A Laid Back Approach to Lawn Care

By Mary Ellen Ellis | June 1, 2022
Image by Elmar Langle
by Mary Ellen Ellis
June 1, 2022

I can admit that there is a certain undeniable beauty in a thick, lush, perfectly maintained lawn. The smooth expanse of green is inviting. It definitely makes me want to lay down and watch the clouds go by, but do I create this kind of turf in my own yard? No, and there are several reasons why not.  

Perfect Turf Takes Time

If I’m being perfectly honest, one of the main reasons I take a laid-back approach to lawn care is that I don’t want to spend hours on it. I watch a neighbor every year hunched over her grass day after day. 

What is she doing exactly? I don’t know, but I recognize that her lawn looks a lot nicer than mine. It’s fuller, thicker, greener, and has fewer weeds. But, I have no desire to use the bulk of my gardening time working on the grass. 

I Don’t Like the Environmental Repercussions

Another important reason for me to avoid a perfect lawn is that it’s not good for the environment. I have to close my windows when other neighbors get their lawns sprayed with stinky chemicals. 

It’s not just the chemicals. Unbroken turf is like a dead zone. Not much grows or lives in it. Of course, this is what some people want, but to me it’s unnatural. I prefer a lawn that is a little wilder, a little friendlier to the native birds and bugs. 

My Minimal Lawn Care

So, what do I do to maintain the lawn? My husband puts down some grass fertilizer twice a year, and I cut it as needed. We get the leaves picked up in fall, sometimes not until spring. That’s all we do. We don’t water in the summer. Grass is supposed to brown up and go dormant. It comes back with the next rain. 

The result of this level of effort is not a showpiece yard. Our lawn is patchy. There are shady spots where grass doesn’t grow well and we have more moss and dirt than grass. There are weeds too, mostly clover and dandelion. If you stand at a distance, it all looks green, but a close up view is a different story. 

There are many homeowners who would be embarrassed to have a lawn like this. We even have more than one neighbor that tore out their entire lawns and put in perfect, new sod. I’m not bothered by an imperfect lawn. In fact, I prefer it. I can focus more time on my flower beds and herb garden, and I don’t feel bad about contributing to environmental degradation in the area.

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