Show Notes

In this episode, we talk about how to have a healthy lawn and a low maintenance lawn.  Is it possible to have a low maintenance lawn that your neighbors envy?


  • Grass: Love/hate relationship
    • Aesthetics
    • Work
  • Maintenance
    • Mowing/growth
    • Feeding
    • General grass health
    • Weeds
  • Health
    • Chemical residues/exposure
    • Exhaust
      • Epa:
        • 17 million gallons of gas
        • 5% US air pollution
        • 600 million gallons used
      • Health
        • Highest heat time
        • High respiration
        • Inhalation
  • Easy steps to take control of lawn and life
    • Reduce mowing frequency
      • Focus on your real priorities
    • Raise mower height
      • Inc health
      • Better roots
      • Reduced growth rate
      • Shade out weeds
      • Healthier grass plants
    • Mulch clippings
      • Fertilizer for grass, soil food
    • Reduce unnecessary irrigation
      • Early AM only
      • Increases plant resilience
      • Reduce fungal disease
      • Reduce water bill
    • Feed only when necessary
      • Organic amendments, non concentrated
      • Only when necessary
  • Legit steps to low maintenance lawn and landscape
    • Reduce size
      • Garden beds
      • Prairie/meadow
      • Xeriscape
    • Focus maintenance on major use areas
    • Replace as much lawn as possible with low maintenance cover
      • No-mow lawn
        • North: fescues
        • South: buffalograss and Blue Grama
          • Arid, hotter
      • Sedges
      • Creeping thyme, other
      • Establishment is key
        • Episode 10
      • Add clover
        • Naturally fertilize lawn
        • Especially if you have medic, birds foot trefoil
        • Incompatible with weed&feed
      • Multi-species mixes
      • Lawn alternatives

Links for today’s episode:

Some nerdy sources:

  1. Chang, F.-c., Simcik, M. F. and Capel, P. D. (2011), Occurrence and fate of the herbicide glyphosate and its degradate aminomethylphosphonic acid in the atmosphereEnvironmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 30: 548–555.
  2. Dana W. Kolpina, D., Thurmanb, D.M., Leeb, E.,Meyerb, M., Furlong, E., Glassmeyer, S., 2006. Urban contributions of glyphosate and its degradate AMPA to streams in the United StatesScience of the Total Environment, 354(2-3):191-7.
  3. Gillam, C., Fears over Roundup herbicide residues prompt private testingReuters, 2105-04-10.
  4. Villanueva, C., Durand, G., Coutte, M., Chevrier, C., & Cordier, S. (2005). Atrazine in municipal drinking water and risk of low birth weight, preterm delivery, and small-for-gestational-age statusOccupational and Environmental Medicine, 62(6), 400–405.
  5. Chowdhury, A., Pradhan, S., Saha, M., & Sanyal, N. (2008). Impact of pesticides on soil microbiological parameters and possible bioremediation strategiesIndian Journal of Microbiology, 48(1), 114–127.
this is the aesthetic ecosystems podcast

