Ever consider going lawnless?

Discussion in 'Maples' started by JT1, Jul 11, 2013.

  1. JT1

    JT1 Contributor

    Messages:
    1,356
    Likes Received:
    373
    Location:
    Euclid, OH USA
    Since we don't play polo or cricket, we started asking ourselves if a grass lawn in the back is really practical. We considered stone, but I like the green contrast that the grass provides our planting beds. Dwarf mondo grass is cool, but it does not stand up to full sun well. We decided to go with Herniaria Glabra, a evergreen ground cover that has the texture of moss from a distance. The small 4" plants that were installed in April have really started to fill in nicely. We went with a small area of 'Kyoto dwarf' mondo grass at the beginning of the path too. Here are some pictures. If all goes well, the front yard maybe next.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. maplesandpaws

    maplesandpaws Active Member

    Messages:
    750
    Likes Received:
    16
    Location:
    KS -> northern AL, USA
    Hey JT, glad to hear I'm not the only one considering this! In the front we get a decent mixture of both sun and shade, and I have been considering some low-growing herbs, like the creeping thymes (elfin, woolly, etc) as well as creeping oregano or creeping golden oregano as both stand up nicely to foot traffic without being sharp or harsh on bare feet, both, once established, require very little water (we've been in drought mode the past 2-3 years), and both love the heat (plenty of that here!). What I like better about the thymes is that they will stay evergreen through the winter in our zone, while the oregano will not, especially if we have a cold winter like this past one. The only problem is I think our front yard may have a bit too much shade for either of them to flourish, as we have two very large silver maples in the front yard, and we face WNW.

    Portions of the backyard get significantly more sun, while others still get a lot of shade. But, the biggest dilemma we face in the back yard are Loken and Doppler, our sibe and our terv. They can very easily tear up the ground when they're playing outside and racing around. The groundcover you planted, how 'durable' is it supposed to be? Where did you get it? Might be something we need to look into...
     
  3. emery

    emery Renowned Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

    Messages:
    2,835
    Likes Received:
    1,711
    Location:
    Normandie, France
    Creeping thyme is lovely stuff, it gives off a scent when you walk on it. But I think the dogs will likely rip it to shreds.

    Personally I like lawn. We have what is sometimes called a "medium sized" garden, and the lawns make a peaceful backdrop to plantings. The kids and I all like lawn mowing. I find it a very zen activity, the more so since I got a big Iseki diesel mower last year that is very economical to run (on red) and much quieter than gas mowers, as well as very fast (big grass box means less emptying). Also the lawn is forgiving of kids, dogs, cats, foxes, boar and moles (deer don't seem to bother the lawn much), and gives us a place to play sports.

    The major inconvenience with a lot of lawn is the amount of strimming required to keep the edges looking good. Strimming is hard work.

    -E
     
  4. JT1

    JT1 Contributor

    Messages:
    1,356
    Likes Received:
    373
    Location:
    Euclid, OH USA
    My wife uses many varieties of thyme as ground cover in a variety of places throughout our planting beds. Whooly thyme is one of my favorites, because it covers so well and never needs pruning. Some varieties need regular pruning to keep them from getting long and leggy. This is not an issue with whooly thyme. We have it growing in full sun and part shade in the back yard. The stuff in part shade is just slower growing, but otherwise does not seem to mind its shady location. It stays evergreen here too.

    More info to follow on the ground cover we used, I am away from my computer with all the information bookmarks.
     
  5. jacquot

    jacquot Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

    Messages:
    174
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Larchmont Z7, NY, USA
    I have a small lawn in the front with lots of other plantings, and no grass in the back. I love it and so do the birds. The maples make for great spring and fall color and in between the perennials make flowers. There's also a nice Hawthorne and a Stewartia ovata. Always something going on. We have two terraces and then field stone walkway through it all. Yours looks great, ours is more like a walk in the woods.
     
  6. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

    Messages:
    20,712
    Likes Received:
    567
    Location:
    WA USA (Z8)
    To be a completely successful visual element lawns need a large space, where bold curves and large sweeps can be produced. Fine-textured plants like turf-grasses and heathers are not satisfactory in small amounts. And tight little lawns are hard to mow and edge. In this region spots and strips of grass also often end up being thin or partly bare, due to shading from the sides. Small areas are better paved with stones or surfaced with crushed rock.
     
