Xeriscape tip–reduce irrigated turf areas

It’s hard work to tear up the turf, but the payoff is less lawn to water, feed, weed and mow.

reduce-turf-blogThe dry winter, combined with last year’s hot summer, left the turf in the backyard looking shabby. And not in a shabby-chic way, either.

So in early spring, I decided that instead of replanting the grass, I’d take some of it up and replace it with shrubs, rock and mulch. Limiting irrigated turf areas is one of the seven Xeriscape principles.

Yesterday, after several long weekends of digging, shoveling, wheelbarrowing and replanting, I finally finished my mini-landscaping project.

I dug up the turf that caused the most problems–it was in an area that was difficult to water and to mow. There still would be enough lawn without this area for the dog to enjoy and to have a spot of green just off the patio.

As with any project, I started with a basic plan. The garden hose was arranged on the lawn in different configurations to help me see which part of the turf should stay and what should go.

Once the “to go” area was defined, I used a new shovel specifically designed for digging up turf. Having the right tools makes a tough job a lot easier, but taking up turf is backbreaking work.

After the turf was pulled up, landscape fabric was put into place to allow moisture to get through, but to keep weeds down.

I planted a serviceberry (Amelanchier alnifolia) purchased at an Arbor Day sale. Because it’s a native, it will do well here with little water and care once it’s established in the landscape. It’s also one of the first shrubs to bloom in the spring even before its leaves appear; birds like the berries, too.

The fabric was covered with mulch and then rock was added along the entire backyard border to further define the space.

This design will definitely help me conserve water–and energy–in the landscape. It’s also created a nice new view from the kitchen window.

What landscaping projects have you undertaken recently? Please share your ideas here.


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Love this article! Getting rid of sod that is not needed or not used in any way is such a great way to conserve water and energy.

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