I’m Ben Hale your virtual design guide

to help you and your family have a

healthy beautiful landscape with less

work what’s up and welcome to episode 13

of the aesthetic ecosystems podcast

we’re at the big one three folks this is

exciting today we’re gonna be talking

about creating a healthy and low

maintenance lawn I feel like that was a

little lackluster that let’s try it

again this is exciting folks we’re gonna

be talking about creating a healthy low

maintenance lawn there we go alright

let’s get some energy today this is a

huge topic for me kind of near and dear

to my heart because to be honest when it

comes to grass and lawns I kind of have

a love/hate relationship with them I

mean I totally understand how grass and

the American lawn you know that’s

America is what really is defined the

lawn as we see it today the the American

lawn really kind of it has a very

specific functional aspect to it but

also an aesthetic as well you know the

the wide open space and let’s face it

you know lawns kind of define the human

landscape and if you at least in Ohio

you know originally Ohio is this

forested land something like don’t quote

me on this but something like 90 percent

of Ohio was once forested and and now

you look at our our landscapes and you

mostly see lawns now when when you have

developed areas and when when it’s

undeveloped it graduates back into

forest eventually or if you’re in the

Prairie you know a graduates back to

Prairie and and you know you go to more

arid regions you’re if you leave a long

ago it’s gonna graduate back to the the

zarok desert type areas as well so lawns

really in a way kind of define the human

landscape but at the same time lawns are

this massive resource draining piece of

our landscapes and also I think it’s

just become overused so much to where

it’s kind of a drab piece of

landscape now you know you look at if I

look down my street I just see lawn

after lawn after lawn after lawn and you

know it started a few spots here and

there with some ornamental tree or

whatever but it is the defining

characteristic of of our street and have

most developed spaces of most semi urban

and urban and suburban areas

and and I would love to see that broken

up more to where we actually have much

less long let’s say I’m gonna go out on

a limb here and say let’s say half the

lawn we do right now with our landscapes

would be awesome and why is that well

for one it reduces the amount of

maintenance if we design it properly and

also just from an artistic standpoint it

provides much more interest and also

from a an ecological standpoint most

likely you’re going to be providing more

ecosystem services as well which in turn

is going to be boosting the health of

your landscape and that’s again what we

all want here is the healthier our

landscape more most likely the less work

it’s going to be because the less

stressed our plants will be the less

disease issues we have so when it comes

to grass I certainly have a love-hate

relationship with it is kind of what I’m

saying here so so there’s certain

aesthetic benefits to it when the lawn

is used properly as a tool for a living

space compared to say you know a paved

area but and also it you know it has

wonderful characteristics if used in the

right setting where it has pretty good

traffic where where you can you can walk

across it play on it you know that sort

of thing and it’s comfortable even lay

on it or sit on it you know so there’s

certain benefits to it but but at the

same time the hate relationship for me

partly becomes an overuse thing it’s

it’s kind of a just a monotonous space

that’s certainly overused in our

landscapes and also just the work that

comes with it lawns are a lot of work

and that’s the part where I really start

to dislike it so let’s get into how we

can create a healthy and low maintenance

lawn today and and see if we can make

some changes in our own landscape

alright so when we’re talking about

maintenance let’s just think of a the

different maintenance tasks you might

have in your lawn and and how they

become kind of a almost like a burden or

something you’re you’re almost chained

to your lawn and especially during the

growing season so first most obvious you

have your mowing and your growth phases

so cutting the grass to maintain it as

an aesthetically pleasing height that

isn’t gonna make your neighbors angry

and and isn’t gonna look overgrown or

scrubby or whatever most municipalities

and and homeowners associations

certainly frown on if you let your grass

get out of control also feeding is a

maintenance issue a lot of people will

feed their lawns or hire services to do

so on a usually a semi-annual basis or

even more frequently sometimes next is

your general grass health just

maintaining the health of your lawn you

know taking care of spots especially if

you have pets or moles or or just in

general dry areas or fungal issues or

whatever so taking care of your grass

health is important too so you might be

receding and stuff and last of course is

your weeds weed issues a lot of people

like the the uniform appearance and feel

of a weed-free lawn and so they go to

great lengths sometimes this might be

you and I’m not necessarily talking down

about this but personally I think it’s

overdone certainly to have weed free

lawns 100 percent weed free can’t have

one little tiny flower dotting your your

beautiful carpet of green or whatever

and this is a huge amount of work so

those are the typical maintenance issues

and burdens when you come to think of

your lawn let’s get into health

so there are actual health effects of

typical lawn maintenance routines the

first is the chemical exposure so a lot

of lawn chemicals there’s specifically a

reason why when wands are treated by

professionals they put out that sign

that has

a circle with a line through it and it

usually shows a person a dog because

lawn chemicals certainly have a pretty

negative health effect especially over

long-term exposure so if this is

something especially with kids are more

susceptible to chemical exposure of

different chemicals so lawns can have a

specific and significant health effect

on you and your family so it’s important

to reduce that amount of chemical

exposure and and also what they do with

the greater landscape so our rivers

lakes and streams especially next as far

as health goes exhaust actually can be a

