Picture this: you’re sitting in your kitchen, looking out the window at your back yard. It’s a bright, sunny summer day and your two young kids are running and rolling around on the deep green grass with Todd, your 4 year old Golden Retriever. A wistful smile plays across your lips until you begin to wonder just what your kids and pet are rolling around on. You walk into your garage, pull out all of the various chemicals that you use to keep your lawn looking so lush. “Keep out of reach of children!” “Harmful if Swallowed!” The warning labels fill you with a sense of dread as you wonder just how ‘healthy’ that grass that your loved ones are frolicking on really is. Soon, you find yourself in front of your laptop, searching for solutions to create a natural landscape in your backyard, an organic solution that will keep both your lawn and your family healthy. Well, read on–we’ll give you some tips to get started on that natural and organic yard!
Is a Natural Landscape Worth the Trouble?
With the emergence of so many natural landscapers and natural and organic landscape products, it would appear that many people feel that a natural landscape really is worth it, and those warning labels like the ones above that you can find on many chemical herbicides and pesticides may be more than enough to convince many to go natural with their lawn care.
However, aside from ridding your lawn of its dangerous dependence on chemicals, you can help make your lawn stronger and more independent by committing to natural landscaping practices. A robust soil that is healthy and free of chemicals is better able to take care of itself and thus there is less chance it will require chemical fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides ever again.
Read on to discover more tips about how you can create a natural landscape in your own backyard.
Give Your Lawn a Boost with Organic Compost
When starting your organic landscape routine, it is a good idea to begin with an organic compost. If you spread a half inch of organic compost on your lawn, not only can you help to improve the soil structure but you provide your soil with a host of beneficial organisms such as bacteria, algae and fungi that in turn will promote long-lasting soil health. In deciding which compost is best, you should keep an eye out for compost that is rich in organic plant material; you can find these types of compost at most nurseries or you can simply collect the compost in your own backyard compost bin.
Keep Building that Natural Landscape with Organic Fertilizer
In addition to organic compost, organic fertilizer is another way of building a strong, all natural landscape. Organic fertilizers contain a host of helpful organic materials such as seaweed for potassium, bone meal for phosphorous, and feather meal for nitrogen. These beneficial organics provide a much steadier and evenly-balanced stream of nutrition than conventional fertilizers, which inject a heavy instantaneous dose of synthetic nitrogen.
The Native Grass is Greener and Better for your Landscape
Another important step in making your lawn a more natural landscape is to overseed, or even replace, existing non-native grass with native or organic grass seed. Native turf-grass seed is a fantastic option since such seeds are at home with the local soil conditions and average annual rainfall and thus require less water and are more disease resistant than non-native grass such as Kentucky bluegrass from Europe or St. Augustine grass from Africa. One of the best options for native grasses is buffalo grass. This is a low-growing grass that only needs to be mowed once a month and is extremely drought-resistant.
Get Rid of Those Weeds
Yes, okay, it is true that you will have to pay greater attention to weeds and pests when taking care of your naturally landscaped lawn. However, there are some means of organic weed control out there that will make this much easier for you. In spring, you can spread corn gluten meal on your lawn to help prevent weeds (just be sure not to spread corn gluten meal while overseeding as it will prevent germination of grass seeds in addition to weeds). Corn gluten meal is a natural weed preventative and while it is only 65 percent as effective, it can still go a long way to prevent weed infestations.
Make sure that you pay attention to the existence of weeds and pests, as they can be a sign of deeper problems with your soil. Crabgrass, for instance, can be a sign of soil compaction as it normally appears only in high traffic areas such as along driveways. If you find Crabgrass, take it out with an Orec Samurai Walk Behind Brush Cutter or a Cyclone Walk Behind Flail Mower, then be sure to aerate the area in order to take care of the compaction.
Care for Your Natural Landscape the Right Way
In choosing how to mow your naturally grown lawn, the same wisdom applies: if you cut it too short, the grass won’t develop the roots it needs to fight and fend off disease. So, make sure you know what height your grass type needs to develop and maintain these roots and keep mow at these heights. It is also a good idea to have a mower with an adjustable blade height, Such as the Orec Samurai, to ensure that your grass is cut at a uniform height.
The Rewards of a Natural Landscape are Worth the Effort
All you need is a little patience and some elbow grease, and you will soon enjoy a completely natural landscape that doesn’t rely on chemicals and is easy on your conscience. Just be sure to use the right tools—an Orec Brush Mower comes to mind!