Category: lawns









But seriously, when we got our property, it was all just…grass. A sterile grass moonscape, like a billion other yards. With two big old maple trees. Just grass and maples, that was it. 

But then I got my grubby little paws on it, and I immediately stopped fertilizing, spraying, and bagging up grass clippings and leaves. I ripped up sod and put in flowers and vegetables. I put down nice thick blankets of mulch around the flowers and vegetables. 

When I first was sweating my way through stripping sod, I saw a grand total of 1 worm and 0 ladybugs. The ground was compacted into something that would bend shovel blades. 

Now, six years later, I can’t dig a planting hole without turning up fourteen earthworms, and there are so many ladybugs here. Not the invasive asian lady beetles; native ladybugs. They winter over in the mulch and in the brush pile. I see thousands of them. 

The soil is soft and rich. There are birds that come to eat, and bees of many sorts.

Like this is something that you, yourself, can absolutely change. This is something that you, personally, can make a difference in.

Like, last year I watched no fewer than twenty-nine monarch caterpillars grow up on my milkweed and fly away as butterflies. I watched swallowtails and moths grow. There are hummingbirds fighting over flowers now.

I did that. Me. You can do the same.

I would like to learn how to do this. Sometimes it all seems so overwhelming. I just want to find someone who can come over for a cuppa, and we can wander the yard and they can make me a plan. 

Preferably a very easy to follow, doesn’t take too much time every day plan.

It’s not nearly so intimidating as it sounds.

You can do a whole lot of good just by not spraying your yard, not mowing it so often, and not raking up leaves and grass.

But as a certified Lazy Ass Gardener, I can tell you for 100% certain that this is attainable, and requires absolutely zero, none, nada, zilch expensive or complicated equipment.

I don’t even have a plan. I just do things.

Wait so, dont mow as much, dont pick up the grass when you mow, and dont pick up leaves and your grass is healthier? my dad likes to mow the lawn every one to 2 weeks in the summer💀 what other tips do you guys have?

Yup. Those grass and leaf clippings rot down and fertilize the soil.

Grass does BETTER when it’s not mown short, and gives more hiding places to all sorts of insects.

Don’t spray. Let the bugs and ‘weeds’ live.

i have a 10’x10’ piece of garden that i initially used to grow things, but i abandoned it completely and now its absolutely covered in “weeds” and i even have a volunteer shrub that makes berries! the amount of native bees and other insects i attract is incredible. and all i do to maintain it is nothing.

For reals. I have to mow my front yard (I live in an HOA… ugh), but I don’t bag my clippings. I never water my yard (and I live in Texas!), but my grass is green all year. The clippings and mulched leaves keep in moisture and they’re nature’s fertilizer! Lizards and frogs hide under the leaves and clippings, and when you remove those, you are removing their habitat. Bugs will show up and munch on the clippings, and their waste adds more nutrients as well. I don’t fertilize. I don’t spray. I let nature do its thing. Even just in the front, there are bugs everywhere. I’ve found the tiny green sweat bees nesting in the ground under my rose bush, and the giant cicada killer wasps had a nest somewhere in my front yard last year–I couldn’t find it, but they were pollinating the sorrelvine that randomly showed up and decided to climb up my oak tree (which was the host plant for the Vine Sphinx moths and the first batch of sawflies I raised!)

In the back? I planted a few things in a small garden area, and I intentionally planted three (3) trees, but I’m busy/lazy and the back yard became the paradise jungle it is when I was writing my Master’s thesis after moving into this house, and I never had the heart to start mowing it. A bunch more trees decided to start growing on their own and I constantly have to murder soapberry and hackberry and elm saplings. My yard is covered in a mix of native plants and invasive bunch grass, in addition to random grains and sunflowers growing under the bird feeders. They all serve as hosts for insects. 

In less than three years, I have documented almost 1000 species of plants, insects, birds, fungi, slime molds, and mammals. My yard is 0.10 acres. I have ladybugs crawling out of my ears. The larvae are pupating all over my horse skeleton!!!

So yeah. Want species diversity in your yard? Plant native plants. Are you a lazy ass like me and want species diversity? Then don’t do anything, congratulations, nature still wins (just look out for all those invasives, and have fun pulling out catchweed -_-)

April 5, 2019

Scientists studied ‘lazy lawn mowers.’ It turn…

Scientists studied ‘lazy lawn mowers.’ It turns out they’re saving the bees, study finds:







Neighbors might not thank you if you cut back on mowing the lawn, but your local pollinators will.

