It seemed like a hopeful way to start the new year: Two years ago, my family and I planted a meadow in our front yard. No longer a play space for our children, the lawn had outgrown its usefulness. After a debate between my husband and me about the merits of gravel and native shrubs vs. a meadow of native grasses, we settled on the meadow as a way to have a little more “green” in a neighborhood dominated by traditional lawns.
We spent the fall slowly killing our Bermuda grass lawn — first by lazily turning off the water and waiting, then by hiring a crew to dig out out. By January we were ready to plant, with 750 little carex praegracilis plugs waiting. Our soil is heavy, heavy clay, and we were unable to efficiently dig even the small planting holes needed. So my husband–always a fan of gadgetry–bought a handy egg-beater-like tool for the end of the drill which we used to create perfectly round planting holes over two weekends.
Several months later, when most carex meadows would have been lush and beautifully grown in, ours was patchy. We filled in with more plugs and chalked my original plan to save money by planting the plugs 15″ apart instead of the recommended 12″ or less, as folly. Since then, we’ve noticed that the beautiful Achillea ‘Sonoma Coast’ with its bright green, feathery foliage and creamy summer flowers, seems to love our heavy clay, so we’ve added more.
Have you replaced or reduced your lawn? I’d love to hear about in the comments. Meanwhile, here is an article I wrote for Houzz on the subject.