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www.greenbuildermag.com 08.2012


~ How-to ~ 26 REPLACE A LAWN


No need to use herbicides and heavy lifting. Let free cardboard and mulch do the hard work.


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AWNS ARE WATER-WASTING, time-con- suming and expensive to maintain. In some areas, lawn-mowers are be- ing banned because of noise and air


pollution. Many would-be lawn revolution- aries are brought up short by the cost and diffi culty of digging up turf and hauling it away. But thanks in part to a lot of hands- on experimentation by permaculturists, the process has been streamlined and simplifi ed. If the intention is simply to create a beauti- ful, low-water landscape that will increase the curb appeal of the home, the lawn removal part of the process can be conducted with a couple of days of work—plus six weeks of waiting for nature to take its course.


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Why mow? Where once there was a monoculture of thirsty grass, this homeowner now has blue fescue clump grass, kangaroo paws and salvia greggi.


3


Collect cardboard. Acquire enough cardboard to cover the whole area. Most bicycle shops and appliance stores have plenty they’d like to give away.


Lay the cardboard. After you trench the edges (see Lose the Edge at right), tuck the cardboard into the shallow trench and throw enough mulch on top to hold it in place. No need to use herbicides. Just mow the grass short before you begin.


Find some mulch. In many areas, you can get a truckload of mulch delivered to the site for free. Call a local tree trimmer and tell him you’ll take the next load off his hands. You may get more than you need, but it will compress over time.


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