pretty major issue so when you talk

about mowers there’s I was trying to

find some good statistics here and

unfortunately this it’s not exactly

clear on how much lawn mowers are

estimated to emit there’s a lot of

varying statistics but some that I could

try and find that were semi tangible

related to the EPA they estimate 17

million gallons of guests are spilled

not even used but just spilled while

filling lawnmowers and a little aside

here I certainly can’t stand the new EPA

nozzles I think I spill more gas using

the new ridiculous nozzles that you

can’t use versus the old ones I

understand the intent but the actual

practicality of them is pretty tough but

but that’s a lot of gas that’s spilled

and especially when you know that stuff

gets on your skin or whatever gasoline

is is it can be absorbed through the

skin and it can have some health effects

I’m not going to get into all this stuff

today but but it’s certainly something

to consider so next the the other

statistic I saw through the EPA was five

percent of US air pollution is related

to mowing that’s a lot of air pollution

and I’m not you know I haven’t thrown

away our mower unfortunately you know

we’re kind of tied to it if we have a

lawn we got to maintain it right so so

it’s it’s something you know I

definitely consider when I’m thinking

about how I take care of my yard and

last the other piece I I found was six

million gallons of gasoline are used

through lawn care each year so that’s a

lot and some of the varying statistics

there some were pretty staggering I

don’t know where the actual number is

but one hour of mowing I heard or I read

can kind of conflicting accounts and

apparently this is based on on

temperature and and what type of mower

you have and all sorts of stuff so

that’s why it’s difficult apparently to

to make a link between how much a mower

emits versus a car but some some

accounts were that eight cars driving at

another was more reduced it was more

like a one car driving at 45 miles an


for the same amount of time as a mower

is about equivalent so either way a

mowers do emit a lot more exhaust in and

generally speaking you know this is the

time most people are mowing when it’s

starting to get hot out

and so those those fumes are more you’re

heavily breathing those in and it can

cause some you know long-term health

effects being exposed to fumes like that

so just something to consider you know

the the more we can reduce our mowing

the less health effects we have here so

you know your with your heavy

respiration as you’re walking around

with a mower if you’re if you’re pushing

it and and everything it can it can

really have an effect so let’s think

about what we can do to take care of our

lawn in a way that is is a lot less work

than what we currently do and I’ve

experimented with various ways here and

and certainly some are more effective

than others but I want to share with you

what what I see is the most effective

ways to easily change your lawn care

program so you don’t even have to go out

there and replace your lawn you don’t

have to tear everything up necessarily

but this is just steps to take with your

lawn and some of it’s a mindset shift

too but things to do that that still are

you know still can be attractive with

your lawn it might you might not have a

putting green out there but but you’re

gonna have a nice lawn and and it’s

going to be something that you don’t

have to take care of as much

your lawn plants your grass will

actually be healthier as a result and

then also what I’m going to talk about

too after after we talk about some of

the easy steps we’re gonna get more

in-depth into things you can do to

actually like take some pretty

legitimate steps to reduce your lawn

size as well as the type of lawn you

have if you want to take you know that

approach and it will significantly

change things especially with the in

relation to how much time it takes to

take care of some of these things so

something to consider if you’re

considering more extensive measures for

sure so let’s get into the easy stuff

first the first thing when it comes to

making some of these easier changes is

this is kind of a mindset piece and and

what I’m really saying here is is that

this requires a change in habit and and

that can be difficult especially if you

you’re used to you know cutting your

grass for the past 20 years the same way

let’s say right so I’ve been you know I

started cutting grass when I was I don’t

know I was probably eight years old the

first time I mowed the grass and that’s

probably you know frowned upon now my my

parents might be scrutinized for for let

me do something you know today in

today’s world but um but yeah I mean I

started cutting grass pretty early and

and so we get into these habits and to

try and change some of this stuff can be

difficult so the first thing is is

reducing your mowing frequency and and

what this does is it allows your grass

to basically have a longer time period

between stress periods so cutting your

grass is a stress period for your lawn

actually and it stresses out your grass

because it sends a signal that it just

went through a trauma right the tops of

the grass blades are healing and it’s

basically signaling the rest of your

grass plant that it just lost a bunch of

its foliage and so it needs to grow

right so it triggers this this growth

then stress response growth stress

response and so reducing that time

period in between can actually help for

one slow down the the growth rate of

your grass and to just give it more time


a healthy grass plant and so this can be

really important for your plant but more

importantly actually is for you that you

don’t have to feel tied to your lawn so

much that you have to be out there maybe

every week or every couple days to be

cutting your grass which can take

especially with as your property size

increases can take a pretty significant

chunk of time I have neighbors who

legitimately cut their grass every

single day and that’s a significant

portion of your day or just your life

you know if you add it up during the

growing season of cutting your grass and

think of all the time you could spend on

something more valuable more important

so again let’s tie that you know focus

on your real priorities in life and

start to just consider it realize that

that cutting your grass might not be the

