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groundcover plants as replacement for lawn

Hi,

at first, i'd like to apologize for any mistakes or miswritten words, as english isn't my native language ;)

i enjoy watching gardener's world via youtube a lot. here in germany there's no equal program and Monty and his fellow gardeners are really likeable.

On to my question: i recently moved to a house with a huge garden (about 1000 square metres) with lot's of old lawn in a bad state. Weeds and moss everywhere.

As i'm not a fan of the typical suburban look of german gardens and as i'd like to create a more natural looking and wildlife friendly garden, i came across a website named stepables. they use groundcover plants with a high tolerance to step on, which are evergreen and easier to maintain as a normal lawn.

So, is it really possible to exchange the lawn agains them? I do have two kids, both at the age of 11 (very active, but not on the lawn. They prefer inline, swimming,...) and a midsized dog, an Elo, who is no digger.

The garden itself heads east and as there are no huge trees or buildings (yet...trees and a surrounding hedge are planned) it's exposed to all the elements. The soil in my opinion is poor and wasn't mulched or riched with compost for a long time.

Is there some advice or maybe is there anybody who has exchanged his lawn agains groundcovering plants?

Sincerely yours,
Michael

Last edited: 19 November 2016 16:17:57

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  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 17,521

    HELLO MICHAEL.

    WHY DO YOU WANT TO EXCHANGE YOUR GRASS, MOSS AND WEEDS FOR GROUND COVER PLANTS?

    DO YOU IMAGINE SOME IDYLLIC TIME WHEN THE MOSS AND WEEDS WILL NO LONGER EXIST?

    HA HA. YOU WILL NO LONGER HAVE GRASS, MOSS AND WEEDS. YOU WIL HAVE GROUND COVER PLANTS, MOSS AND WEEDS.

    IS THERE ANY POSSIBILITY OF TURNING YOUR GRASS MOSS AND WEEDS INTO A MEADOW?

    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • Hello pansyface,

    as i already pointed out, i don't like the typical lawn and therefore try to find another solution of planting. There will be other sections: a herb/kitchen garden, a meadow, a pond,...
    I don't wish to replace one green area against another. That too doesn't have to do with moss and weeds. Sure i have to maintain the groundcover plant area too. I just like to play with the idea of having a not so typical garden experience.

    I added a picture to help you and others visualize what i have in mind.
    image

    Michael

    Last edited: 19 November 2016 17:04:59

  • Kitty 2Kitty 2 ManchesterPosts: 5,150

    I know that it's considered a weed by most lawn lovers but clover might work for you.  It's wildlife friendly (bees love it) and can take being walked over.

    There was a question about a microclover lawn a few months ago from someone wanting to replace a grass lawn with clover. I'll see if I can find it for you.

  • Dave MorganDave Morgan Posts: 3,123

    Michael welcome. You need to find out what your soil is like firstly. It sounds like it is very shaded and poorly drained for moss to thrive. Planning a new lawn with what you have in mind means you have to create the conditions for the plants you wish to replace your lawn. Chamomile is often used as a substitute for grass, hard wearing and scented with nice white daisy like flowers. There is a non flowering variety which is normally used for lawns. If you go to the RHS website and search chamomile there is guidance there on growing one.

    Last edited: 19 November 2016 18:30:22

  • WateryWatery Posts: 388

    I think you would have more success if you tried it in stages with small areas of lawn.   I have camomile treneague--which is the non-flowering variety and it covers a small strip of ground-- about a metre by 0.3 metres.  It can't be grown by seed.   I don't know if you can get Camomile nobilis to grow as thick.  I also have daisies  within the lawn and added flowering meadow seeds so have lots of clover etc.  THe camomile is doing well and when mowed it came up stronger.  I'd like to try to spread it further. (I had a small patch and when I moved house, I dug it up and put little bits in and they all grew together.)  It smells lovely when walked on/touched.   Slugs love it but don't seem to be able to eat all of it and it makes it easy to find the slug during night-time raids. 

    Thyme needs very sunny situation and very well-drained soil to thrive. Thymus Serpyllum (Creeping Thyme) is nice.

    Clover (Trifolium) is easy and stays green and great for bees.  Just be careful barefoot in the summer (because of the bees)

    You may want to create wildflower beds or flowering meadows with longer grass along the sides and leave a mown path through the garden.   That seems to be what the photo shows.

    I have 2 patches of "lawn" but it is not all grass... it has low-growing wildflowers like daisies (Bellis Perennis), lotus corniculatus (Bird's Foot Tefoil) and clover.   Also moss.   I just mow it occasionally and never add fertilizer.   It stays green all year and I like the little flowers within it.    When I read the other threads with people worrying about non-grass or moss or yellowing grass it makes me glad I have a relaxed approach to lawn.   I find when mowed it looks neat enough anyway.

    One of my favorite groundcovers, which is evergreen here in southern Britain and even has flowers on it now is call veronica peduncularis Georgia Blue or veronica umbrosa Georgia Blue. I've never found a photo which does justice to its brilliant blue on a bronze/green foliage.

    Be aware that with trees and surrounding hedge, you will block out wind but also sun so what you are able to have inside of that area may change as the hedges grow. 

    I'm envious of the size of your garden but think you will have to do it section by section.  Have fun with it.

  • Kitty 2Kitty 2 ManchesterPosts: 5,150

    Sorry, I remembered it wrong, she wanted rid of the clover because a bee stung her Chihuahua.

    This is a link to some clover information 

    http://lawncare.about.com/od/organiclawncare/fl/Micro-Clover-for-Lawn-Health-and-Beauty.htm

  • WateryWatery Posts: 388

    Tetley-- Really?  That's good to know.   Shows you the danger of passing on info you've read but without the experience to back it up.  image  I'm blaming it on Monty.   I could swear he said thyme sulks in the shade.

  • nutcutletnutcutlet PeterboroughPosts: 26,160

    When I've let thyme get shaded out by other plants it's gone all leggy, bald and hardly flowered.

    Check where thyme grows naturally Watery, don't listen to us or Monty.

  • Thanks for all you suggestions

    I like the idea of combining various plants. thyme and clover sounds nice, chamomile is not my favorite one...too many memories when beeing a young boy been forced to drink it as a tea when ill... image

    When searchin I came across Isotoma Fluviatilis with white or blue flowers and Sagina subulata 'Aurea'.

    I think i will divide our garden into sections all connected by a curved path, each section seperated by different borders. For example a self build fence with an old gate, then some fruit tree espalier, next with an archway,...somethig like this. Each with some focal point which draws you in but without showing too much before entering..

    Sounds like a huge project, but i'm looking forward to sit with my family surrounded by all the plants under a tree, sipping tea or coffee, and hear all the buzzing around me...gladly my fiancee likes this idea too we are not too old (40+) and we both have siblings to help.

    And when all the works is done, to put the cherry on the cake, i'd like to get a top bar hive to help bees, our fruit trees and all the other plants. Fortunately my brother has kept bees for many years, so there'll be help, too.

    Maybe i will draw some plans and if that's ok, i'll post them here for suggestions and criticism.

    so...have a nice sunday for what there's of it and again thanks for all your efforts so far

    Michael

  • nutcutletnutcutlet PeterboroughPosts: 26,160
    traindogs post is spam, needs 3 more flags
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