Converting a traditional lawn to a meadow in Bellingham WA

Mindy Toney
July 11, 2019

I haven't begun and was wondering about any advice from people who have done this before. Any lawns I could see in person in WA state?

Comments (5)

  • PRO
    Patricia Colwell Consulting

    Are you in the city or outside? A lot of people would not appreciate your wild flower seeds entering their pristine lawns. I actully dislike grass so I get it but maybe something more like a ground cover might work in the city.

    Mindy Toney thanked Patricia Colwell Consulting
  • PRO

    Check with your local municipality. Some cities and counties do not allow this for small lots.

    Mindy Toney thanked BeverlyFLADeziner
  • girl_wonder

    Good for you! Sunset Magazine had an article. It's geared for California gardens, but there are pics to show you how it can look nice in a neighborhood, if you're not allowed to go for the Little House on the Prairie look. ;) I bet your local indie nursery has tips on which plants will grow well near you.

    Losing your lawn? Plant a meadow.


    Mindy Toney thanked girl_wonder
  • hu1967910

    Two questions to consider: (Q1) If you're doing this for ecological reasons, go for it. If you're doing it because you think it will be lower maintenance, it won't be. Common weeds won't respect their native predecessors. Even among the natives, a few species will crowd out the others, and they'll probably not be the ones that you'd choose. (Q2) How far away will this be from the most common viewing distance? These types of yards can look really pretty from afar, but from close up (from house or street if it's a small lot), they can look ratty.

    General suggestions: (S1) If you're till willing to try it, search online for specialized nurseries or designers with experience in installing native gardens It's not as easy as tossing those little seed mixtures into a blank canvas and letting nature work its magic. Maybe check with any botanical centers or the cooperative extension service in your region to see if they have suggestions. The typical landscape design company usually isn't the best fit for this type of project, probably because these yards can look like doo-doo in 3-4 years and that can be bad for business. (S2) Don't forget about the importance of shrubs, even if you're doing a meadow. They can help anchor different zones and provide some structure.

    The people who bought our house turned our native front yard back into grass, but maybe your project will have a happier outcome! Best of luck!

    Mindy Toney thanked hu1967910
  • l pinkmountain

    My friend did it on her little tiny row house front yard in Philadelphia. It looks great, but yes, not low maintenance but no worse than any other yard or garden. I would start with just maybe a small planting integrated into the larger lawn and go from there. I think it will depend on your zone, your lot and how to integrate it into the landscape you already have. Even a small meadow plot can be a joy though. i worked in a place where we had a tiny meadow outside the entrance of our work building. It still managed to attract a lot of interesting wildlife and gave us many interesting things to watch over the seasons. It was maybe 15x30ft. Maybe something along a split rail fence would look nice. It just really depends on the circumstances in your neighborhood what will look good. I love the way Piet Oudolf uses grasses in the landscape. Google him for some inspiration!

    Weed management is tough. We burned ours at the start of every year. Probably not practical for an urban situation.

    Mindy Toney thanked l pinkmountain

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