top priority in your life and it can it

can kind of take a backseat and so

reducing your mowing frequency coupled

with the next piece is very important

and the next piece is raising your mower

height okay now what this does is it

allows your grass to be cut less

substantially each time you cut it and

when you’re you’re cutting and leaving a

higher portion of your grass behind it

stresses out the plant less and so let’s

go through a few of the things that

happen when you’re you’re cutting it a

higher height less often so the first is

you’re increasing the health of your

grass plant overall because your roots

and your foliage have a better route to

foliage ratio generally speaking most

plants this isn’t you know a straight

rule but most plants have a pretty even

ratio between what’s above the ground

and what’s below the ground and when

that gets thrown off balance it throws

the plant off balance and it’s hard for

the top just to stay in the bottom and

vice versa so if you’re you’re

significantly cutting the roots off of

something it can really stress the top

because it’s not getting the the

nutrients from the soil and when you’re

significantly cutting the top it

stresses out the roots because the top

can’t sustain the carbon demand of your

root system and so generally speaking

there’s when you you’re throwing off

that ratio you’re getting a stressed out

plant I mean certainly true for your

grass so next perfect segue is you get

better roots with your with your higher

grass so you get stronger roots that are

more sustained over time between mowings

because they can they can stay living

stay healthy because they have more

foliage above them to to survive and

they can also grow deeper so you have

more roots per grass plant because you

have more foliage above it you have a

reduced growth rate so it takes your

plant it’s still because we have am own

lawn we’re still unfortunately putting a

plant in its unnatural state it’s like a

bonsai tree right so you see these

beautiful bonsai trees that are these

miniature versions of a real tree well

it’s not their natural form and so you

have to take care of it and prune it and

keep it maintained in order to keep it

in that state because naturally speaking

that that bonsai wants to be a tree not

a tiny little miniature plant so it

takes a lot of maintenance to mean keep

it that way

similar with grass so most of your

grasses naturally want to be 12 inches

or taller and in their natural setting

and so when we’re cutting them at say 4

inches or less where we’re putting that

planted in a natural state however if

you compare a four-inch cutting to a 1

or 2 inch cutting your your plants is

going to be much less stressed at that

taller height because it’s closer to its

natural state

it stays in balance more with its

natural state and it’s it’s just not

trying to struggle to survive by

shooting out growth as much as possible

because it keeps losing its top growth

so you’re still doing that somewhat it’s

inevitable because you’re still mowing

you’re still reducing its overall height

so as your your plants obviously are

still growing right your grass is still

growing but it’s at a reduced growth

rate because it’s not in that stress

response as much next because instead of

taller height you’re gonna be shading

out weeds so there’s less sunlight

hitting the soil surface so when you

have your grass cutting it at say 1 inch

height or 2 inches of height

there’s not enough grass there to

completely shade out the soil surface

and so whenever there’s sunlight

reaching the soil surface you you’re

giving signal to weed seeds that are

there’s so many weed seeds present in

any landscape that if you’re gonna Sun

put sunlight and water on it there’s

going to be something that’s gonna

sprout up that’s just how it is there’s

so many weed seeds that get dispersed

everywhere through the air through

through other previous weed plants

nearby through birds whatever there’s

just there are weed seeds present in

your soil even if you keep killing them

it’s just how it is but as soon as

sunlight hits that soil surface it sends

signals to a lot of your annual weeds to

end and perennials for that matter but

specifically your annual weed say your

crabgrass right it sends signals to

those plants to start growing because it

means that they’re under the right

condition for growth that there’s a

space available for that plant to grow

and so that’s why you with your shorter

lawns as specifically you have a lot

more weed problems if you’re not

treating them so we we raise that mower

deck up and suddenly what happens is you

have less sunshine hitting your soil

surface and you have less signal to your

weed seeds to start growing they’re

still there but they they don’t feel

like it says as good of a condition to

start growing and and and so you have

fewer weed problems now this is kind of

a long-term tactic here it’s gonna take

time to transition your lawn to have

fewer weeds but if you keep at it this

will reduce your weed pressure across

your lawn so next we of course as I

mentioned earlier we have healthier

grass plants right so all these factors

combined give you a healthier happy

grass plant and so they have deeper

roots because they have higher foliage

on top they’re less stressed because

they’re getting less of their top growth

cut off between cuttings even though

you’re at a higher higher height and

reduced frequency you have less grass

grass and grass top growth because it’s

growing slower as it’s in a less

stressed state so you’re not signal your

grass is not getting signals each time

you cut too

grow as much as it can because there’s

not enough foliage there instead it’s

saying okay we just had you know a

little bit of trauma because we got cut

at this higher height where you know

we’re a little stressed out but it’s not

as bad we don’t have to you know try and

grow as much as we can and sacrifice our

root health to grow as much as we can

before getting cut again because because

you’re maintaining a higher height it’s

less stress it’s growing slower and and

so you have a happier grass plant that’s

kind of how the story goes all right so

the next piece after we reduce our

mowing frequency we raise our mower

height the next thing we want to do is

all these all these cuttings you know it

used to be pretty common to bag your

