how to replace lawn with native plants in usa new jersey

How to replace lawn with lifetime native plants?

replace lawn with plantsAre you considering reducing the level of maintenance required in your landscape? Growing native plants in your garden not only requires less maintenance than traditional lawns, it also makes the local environment a healthier place for you and your community.

Grass needs a lot of work to look nice, sometimes requiring the use of fertilizers, pesticides, weed killers. Your lawn also need a lot of water and can cause erosion. Thankfully, that’s not the case with native plants! They provide food, shelter, and water to native wildlife like butterflies and birds.

To start, the job is not easy. There’s a lot of work involved in removing the grass and weeds to make an entirely new garden, but once the plants are established, the payoff is less work, and a healthier and beautiful ecosystem. Here are a few steps you can consider trying:

1. Look for Lawn Rebate Options

Research in your local water district about their lawn removal rebates. Sometimes, even when your lawn looks bad, you may qualify.

2. NO-TILL, use Wood Chips

Our favorite option is to cover the grass with layers of newspaper or cardboard in the spring. Put a layer of 4 inches (7.5 cm.) of wood chips and mulch over it. You should let the cardboard and wood chips sit for three to five months until the grass dies. The cardboard will begin to break and your soil will be improved and full of new nutrients for the plants.

Photo: Wild Bird Farm

3. Look around you, get INSPIRED!

While your lawn is decomposing and creating new soil, take the opportunity to research the native plants in your zone. Find inspiration by visiting nature preserves, local native gardens like the Churchville Nature Center, or visiting Wild Bird Farm. These tours will give you the chance to discover new ideas, meet gardening professionals, attend talks, and more.

Churchville Nature Center
Photo: Krystal Zuniga

You can also research the plants of your interest online. There are a lot of websites, blogs, and articles about native plants with information that will help you match your criteria for desired light, soil type, water use, flower color, and more.

4. Get a consultation with a Professional

Look for a native plant garden designer or natural resource manager in your area, they can save you money and time by helping you choose the plants that are perfect for your garden. Even if you already know what you want to plant and how the design will look, a professional can review your plan to ensure that you’ve got a solid plan that will last a lifetime.

Contact Wild Bird Farm or your native plant nursery for recommended designers. Also, it’s important to know what USDA plant zone are you in, this is a standard that will help you determine which plants are most likely to thrive in your location.

5. Plant in the fall

This season is the perfect time to get your native plants and trees in the ground. The days are cooler and the rain can help your plants establish more easily. Transforming your entire yard will be a huge task, but it’s well worth it. Consider doing one area at a time to spread out the work.

replace lawn with lifetime native plants
Photo: Wild Bird Farm

Once the plant is established, you can enjoy the fresh air, bees, and birds that will come to visit your garden for the berries, nectar sources, nesting material, and shelter you provided them.

Author: Krystal Zuniga
Published: 10/02/2022

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *