Gardening Articles: Landscaping :: Lawns, Ground Cover, & Wildflowers

Lawns 101

by National Gardening Association Editors

Much has been said and written about whether or not Americans should rethink their passion for the home lawn. There is general agreement that where summer rains are adequate and a well-adapted variety of grass is grown, a lawn makes perfect sense. Unfortunately, geographic areas where summer rains are adequate enough to support a lush, green stand of grass are few and far between in this country.

While acknowledging the validity of those points, no surface is better suited to outdoor living and game playing than a grass lawn. And few (if any) are more beautiful. Viewed from that perspective, the bigger the lawn, the better! The most practical and thoughtful opinions have suggested that a lawn is well worth the energy and expense it requires, in any region of the country, if it is actively used as a surface for outdoor living and playing.

If, however, you do not intend to use the lawn for game-playing and entertaining, by all means consider planting another type of ground cover, one well adapted to your area. Once ground covers are established, they require far less maintenance than a lawn. Ground covers make perfect sense when all you require is an even visual expanse of green to fill in the area between the house and the fence.

If you determine that a grass lawn makes sense for your yard, planting the right variety of grass at the right time of year will go a long way in making yours a healthy, easy-care lawn. If the healthiest, best-looking lawn with the least amount of maintenance is your goal (and why shouldn't it be?), follow the instructions in The All Important First Step (below) religiously. You won't be disappointed.

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