Kathy is an avid gardener who loves to grow perennials and vegetables in her zone 5 Ontario gardens.
Reasons to Get Rid of Your Lawn
After a couple of years of struggling to grow an attractive lawn in our shady front yard, we decided to replace it with a perennial garden. It took a bit of work to dig out the old lawn, add some compost and soil, and plant the new ground covers and perennial flowers, but it was well worth the effort.
After the first year, the amount of work required in the garden decreased substantially. Our front yard garden has continued to evolve and has been a joy to maintain rather than a task that we dread. If you've been considering replacing some or all of your front lawn with a garden, please read on for ten reasons why I think you should go for it.
1. It Will Help Beautify Your Neighbourhood.
In my opinion, there is a certain appeal to a garden full of perennials, shrubs and groundcovers that even the most perfectly manicured lawn can never quite compete with.
Perennial gardens offer an everchanging display of foliage, flowers, shapes, textures and colours that keep your yard—and your neighbourhood—interesting.
2. Gardens Attract Wildlife, Birds, and Beneficial Insects.
Monocultures of grass on lawn after lawn do very little to support a diversity of insects and birds. Replacing even a section of your lawn with perennial flowers, bushes, wildflowers and grasses or groundcovers will help support these important players in the ecosystem.
3. You May Get To Know Your Neighbours Better.
During the process of transforming our front yard from a less than bland lawn to a garden, we got to know many of our neighbours much better. People passing by on the street would stop to ask about what we were doing, and later on, others stopped by to admire it and compliment us on the results.
I've also had people offer to give me some of their perennials that they were moving or dividing, which was very much appreciated and helped to keep the costs of the new garden down.
4. Gardens Are More Environmentally Friendly.
In addition to supporting greater bio-diversity, gardens are also much kinder to the environment than maintaining a lawn. No longer will you need to use electricity or spew gas fumes into the air when you mow your lawn.
A lot of people still depend on fertilizers and pesticides to maintain a lush, green lawn, and a significant amount of watering can be required during dry spells to prevent grass from drying out and turning brown.
After the first year of getting our perennial garden established, we have not watered it at all. Even during the dryest spells in hot summers, when neighbours' lawns were brown, our garden continued to do very well.
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5. You Can Expand Your Creativity and Experiment with New Plants and Designs.
If gardening is something you enjoy, replacing your lawn will give you more room to experiment with new plants and flowers. You may even choose to use some of your newly expanded garden space to grow vegetables or herbs.
You may start off by just converting a section of your lawn to a perennial flower garden, but will likely find yourself enjoying it so much that your lawn will continue to shrink over time.
6. You Can Be a Trendsetter.
It seems to be a common occurrence that once one homeowner on a street starts transforming their yards from boring lawns to beautiful gardens, other neighbours are inspired to follow suit.
When you decide to replace your lawn with a garden, your neighbours will likely be skeptical, and perhaps a little worried when they see you digging out your grass. However, once they see the beautiful results, you may start to see some of them follow suit and start front yard gardens of their own.
7. Gardens Are Easier to Grow Than Grass in Many Conditions.
If your yard is shady, you may be constantly fighting a losing battle to grow grass. Grass needs sun to grow, and it is difficult to have a nice-looking lawn if you have too much shade in your yard.
If your yard is sunny and hot, then the grass on your lawn probably turns dry and brown in the heat of the summer - or requires constant watering. Many areas now impose watering bans during dry spells or droughts, which can quickly result in brown, dead lawns.
There is a wide range of perennial flowers and grasses, shrubs and even herbs and vegetables that are suitable for extreme conditions of shade or sun. Once established, these plants can thrive with very little effort on your part.
8. You May Increase Your Home's Property Value.
A beautifully landscaped front yard increases a home's curb appeal and can increase the property value. Establishing a garden in your front yard now can pay off down the road when you try to sell your house by setting your house apart from the crowd.
9. Gardens are Good for Your Physical and Mental Health.
Many people refer to gardening as a cheap form of therapy, and I definitely think they're on to something. Working or sitting in your garden can be very therapeutic and help you forget your troubles, at least for a while.
10. If You Enjoy Photography, You'll Have Lots of Subject Material.
If you're anything like me and enjoy both gardening and photography, a front yard garden will bring you immense pleasure. You will have an ever-changing display of plants and flowers to use as subjects to practice your photography skills.
Lawn vs Garden Poll
See how one woman is using her front yard garden to help feed others.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
BrightMeadow from a room of one's own on December 03, 2012:
This is a beautifully written article with a lot of great reasons to grow a garden instead of a lawn-- although, truth be told, I would be happy for anything that gets me out of mowing.
astonerattnet from South Central PA on December 03, 2012:
My front yard is more garden than I'd need. I've been tempted to turn it into pasture for the cows or alpacas though.
Angelo52 on December 01, 2012:
Great idea. All that grass, and the expense that goes with it, seems such a waste of time and resources. Better to use native plants and flowers.
Donna Hilbrandt from Upstate New York on December 01, 2012:
Great video and article. I love a home with a lush garden instead of all lawn. Voted up!
Liz Davis from Hudson, FL on December 01, 2012:
I love this! There are a number of people down here in FL that have "Florida friendly" yards that have native plants in place of grass. Once they're established, they require very little water to maintain. They're also much nicer to look at than plain old grass with fire-ant holes all over the place!
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on November 30, 2012:
What an interesting idea. Some areas are more suited to this type of thing than others. I especially like the idea of planting perennials as opposed to annuals that need replanting. I am working more vegetables into our backyard as time goes on. Just wish we had more sunny areas. The large oak trees on our property and the neighbors prevents us from successfully growing more. We take advantage of the more sunny areas as we can. Up and interesting votes.
Kathy Sima (author) from Ontario, Canada on November 30, 2012:
I'm with you, Bill. I'd get rid of our back lawn too, if I could, but the kids and dogs do need somewhere to run around. (My vegetable and perennial gardens are gradually expanding back there too though).
Georgie, I prefer a more natural look too. I've never been keen on the look of a perfectly manicured lawn, and it's just not worth all of the effort it requires (in my opinion, anyway!) I'd much rather spend my time and energy working in the garden any day.
Thanks so much for stopping by, voting, sharing, clicking and all that stuff. :)
Georgie Lowery from North Florida on November 30, 2012:
This is something I've thought a lot about, as well as food-scaping that Bill is talking about up there. I don't really like the orderly look of a well-kept lawn, if that makes any sense.
This is a great Hub. I really like that you pointed out that we could get to know our neighbors better, too. Voting and clicking and sharing. :)
Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on November 30, 2012:
Bravo! I am all for this idea....oh, wait, we already did it. LOL
I am so done with lawns. Our backyard is one large vegetable garden and our frontyard is a perennial haven. No more mowing lawns for this guy; it just makes no sense to me.