In our first blog post, we outlined some of the negative aspects of monoculture lawns. We went into how they not only waste space, time, and resources but how they also prevent your yard from reaching its full potential. How could your lawn be better serving you and your family? If planned properly, could that space save you money or even reward you? Are there ways in which this space could be used to enhance your lifestyle?… The answer is, emphatically, yes. Your lawn, if converted into an ecoscape, can do all of this and so much more. But what is an ecoscape? An ecoscape is the original (native) shape of the land, before altered by man. Our cooperative’s core mission is to replace as many unsustainable landscapes as we can with ecoscapes. There are a few options of ecoscaping we have come up with that will make blending environmental science into your lifestyle not only easy and cost-effective, but also much more rewarding than that green carpet you have spent a lifetime slaving over.
The most obvious choice for the an ecoscape is native restoration. Native ecoscapes add the most wildlife value and require the least amount of maintenance. These plants will be selected for your specific region and will thrive on their own without need for chemical fertilizers or irrigation. This is always my first recommendation for anyone who is looking to convert their lawn into the most efficient and environmentally friendly option.
Another viable option to the English lawn is xeriscape design. Xeriscapes,almost by definition, are virtually maintenance free, maximizing water-conserving techniques. Xeriscapes are designed with scrub plants, cacti, succulents, and other desert species. Hardscaping elements are often incorporated, creating a striking contrast to the year round blooms. Xeriscaping offers a wealth of design opportunities and creates a great entertaining ambiance to anyone’s yard, perfect for the busy household that is environmentally friendly, yet still wishes to have a space that is aesthetically pleasing.
Another way to convert your monoculture of grass is by installing a meadow. A meadow provides the same function as a lawn, but requires less water and maintenance and is far more visually appealing. Meadows can be packed full of native and non-invasive species adapted to your local conditions. Wildflower meadows provide a stunning show. As different species hit peak bloom, the entire ecoscape changes color. It is a great way to attract butterflies and help restore the dwindling bee population. It is also an excellent option for converted pasture.
Food Forest and Edible Elements
An edible ecoscape is achievable and requires fewer resources than a traditional lawn. Using permaculture principles, Food Forests can be customized to fit the tastes and needs of a household. A food forest is a land management system that mimics a woodland ecosystem by substituting edible trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals. These edible ecoscapes will be designed to create and maximize the productive potential of your land.
Edible Elements can also be included in any ecoscape and include raised garden beds, container gardening, aquaculture, organic gardening, and living roofs/walls. Many designs and structures can be built directly on your pre-existing yard and as an added bonus, will kill the lawn underneath as they block out the sun’s rays, meaning, no lawn removal necessary. Container gardening, big and small, is both an outdoor and an indoor solution for those of you, like us, interesting in utilizing all space available.
GlassRoots will be primarily an ecoscaping cooperative that will explore many sustainable ventures. We believe wholeheartedly that this is the way forward. Ecoscaping can help reconnect neighborhoods, provide critical wildlife habitat, resolve the impending food crisis, and eventually, on a large enough scale, reverse climate change.