your grass cuttings well you see more

and more people now mulching their grass

clippings and that’s a really good thing

and because when you mulch it grasps

clippings what it does is it if it’s

especially if you’re mulching it small

enough if you have a nice mulching mower

it chops your grass blades into tiny

little bits and and they can kind of

percolate down through your grass and

and get in contact with the soil and and

for one shade out any weeds there right

any weeds that are trying to germinate

your shading that out but they’ll slowly

kind of break down into organic matter

for your soil so they feed the grass

plants they feed the soil life that’s

present in your grass as well so that’s

really important a really helpful way to

just kind of naturally start amending

your your soil to build it up and to

replace some of the nutrients that your

grass plants took out of it okay so next

we want to if we’re gating our lawn you

want to reduce that as much as possible

so especially if you’re on a schedule

you want to get it off a schedule so

reducing your unnecessary irrigation can

go a long way to to actually helping

your grass surprisingly now if if your

grass your lawn is totally dependent on

irrigation to grow this is an entirely

different issue so if you’re talking

about like say say you live in in Nevada

or something right where it’s a much

more arid region and then then southern

Ohio where I am right

but there are certain grass plants that

are better adapted to those those low

moisture conditions so if you’re growing

something that just can’t tolerate the

the dryness that we’re talking about

here you might have to irrigate right

now am i advocating for irrigation not

necessarily because there’s that’s a lot

of water guys especially in a water

stress region right you’re you’re taking

clean water usually and you’re putting

it on on grass plants that instead it

could be used for drinking water more

important things so what I’d recommend

there is it’s tough but but to replace

your lawn with something that can

withstand that condition but if you got

to do it you know reduce it as much as

possible so especially say here in Ohio

or a similar climate we don’t need to be

irrigating our lawns really most grass

plants now that come out that you even

that you buy in the big-box store

usually they have varieties that are

adapted to your area and don’t need so

much irrigation once established if

you’re establishing your lawn even with

your your eco-friendly type lawns your

lawn replacements or whatever that I

might be getting into later those still

require irrigation during establishment

because the establishment phase is a

high maintenance phase what we want is

the long term low maintenance phase and

so sometimes you got to do some work to

get to where you want right okay so what

I’m talking about here is your general

maintenance phase and in your general

maintenance phase you want to be

watering in the early morning only so

what this does

compared to other times a days is it’s

right before plants are going to be

actively respiring right so before

there’s tons of sunlight it also reduces

the amount of water droplets are on the

blades once you get to your hot points

of your day and it also is the best time

overall so why so if you water in the

middle of the day you’re going to be

you’re basically putting a bunch of

little tiny magnifying glasses on the

front on the top of your plants right

and so it can actually burn the leaves

by having little water droplets there

that that focused the sunlight on to

certain points that just burnt they

actually physically burned through the

leaf and leave little tiny dead spots so

it can hurt your plants and in addition

your evaporation rate is much higher

because it’s hotter point of your day

you have active sunlight shining on the

the surface so

you get you your evaporation loss is

much higher as well if you or water in

the late day or evening what you can do

is you can actually expose your plants

to fungal disease conditions so because

of the high moisture and the in the

evening and overnight that’s the best

time for fungal diseases to kind of

start growing and spreading and so

you’re you’re leaving the the grass

plants more susceptible to disease by

watering at that time okay so so by

reducing it and and at the right time

you can you can take care of some of

those issues

you’re also by just reducing your

irrigation you can increase the

resilience of your plants so you make it

better adapted to your local conditions

maybe it’s even potentially drought

conditions right so you’re you’re

beefing up the health of your plant by

slowly weaning it off this dependent and

regular watering period I mentioned that

you’re going to be reducing your fungal

disease so again the wetter your plants

especially right at the base of the

plant there that’s the most susceptible

area of your plant and you’re going to

be allowing it to have periods of

dryness more frequently that is less

less conducive to fungal growth and so

that’s really important and last but not

least here certainly not least is your

pocketbook well thank you because you’re

gonna be reducing your water bill and

when you’re talking about taking care of

your landscape and irrigating it your

water bill can rack up pretty fast just

through irrigation costs so so it’s

something that definitely your your

budget will thank you by kind of cutting

this expense out but also just on a

greater scale you know especially in

water stressed regions so you’re talking

about west of the Mississippi it’s just

it’s becoming a you know a bigger bigger

thing here where water can be really

scarce at certain times especially when

it’s most needed in your landscape so

trying to design your landscape or to

build resilience in your lawn to where

it doesn’t need as much is really

important for that reason to okay so

kind of part in part

so with with the irrigation is we also

want to feed our lawn only when

necessary and this is with amendments

and certainly I recommend organic

amendments this isn’t necessarily assert

USDA certified organic that I’m talking

about but just naturally organic

amendments so your carbon-based

amendments that you can get as you know

compost decomposed plant material that

sort of thing

mulch is and that kind of stuff that I’m

talking about here so when it talk when

