Replacing Your Lawn – CSU #Pueblo County Extension – Coyote Gulch
Click the link to read the article on the Pueblo County Extension CSU (Sherie Shaffer) website:
We’ve had a lot of questions lately from homeowners wanting to replace their lawns with more water-efficient and beneficial plants. It’s a fantastic trend, given that water is a very limited resource and lawns don’t have much to offer our native pollinators.
If lawn replacement is on your mind, here are some things to think about. The first thing to consider is how much of your lawn are you actually using? Considering lawn replacement doesn’t necessarily mean getting rid of the entire lawn, but reducing your lawn to the areas that are used. Children use lawns for running and playing, as do pets. Keeping lawns that are used is great, but if you have lawns that aren’t being used, you might want to consider replacing them with something else.
Once you have identified the areas of lawn you wish to replace, the next step is to get rid of the lawn. There are a few options. One option is to cover unwanted grass areas with a thick layer of newspaper or cardboard for about 2 months. This will choke the lawn and kill it, leaving you with a blank slate. You can also plow the area several times over a period. A faster, although less environmentally friendly, way to get rid of the lawn would be to use a non-selective herbicide. If you go this route, be sure to read the label and follow all instructions. Never apply herbicides to flowering plants visited by pollinators (such as dandelions) and avoid spraying when it’s windy or over 80°F to prevent drift, which could harm desirable plants .
Once the lawn is gone, I would suggest considering doing a soil test. If you’re going to put in the effort to plant something new and beautiful, you might as well see what’s going on in your soil and what you can do to make it optimal for your new plants. If you don’t want to have your soil tested, you can simply add plant-based compost and mix it with the original soil. This will help with soil texture, which will improve drainage and moisture retention.
Now for the exciting part, what should you plant?? If you want to keep the same look as your lawn, you can opt for a ground cover plant. Creeping thyme, speedwell, creeping jenny, sedum, or oregano are low-growing options you can investigate. A complete list of water-efficient ground covers can be found here: https://extension.colostate.edu/topic-areas/yard-garden/xeriscaping-ground-cover-plants-7-230/.
You can also lay out garden beds that have annual and perennial flowers. CSU Extension has many plant lists if you need inspiration on what to plant. You can start browsing here: https://cmg.extension.colostate.edu/gardening-resources/online-garden-publications/flowering-herbaceous-plants-flowers-ground-covers-and-ornamental-grasses/.
The Master Gardener Helpline is open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9am-11am and 2pm-4pm if you would like further advice on replacing your lawn from a trained volunteer.