  7. JT1

    JT1 Contributor

    Messages:
    1,356
    Likes Received:
    373
    Location:
    Euclid, OH USA
    The ground cover is supposed to be durable. Depending on the grower, it's marketed as a "stepables" http://www.stepables.com/ or Novalis® Plants that Work®
    in Nooks & Cranniesâ„¢ (which is the local grower we got our plants from via the Rock Pile Garden Center in Avon, OH). Here is more info on this plant from the grower Willoway Nursery http://www.willowaymarketing.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=plants.plantDetail&plant_id=102132&typeID=

    The first group of plants, we ordered from an online grower, because the local suppliers were late to get these out due to weather. Here is a link to that online seller:
    http://www.bloomindesigns.com/product/WHERNA/Hernaria-glabra-10-Flat.html

    The Dwarf mondo grass we purchased online, since it was not available locally.
    https://classygroundcovers.com/site/search?q=dwarf+mondo+grass

    The source above was recommended by the grounds manager in charge of the Japanese Garden at the Cleveland Botanical Garden, where there is a beautiful mass planting of Ophiopogon japonicus 'Nana' (it's dark green and will only tolerate morning sun in my area:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/japanesemaplegarden/8337295275/in/set-72157632410038281/lightbox/
     
  8. JT1

    JT1 Contributor

    Messages:
    1,356
    Likes Received:
    373
    Location:
    Euclid, OH USA
    We have officially gone off the deep end... Say goodbye to the front lawn!

    The mower is no longer going to take up space in the garage and lawn maintenance is now a thing of the past.

    We used haydite as a ground cover, in place of traditional stone. My wife snapped a few pictures this morning. I will get out at some point and take some more. Now the plantings are the stars of the front yard and there is no green grass to take away from them. We are thinking of using ground covers on the planting beds. This will make quite a contrast to the norm. A simple brownish grey lawn area with lush planting beds. Usually the opposite is found in the traditional suburban landscape.
     

    Attached Files:

  9. maplesandpaws

    maplesandpaws Active Member

    Messages:
    750
    Likes Received:
    16
    Location:
    KS -> northern AL, USA
    Very attractive!! Clean, simple, but with amazing visual impact, I really like it a lot. Wonder if I could convince hubby to do the same in our front yard... How did you get rid of the grass? What steps did you take to prep the area for the haydite, and how thick a layer do you have? Thankfully, I know a place locally I can get haydite in bulk. Starting to wonder how a half and half mix of haydite and chat might look...

    Keep us posted on how things fare over winter and in spring, I am very curious. Going this route up front would certainly make the yard attractive in the dead of summer when the grass is typically burnt to a crisp or non-existent, and would brighten up the yard (I would think) in winter too.
     
  10. JT1

    JT1 Contributor

    Messages:
    1,356
    Likes Received:
    373
    Location:
    Euclid, OH USA
    Thank you! I appreciate your positive feedback.

    I will let you know how it goes. I love haydite and use it in my potting mix for bonsai and my maples. We also use it in my planting mix for the beds. I use the bonsai blend for mixes and planting.

    For the yard, we decided to go with their "play ball" blend. It's a mix of the bonsai size and smaller, with all the dust screened out (like the dust found in their screening blend).

    I thought about going with a weed barrier, but then we decided to just let the soil breath and allow water to go into it without having a barrier shedding it away (and without the barrier, the haydite is anchored, rather than loosely rolling off the fabric/ weed barrier). The haydite does a wonderful job of directing the water downward and limiting runoff. It also does not wash out onto the driveway like mulch would and some stones do.

    This maybe controversial, so with that said I am ready for the lashing from those against herbicides. We used round up concentrate in a pump sprayer. My wife sprayed two applications. The second one was about 4 days after the first. The lawn was completely dead in a week. (for those who want to give me a piece of their mind, well please consider the fact we are no longer using fertilizer, mowing, or watering the lawn for the rest of our time here, so I think the impact of us using round up twice is a drop in the environmental impact bucket in comparison).

    The lawn and roots were removed and the dirt was graded smooth, slightly compacted due to foot traffic (and we have lots of clay below the topsoil). Then the haydite was spread out about 1-2" deep, shallower on the edges. It was poured out and then spread out evenly with a broom. We may go back and get another 5 bags to add some more and to have on hand for Spring. (my wife did all of this...Wow!)

    When I get a chance, I will take a picture of the two blends with a penny, so you can get an idea of the size, color, and texture.

    Until I get pictures, here are some links with information to consider:
    Planting beds, groundcover, dyed, etc..
    http://www.tuscanbedstone.com/
    Soils amendments:
    http://www.digeronimoaggregates.com/products/horticultural/
    Game on size (but my color is different than pictured)
    http://www.hayditegame-on.com/overview/index.html
     
  11. JT1

    JT1 Contributor

    Messages:
    1,356
    Likes Received:
    373
    Location:
    Euclid, OH USA
    We updated the front yard to silica sand (#8 size). I decided last year that the haydite was not a good color. It became even more apparent when a friend came by this Spring and asked why we had trenches dug in our front yard. The haydite came off too brown and that question was inspiration for my wife to get on my case about ordering the silica sand. Here are some updated pictures. Wish the lighting were better, but my computer is brought back from the dead and I am running with minimum programs, so photo editing is out right now.