we’re talking about organic amendments

to or naturally derived amendments

generally speaking the non concentrated

form is better as well because then it’s

a slow extended release of nutrients

that hopefully stay in your landscape

longer but also don’t pose a negative

health risk to you and your family so

these are things that are hopefully

healthier that we’re talking about here

and I’m being very broad in general here

because there are so many that I’m not

going to get into it today but in

general reduce your feeding and use

safer organic ones that are better for

your plants better for you and and only

when necessary so it’s you know feeding

your plants at the wrong time your grass

can actually have a negative effect so

taking away the unnatural doses of

feeding can leave your plan to take care

of itself and to do it in a way where it

can rely on itself and be a little bit

healthier too okay so that kind of gets

into our easy ways of taking care of our

lawn and reducing the work now without

having to make major changes to your

lawn let’s talk about some more legit

stuff right so let’s get into it as far

as like you want to make a big change

with your along what can you do

all right so the first thing and

probably the most important thing is

just simply reducing the size of your

lawn okay so when we look at let me take

my house for example so our house sits

on a almost half acre lot which when

I’ll be honest you know when we first

bought us I got me and you know I would

love to have like five acres or 20 acres

or whatever and and maybe someday right

but now we live it on a five acre or

know how to five acre lot about a half

a lot and you know it’s one of those

like kind of weird shaped Lots because

it’s on the end of a street and so we

get kind of like the weird triangle side

to it as well and but at first I was

like oh you know this is kind of small

it’s not enough space whatever

well I quickly learned to realize as my

life got much busier with having kids

and a full-time job and everything and

and launching a podcast and stuff like

that that a half acre is a lot to take

care of and especially when it comes to

your lawn so reducing the size of your

lawn can go at great lengths to reducing

your overall landscape maintenance if

you do it in a way that’s appropriate

and proper so if you do it with a it

with a low maintenance angle so some of

those examples are replacing with

low-maintenance garden beds so this

might be something you only have to

address you know once or twice a year to

take care of to kind of manage your

plants to do a little bit of weed

control and and to do a little bit of

feeding if necessary or amendment and

then let it take care of itself

similarly you can look at too like a a

prairie or meadow type planting and you

know this again is a very low

maintenance way to to take care of your

landscape actually at my this is really

becoming a more common thing at a lot of

corporate and commercial properties so

at my and my full-time job they do this

actually to where a lot of the

previously frequently mowed areas

they’ve replaced with this kind of

rustic kind of meadow appearance where

they plant it with with local species

that are adapted to our region for just

with grasses and flowers and such and

they they gave a wonderful appeal to the

landscape and in addition it’s

significantly less maintenance for the

commercial property so this is something

you couldn’t adapt into your own

landscape as well so maybe those areas

where you don’t need to really need to

be accessing them a whole lot but but

you still like to have the space you can

make it into a buffer that is a

beautiful Prairie slash meadow planting

and it can even be a really great space

for for natives and pollinators and and


building the overall health of the your

local area as well as your local

landscape you could also if you’re in a

drier region you can consider the

xeriscaping so your dry landscaping

techniques that are becoming much more

common in those areas and again all of

all three of these types of suggestions

can be a lot of work if you don’t do

them improperly but done properly they

can be very hands-off and very appealing

at the same time so when we’re thinking

about reducing the size of our landscape

of our lawn area we also want to

consider focusing our maintenance on the

major use areas so these are the areas

where you have your primary traffic you

might want to consider lawn

you could also consider pathways for

some of these areas but but wherever

you’re spending your time you probably

don’t want to be traipsing through you

know six-foot tall grasses or whatever

right so so focusing your your lawn on

those areas that you specifically want

to use if that’s the type of space you

want and then the other spaces you can

consider some of these other plantings

that that take away the frequency with

which you have to mow and in the amount

with which you have to mow so for

example – my wife wants to make sure as

we plan for the future that we have a

space for our kids to play so what does

that look like how much space do we need

where do we need that space to be and

planning for that adequately so when

we’re thinking about the additional

spaces beyond that we can consider

reducing some of our lawn dependency

when you’re looking at your lawn you can

consider replacing as much of it as

possible with some sort of low

maintenance cover so that some of this

is stuff that can allow traffic and some

of it may be just very minimal traffic

but overall it gives you kind of a

similar aesthetic to your lawn so of

something very low growing doesn’t

require as much cutting doesn’t require

as much feeding and all that source

stuff so the first one which is one I’ve

tried specifically in our yard is a no

mow lawn so there’s actually a brand of

Juan seed called Nomo and it’s as n o –

mo w

and this is provided by the prairie

nursery out of Wisconsin and I I love

this stuff the one caveat is that you

really got to make sure you’re

establishing it properly in order to

prevent long term weed pressure but this

stuff I’ve I’ve had that one patch of

this where I’ve experimented with

multiple ways of establishment we can

get to talking about details with this

stuff in the future but but the real

thing I want to say is I’ve had this for

a gosh now at least um at least three

