Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Grow For It!: Lawn alternatives

From page B3 | November 21, 2012 | Leave Comment

Kit Smith


There is much discussion these days on eliminating grass lawns, and unless your lawn gets a lot of use for play by kids and pets, it’s definitely something to consider.

Grass lawns are heavy consumers of water and fertilizer and often require pesticides and fungicides to keep them looking their best. They are also maintenance intensive, requiring mowing and edging a good part of the year.

For a different look in your garden and to cut down on watering, fertilizer use and maintenance, consider converting to a no-lawn garden.

Mixed annual and perennial flowers with native grasses are a beautiful substitute for a lawn.

Imagine a meadow outside your home inviting birds and butterflies. Choose plants according to your exposure, soil and climate. If the area gets less than six hours sun, select plants labeled for part sun or shade. Annual wildflowers usually need to be reseeded the first few years, but some like bachelor’s buttons and cosmos self-sow, returning to bloom each year.

Break up an expanse lawn with planting beds and small patio areas joined by paths. Fill the beds with layers of plants, keeping low growing ones along the border and graduating to taller plants in the center.

Consider adding a water feature like small pond, bird bath or fountain. Make your area a retreat by adding a bench for seating.

Want that low to the ground look? Use sedum, dead nettle and creeping thyme. Think about using groundcovers for places where foot traffic is limited or discouraged.

The variations in textures, colors and heights give you a lot to work with. Armeria, artemisia and cotoneaster are groundcovers that are drought tolerant and fire resistant. Also consider yarrow, coyote bush (baccharis pilularis) and lamb’s ears.

Add trees and shrubs that do not need a lot of water once established. Established woody plants need to be irrigated only once or twice during the growing season.

However, all plants will need more water if they are exposed to extreme heat and wind.

As another alternative to lawn, look at shrubs like acacia, ceanothus and rockrose. Plumbago, rosemary, and spirea are other options. Also consider red barberry, western redbud, California flannel bush and lavender.

When considering alternatives to a grass lawn, think about using natives also. Natives are ideally suited to our climate, likely to thrive with only seasonal rainfall and need little care. Once established their deep root systems help them survive.

Keep your no-lawn landscape well mulched to preserve moisture in the soil. This approach promotes sustainable gardening practices that reduce the use of water, fertilizer and pesticides.

The next Saturday class will be held on Dec. 1. Master Gardeners present “Selecting and Planting Fruit Trees.” The class starts at 9 a.m. and is held in the El Dorado County Government Center Hearing Room, Building C, 2850 Fairlane Court, Placerville. There is no charge for the class.

Master Gardeners are available to answer home gardening questions Tuesday through Friday, 9 a.m. to noon, by calling 530-621-5512. Walk-ins are welcome. The office is located at 311 Fair Lane in Placerville.

For more information about the public education classes and activities go to the Master Gardener Website at Sign up to receive the online notices and E-Newsletter at Master Gardeners is also find on Facebook.

Do you have plant containers to recycle? Master Gardeners will gladly take them at the Master Gardener office. Call before dropping them off and thank you for the donation.


Discussion | No comments



Greenwood School being restored

By Rebecca Murphy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Cal Fire increasing staffing, hiring

By Cal Fire | From Page: B1

EID restricts watering days

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A1, 10 Comments

Lover’s Leap fall injures man

By Tahoe Tribune | From Page: A1

EDH Fire Dept. annexing Latrobe

By Noel Stack | From Page: A1, 6 Comments

Motorcycle fatality in Greenwood

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1

Tea Party meeting April 17

By Tea Party Patriots Of El Dorado Hills | From Page: A3, 35 Comments

Town Hall Meeting on Underage Drinking May 1

By El Dorado Hills Community Vision Coalition | From Page: A6

Floating body not a body

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A7

Old mill a goner

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A11, 5 Comments | Gallery



My turn: A fair California flat income tax

By Mark Belden | From Page: A4

DA Pierson has been outstanding

By Mountain Democrat | From Page: A4, 11 Comments



A great big thanks

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

Murder? Suicide?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 4 Comments

‘Drive Clean’

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 3 Comments

Middle class getting poorer?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 27 Comments

Real estate lies

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 3 Comments



Outside with Charlie: Switch gear

By Charlie Ferris | From Page: A8

Ponderosa volleyball is a family affair

By Jerry Heinzer | From Page: A8 | Gallery

Aussie team makes visit

By Special to the Democrat | From Page: A8

Griz have challenging day

By Mike Bush | From Page: A8 | Gallery

Roundup: April 15, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A9 | Gallery



Runners stampede for Sugarloaf scholarships

By El Dorado County Office of Education | From Page: B2 | Gallery

At a glance: Take aim on fun

By Mimi Escabar | From Page: B2

Men to walk a mile in her shoes

By Center For Violence-Free Relationships | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Team works to fight disease

By Placerville Kiwanis | From Page: B3

COOL School is accepting applications

By Rescue Union | From Page: B4

Band of Miwoks fund mission

By Shingle Springs Band Of Miwok Indians | From Page: B12



Crime Log: March 25-27

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A2

Weather stats 4-15-14

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2



Numa Edward “Ed” Roberts

By Contributor | From Page: A2

Ronald Russell Rohrer

By Contributor | From Page: A2, 1 Comment


Real Estate




By Contributor | From Page: A10

Flying McCoys

By Contributor | From Page: A10

Speed Bump

By Contributor | From Page: A10

Working It Out

By Contributor | From Page: A10


By Contributor | From Page: A10


By Contributor | From Page: A10

New York Times Crossword

By Contributor | From Page: A10


By Contributor | From Page: A10

Horoscope, Thursday, April 17, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A10

Horoscope, Wednesday, April 16, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A10

TV Listings

By Contributor | From Page: A10