    No more mowing or lawn care. With over a thousand dwarf plants, we are helping the environment or maybe its just a cover for our compulsive plant "hoarding disorder".
     

    Attached Files:

  12. Houzi

    Houzi Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    572
    Likes Received:
    77
    Location:
    Kent England
    Awe...despite all you've been thru the garden still looks beautiful...if not even more so.The plants are looking magnificent too!
     
  13. maplesandpaws

    maplesandpaws Active Member

    Messages:
    750
    Likes Received:
    16
    Location:
    KS -> northern AL, USA
    Lovely!! Very clean looking. Just one question though, with all the leaves come fall, between the sand (or turface) and mulch, how do you clean it all up? Raking is out of the question, I'm sure, does a leaf blower/vac work? Ours sucks up the mulch, which obviously isn't good... I'm trying to find a good solution for our garden area for this problem; we have tons of leaves (oak, cottonwood, maple, elm) since we back onto a creek.
     
  14. JT1

    JT1 Contributor

    Messages:
    1,356
    Likes Received:
    373
    Location:
    Euclid, OH USA
    Houzi, Thank you! Everything that was locally grown came through with flying colors. Some of the yellow evergreens do have some browning and our blue atlas cedar lost all its needles, but new ones are starting to push out in their place. There are two new maples Summer Gold and ibo nishiki. They replaced a dead Amber Ghost and goshiki kotohime that were Oregon grown. You can see the summer gold in the 4th photo and Ibo nishiki in the 3rd and 8th photo.

    maplesandpaws, Thank you! I am glad you like it. The stone is heavy for its size and its also irregular in shape and not rounded. It is slightly larger than pea gravel, but does have some slightly smaller stones mixed in. The irregular shape instead of round helps keep it in place. We had some very heavy rain and it did not move at all. My wife used the leaf blower to blow off the driveway and it did not disturb the stone. I guess time will tell and I will keep you posted. My friend uses a smaller version of the silica sand/ stone to start cuttings to provide good drainage with soil surrounding the sand for newly formed roots to grow into, so it does not impact ph like a limestone would and it does not hold water like haydite or regular fine sand would.
     
  15. ROEBUK

    ROEBUK Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

    Messages:
    884
    Likes Received:
    1,267
    Location:
    West Yorkshire, England
    Call me old fashioned but i do like to see a nice lawn in a garden ,don't get me wrong i think your garden looks superb with the nicely laid brick work, and it all works well with your planting scheme. We have the same kind of area around the side of the house ideal for sitting in the summer and looking at the roses azaleas and other various potted plants which we have on the patio.

    To me i like nothing more than a good couple of hours mowing and strimming the lawns 2 more in the front garden as well, gives me time to think and ponder what i can do next!! re the Acers :-)
     

    Attached Files:

  16. maplesandpaws

    maplesandpaws Active Member

    Messages:
    750
    Likes Received:
    16
    Location:
    KS -> northern AL, USA
    Roebuk - Absolutely lovely! When can I come visit? :)
     
  17. ROEBUK

    ROEBUK Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

    Messages:
    884
    Likes Received:
    1,267
    Location:
    West Yorkshire, England
    Thanks M&P would make for a interesting drive for you:) think you might get your feet wet though!!

    The garden looks great at the moment we have just had three days non stop rain, the trees look fantastic with the heavy hanging rain laden branches and leaves.
     
  18. JT1

    JT1 Contributor

    Messages:
    1,356
    Likes Received:
    373
    Location:
    Euclid, OH USA
    Here are updated pictures of the back yard. After the worst Winter on record the ground cover is thriving and stayed green all winter. Most lawns were full of snow mold and looked terrible into Spring. No maintenance required and herniaria glabra or green carpet rupturewort rewards you with a look of a highly maintained green space.
     

    Attached Files:

  19. maplesandpaws

    maplesandpaws Active Member

    Messages:
    750
    Likes Received:
    16
    Location:
    KS -> northern AL, USA
    Lovely JT! For the rupturewort, how 'durable' is it? Ie, could it handle dogs running on it do you think? Or would it be more suited to less traffic? How many plants did you need to fill in your yard?
     
  20. AlainK

    AlainK Generous Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society 10 Years

    Messages:
    2,459
    Likes Received:
    2,892
    Location:
    nr Orléans, France (E.U.)
    A little paradise on earth.

    Brick walls are one of the best background to enhance the colours of maples...
     
  21. Aisya

    Aisya Member

    Messages:
    63
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    UK
    I love lawns, more so after mowing.

    Love IMG_20130710_090525_207 JT....with lawn.
     

Share This Page