years and over three growing seasons

I’ve hardly had to do anything with this

grass it requires very little mowing so

we’re talking maybe two maybe three

times a year that I mow it for various

reasons once for seed heads once for

once to mulch back growth after you know

the growing season is over and that’s

mainly it maybe one other time if I need

to but that’s it and what you get is a

beautiful lawn that yes it’s a little

taller than usual but what happens is

these grass blades are very thin and

very soft and so they kind of flop over

and you get this like modeled kind of

shag carpet experience a view I guess or

appearance that’s the word I’m looking

for and and but it’s it’s actually very

appealing and it looks different than

your typical lawn but it’s very nice

very soft it’s fun to walk on barefoot

and it’s really good at weed prevention

now we get you know a few weeds here and

there but but nothing like our regular

lawn area so something to consider

so the no mow lawn is made up of fescues

as a blend of fescues there’s some other

brands as well usually they’re branded

it’s like an eco lawn or something like

that and but they’re a brand a mixture

of various fine and thin bladed fescues

and but they grow primarily in the

northern climates of the United States

so if you’re looking in the south there

are some other options some of that are

becoming more popular or various strains

of buffalo grass and blue grama grass

and so these are negatives to our our

North American prairie and they can

withstand the the hotter drier

conditions and generally they don’t

actually do as well in the wetter

conditions of the north so something to


okay also we can think about various

plants such as your sedges so these are

becoming quickly popular as is a low

maintenance ground cover generally not

something you you’re walking on as much

but you can if you need to but they make

a nice appearance as well so your sedges

also you can consider something like

creeping time those are quickly becoming

popular as as a ground cover and and

these actually can withstand certain

amount of traffic and with all these

things I want to point out that

establishment is key so making sure your

space is prepared adequately before you

planting these these types of

alternative ground covers is very very

important and I actually I can either in

when I say alternative ground covers

because I think these should be the norm

and they’re actually very beautiful most

of them so that’s why they’re becoming

popular in a lot of spaces is is these

ground covers they’re starting to be

realized for the value and the beauty

they can provide to your landscape so

one last thing with establishment is I

recorded in episode 10 I talked about

how to establish a garden bed properly

and all of these principles certainly

apply here so I strongly recommend if

you’re if you’re considering this

replacement strategy to go on check out

episode 10 and learn more about that

some great information there ok cool

so next if we’re talking about our

existing lawn consider adding clover to

your lawn this is very helpful when it

comes to feeding your lawn so basically

what you’re doing is you’re naturally

fertilizing your lawn because clover and

its associated bacteria that live in its

roots they provide nitrogen to you to

the surrounding plants and so that’s

very helpful if you if you remember in

your fertilizer that you generally buy

from the store its NPK whatever right so

it lists the certain values of nitrogen

phosphorus and potassium that’s what the

N P and K stand for and and so nitrogen

is a very important nutrient for your

plants and and clover can naturally

provide that for your grass so if you

can if you actually like the look of

clover there’s some certain varieties

out there

that you can use in your lawn and an

clover can provide a lot of beauty to

your landscape but also attracts bees

which most people like I like and if you

know some of the consider I guess if

you’re concerned about allergies or

whatever maybe you don’t want to walk

around barefoot in your lawn but clover

can really benefit your lawn especially

if you if you notice you have medic or

bird foot trek foil these are two

commonly considered weeds in in lawns

personally I don’t mind bird’s foot

trefoil I think it’s really pretty

because it has these beautiful yellow

flowers in late spring but I’d actually

like it in my landscape but but it’s not

a lot of people consider these weeds and

so if you if you looking up what weeds

you have in your lawn and these pop up

both of them have those those typical

three leaves that you see similar

they’re not there don’t look exactly

like clover but they have similarly

shaped leaves and and so if you have

those in your lawn what your lawn is

saying is that you don’t have enough

nitrogen there so planting your clover

there can be very helpful one point I

want to make here is if you use if you

choose to use something like weed and

feed in your lawn this is incompatible

with clover because clover is a

broadleaf plant and your weed Lea your

weed and feed kills out those those

broadleaf plants out of your your lawn

so something to consider if you’re

considering that option and last I just

want to say there’s a lot of different

multi species mixes you can consider for

your lawn if you’re just kind of Google

lawn alternatives

you’ll start to see or there there are a

lot of various areas kind of trying to

develop alternative or different lawn

mixes that you can use that are low

growing plants that can you can put in

your landscape and so it’s something to

consider there I haven’t tried out a lot

of these yet I hope to in the future but

just something I’m definitely keeping my

eye out and kind of considering and I

just want to put it out there for you in

case you want want to see it so with

that that’s basically what I had today

with taking care of your lawn in a way

that is

low maintenance but also healthy and

kind of cut in that cord you know that

that’s going to tie you to your

landscape so much so you can have a

little bit more freedom and I really

hope that you can come away from today’s

episode with something actionable

something tangible that you can do in

your landscape to really start saving

time especially when it comes to how

take how you take care of your lawn

we’re going to be getting into the