Becoming a “lazy lawn mower” and trimming the grass every two weeks, rather than weekly, can help foster vital bee habitat in suburban yards, according to a new study from researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

More time between mowings means more lawn flowers (like clover and dandelions) have time to bloom in the yard, researchers said — and those blooming flowers can help improve struggling bee populations and increase biodiversity.


Another way you can save bees!

“Weeds” to you is food for native bees!

This is actually my parent’s yard. But you can hide your weedy bits for pollinators including native bees and butterflies by leaving a space behind your flower beds or behind your shed for the weeds. 

True story, I had a lawn care person come up to my door and try to sell me lawn service and herbicide bc my yard is just naturally 50% weeds (

Florida pusley clover what not) and 50 % super sad grass (its Florida and it’s been several dry years and my family does not water the grass bc waste of water). And I just looked at her after she called my lawn unruly and was like I like my lawn that way and so do the butterflies. 

I mow my front yard because my HOA will fine me if I don’t. But my backyard is another story–never mowed it once since I moved here two years ago. So far I’ve documented over 600 species of plants and animals (mostly bugs because… I mean come on), although I’ve learned that letting it “go wild” and fend for itself only works as long as the invasive grasses don’t choke everything else out. I’ve been putting out Saint Augustine and Rescue grass out by the roots almost every day and I swear it’s a never ending battle. Those grasses plus catchweed are the only things I really consider weeds.

I HATE SAINT AUGUSTINE GRASS SO MUCH. It’s terrible. Like when it rains so much it just creates hidden puddles that you sink into. And its so hard to pull out when it decides to invade the flower bed. Plus it sucks so much water to stay green and I am anti having to water grass. 

I never got people needing to root daisies out of lawns because I personally think a lawn looks nicer with them, but different strokes. 

In the UK at least you can actually buy “lawn mixes” that include lawn grasses and grassland plants that thrive under heavy grazing such as this one here from Emorsgate Seeds (I’ve been to their site actually, they’re involved with my project, and they really know their stuff). I’m sure there must be companies in the US and elsewhere that provide similar services. If you want to try and make your own, look for plants associated with things like grazed hillsides and pasture systems I guess?

An important point though: Disturbance maintains biodiversity.
Mowing isn’t terrible in of itself. It’s all about the balance between growth and cutting back, just as grazers maintain grasslands, mowing can maintain garden health. Some species prefer knee-high grasslands while others prefer a shorter sward height, this goes for both plants and animals. @nanonaturalist your back garden might benefit from being cut back once every year or two? Might be interesting to cut back a small area for comparison (plus habitat heterogeneity)?

Left without any cutting back, over time certain species will begin to dominate and others will naturally disappear. Some species are good at getting in early, flowering and dying back, while others take a slow and steady course, taking space and making it theirs. Without grazing or mowing, these slower species eventually just edge everything else out.

This is a particular issue with wildflower meadows. There’s been a bit of a thing for them in recent years in the UK, well, last decade really, trying to plant more and bring them back because they’re amazing for biodiversity and also super pretty. But a lot of people and organisations don’t seem to understand you don’t just plant seeds and go “boom, meadow”. Wildflower meadows need yearly mowing unless you want them to just become grass. Without a yearly maintenance scheme they quickly become degraded and ratty and the flowers disappear, smothered under last year’s grass. 

Here’s a RHS page on wildflower meadow maintenance that probably explains this all better than I did.

I’ve been manually pulling out all the grass. Taking me a while but I’ll get there! In the back, it’s mostly rescue brome, which is a bunch grass with a very shallow root system. It’s easy to grab and yank out, I just need to watch out for fire ants.

My first year, huge bushes of yard aster popped up after I neglected to keep up the mowing (I had a master’s thesis to finish), so my second year (last year) I used the same approach of not doing anything. And it ended up becoming grass-heavy with only a few, tiny aster bushes. So this year, the grass is coming out.

I’ve been meaning to start a wildflower garden in the back, been collecting seeds and everything, but I have not had the free time and/or every time I go out there I get distracted by bugs 🤐