyardRain GardenMeadow!Rock Garden California Poppy
Children’s GardenMiner’s lettuce lines the path under the Live Oaks. Investigate the pollinators attracted to Showy Milkweed!
Water Garden Water is often good for our souls… and it’s necessary for wildlife like these Cedar Waxwings!
Habitat Garden‘Blues’ feeding on Buckbrush nectar photo by Arvind Kumar Mourning dove family in Valley Oak 5’ from my front door
Edible GardenWestern Blackberry! California Grape! Miner’s Lettuce!
Vineyard Lady Bug on Fiddleneck Pipevine Swallowtail Butterfly on PoppyWildflowers between the rows will bring in pollinators for your vines!
Rain Garden“A Rain Garden is aplanted depression thatallows rainwater runofffrom roofs, driveways,walkways, andcompacted lawn areasthe opportunity to beabsorbed.”This house is below streetlevel and this ‘rain garden’absorbs all runoff. Valley Oak, Silver Bush Lupine, Miner’s lettuce
Meadows 2 views of wildflowers at Table Mountain Carex praegracilis ‘lawn’Cornflower Farms Nursery, Elk Grove
Rock Garden Dudleya cymosa Dudleya cymosa flower Saxifraga CalifornicaPhotos by Randy Smith Goldback Fern
The Native Plant AdvantageGo native. But which ones you ask? Plants indigenous to your area. The more local the plant, the more likely Pipevine swallowtail you’ll provide habitat for critters. and Blue Dick Nature has grouped plants in plant communities. So if you think about what grows together in nature, those plants can grow together in similar conditions in your garden.
Native PlantsSave Water:Once established, many native plants needminimal irrigation beyond normal rainfall. Black PhoebeLow Maintenance:If you remove the weed seed bank before planting and plantaccording to watering needs, you’ll have a low maintenancegarden.Pesticide Freedom: Native Plants have developed their own defensesagainst many pests and diseases.Wildlife Viewing:Research shows that native wildlife prefers native Native Beeplants.Support Local Ecology: As development replaces natural habitats, planting gardens,parks, and roadsides with California natives can provide a“bridge” to nearby remaining wildlands.
AFTER Taking lawn out can be inspiring! Design & labor by Lil Ordaz
Take any ‘Waterwise’ Garden Plan‘Corner of Shrubs’Better Homes & Gardens
Simple Replacements A. Pink Spires Flowering Crabapple Pink blooms are followed by small purple- red fruits; leaves are bronzy green. 15’-20’ tall. B. Kelsey Dwarf Dogwood Compact, mounded shape, red stems. 2’-3’ tall. C. Blue Mist Fothergilla Honey-scented white blooms, bluish foliage. 4’ tall. D. Bird’s Nest Spruce Gray-green, globe-shaped evergreen. 3’ tall. E. Periwinkle (Vinca minor) evergreen leaves, blue flowers, creeping stems. 6"-12" tall. (This is actually INVASIVE!)Local Native Alternatives (little to no water needed once established)A. Western Redbud (Cercis occidentalis) Magenta flowers in spring, fall color varies, informal look. 20’ tall.B. Redtwig Dogwood (Cornus stolonifera) White flower in spring, red stems in winter.C. Buck brush (Ceanothus cuneatus) fragrant evergreen shrub, flowers vary from blue to white, in late spring 6’-8’D. Coyote Brush (Baccharis pilularis) White flowering in winter, evergreen 3’-6’E. Yerba Buena (Satureja douglasii) evergreen groundcover with white flowers; then add California fuschia (Epilobium canum) fall flowering 12”; and Wooly sunflower (Eriophyllum lanatum) summer flowering 8”, (use Sonoma Sage if full sun)Above: Yerba Buena flower and Monarch butterfly caterpillar
City of Santa Monica’s GardenGarden Project Native Landscaping Traditional Landscaping6,000 250 pounds 15 hours 57,000 670 pounds 60 hoursGallons Yard waste Maintenance Gallons Yard waste Maintenance
Playing with Oak galls under a Christmas Berry Bush.Create a place to explore, learn, and play among trees and the natural world.