active growing season here in just a you

know a little bit and so I wanted to

kind of prep you with the lawn care

stuff today and okay now it’s time to

talk about the launch party guys excuse

me not party but partay

the launch party is for the first two

months of the show from March 11th

through May 11th 2018 I want to have

some fun to help spread the word spread

the word about the show I really

appreciate your enthusiasm and interest

in this show and I want to get you guys

involved and have some fun while we’re

doing it so this is a chance to have

some fun too for us to get connected to

win some prizes and let’s talk about the

prizes before we talk about what we’re

doing so what are the prizes weekly I am

offering a free consultation with me Ben

Hale which is normally a $99 value so

one person each week that gets involved

in the launch partay

gets a free consultation I’m also giving

away a free offer for one of my ebooks

ten ways to get more beauty with less

work which is the $19 value next the

grand prize there is only one of these

we’re giving away through this whole

launch party so at the end of the launch

partay the organic lawn care manual by

Paul Tookie so Paul to key himself has

offered to give away one free book to a

lucky winner that’s getting involved in

this launch party and this book is all

about how to manage a healthy lawn from

anything from a golf course style lawn

to your low maintenance lawn which of

course is something I prefer here on

this show right I own this book I’ve

read this book multiple times I’ve give

it away it’s a kind of a tattered and

worn version that I have and I use some

of these practices in my own lines so I

love this book and I highly promoted as

well and you’ll hear me talk about it

throughout the show

but Paul Tookie has been kind enough to

offer a copy of his book as a grand

prize and there’s also a special

surprise for everybody that’s going to

be getting involved in the launch partay

the rolling river nursery out of

California has offered a special

surprise for everybody that’s involved

the rolling river nursery is a USDA

certified organic nursery so I went

online and I looked around for nurseries

that have online availability ship

through the continental US and have some

great offerings and rolling River

nursery is being kind enough to become

involved with our launch party and

they’re not only are they online

availability but they also are certified

organic which means they don’t use any

harmful herbicides or pesticides that

you have to be concerned with your

family about and so what you’re getting

is a safe and healthy plant they also

offer a ton of edible plants and Crees

and shrubs cacti and succulents so they

offer several trees and shrubs that are

adaptable throughout the most of the

United States so definitely worth

checking them out and in addition these

guys are also involved with a non-profit

in Southern California to help local

food movements called planting justice

org so if you want to learn more about

them you can go to rolling River nursery

com and I also want to give a shout out

to Paul to Kies website for his organic

lawn care manual and his other works is

Paul to keep calm PA UL t uke Y and to

sum up guys okay you want to learn how

to get involved with this launch party

go over to aesthetic ecosystems calm

slash pod launch and that’s p OD lau nch

there’s a link in the show notes and

that’s that’s going to give you all the

instructions on how to get involved

there’s two ways specifically to get

involved one is through sharing with

your peeps on Facebook and the other is

through leaving a review on iTunes

both of these are gonna help spread the

word about the show and get other people

other friends listening to it as well

and I sure appreciate your help here and

likewise this is gonna be a fun time so

so go on over and to aesthetic

ecosystems comm slash pod launch to get

involved likewise if you have a question

for this show

head on over to aesthetic ecosystems

calm / pod I think I’ve referenced

podcasts in the past few episodes that’s

actually not the right link so if you

just go to aesthetic ecosystems calm

you’ll see right on the top menu there a

link to the podcast section and I also

have a button when you go to the podcast

area and you can ask a question and and

you know I’m gonna try and start

incorporating questions on the show here

too so so go over there ask a question

if you have a question about something

and I’ll see if I can fit it into the

shows here maybe we’ll start doing some

Q&A shows and such so yeah with that

guys I also wanted to reference to

specific resources one I already

mentioned which is the Prairie nursery

in Wisconsin they have a lot of great

plants that they offer that are adapted

to most areas of the United States but

specifically the Prairie areas of the

United States they have a lot of stuff

there as well

that is just really good information and

specifically to the know mowed lawn that

I’ve had success with in our landscape

and I want you to try out too if you’re

considering it

next is the the organic lawn care manual

by Paul Tookie so Paul is actually part

of our launch promo here he’s he’s

giving away a copy of his organic lawn

care manual book so if you haven’t

considered going over to the the podcast

launch definitely check that out

but also just the organic lawn care

manual I strongly recommend you guys to

buy a copy of it it’s a great book in

learning how to basically wean you off

of the chemical addiction that most of

our lawns are on and it goes it spans

the area from having a nice very well

manicured lawn that looks exactly the

same as maybe what you aspire to with a

golf course all the way to a maybe a

much lower maintenance routine that’s

still very aesthetically pleasing but a

lot less work than your typical golf

course lon so check it out the organic

lawn care manual by Paul Tookie it’s a

great resource and I certainly recommend

it next guys check out I have tons and

tons of links for today’s show in the

show notes including where you can go to

get to the podcast

page on my website subscribe if you guys

liked the show I’ll be coming out with

more episodes so make sure you subscribe

and stay tuned and and also just guys

thanks for tuning in today and make sure

you live with passion and make tomorrow

better than today

[Music] [Music]