Benefits abound with yard trends

Carver County Water Management, by Madeline Seveland

The trends of yards are changing according to a recent Wall Street Journal article titled “The New Lawn: Shaggy, Chic and easy on the mower.”
We are witnessing more and more homeowners making small and large changes to their yards tending toward sustainability, wildlife habitat, edible gardens, water conservation and more.
A couple of Chaska residents desired a more sustainable yard design and a closer feel of living in nature. They sought to conserve water and reduce turf grass by replacing it with native plants, perennials, vegetables and no mow grasses.
Working with local landscapers, the Chaska residents were introduced to the Rainxchange system and shown how they could incorporate it into their landscape where it would keep things looking more natural. Their Rainxchange is a 500 gallon subsurface rainwater harvesting system that captures rainwater from 80 percent of their rooftop. They then use the water in their perennial and vegetable gardens and in a landscape feature, a fountain.
Capturing and reusing rainwater reduces the community’s demand on the municipal water supply, reduces the owner’s water bills and helps avoid strict watering schedules that we are seeing more and more of. A one-inch rainfall on a 2,000 square-foot roof can lead to 1,250 gallons of water. Their roof is 1,061 square feet so the 500 gallon Rainxchange will fill with every one-inch rain event.
In addition, they are in the process of transitioning their front yard to “no mow” grass through seeding. In their back yard they had already removed the turf and replaced it with native and perennial plants, vegetables and no mow grasses.
While the front yard transition is taking place they wanted their lawn to be healthy so they aerated and composted it while adding the seed. The no mow lawn requires much less mowing, thus less noise and air pollution. It is also more drought tolerant and will require minimal fertilizing.
The homeowners are already seeing the benefits of this transition as they let the grass grow a little longer this year and were rewarded with a much greener lawn with fewer weeds.
One of the benefits to the change these residents have noticed and enjoyed is the additional wildlife. They see a lot more bird action. They believe constant access to water from the fountain helps and have even seen the birds taking “showers.”
The residents also applied to and were awarded a Carver County Water Management Organization’s Cost Share Program for the full grant of $2,499 towards their project which is helping conserve water and reduces stormwater runoff, which often leads to water pollution. The award of this grant was critical in their being able to do the project and they found the process very easy!
If you are interested in starting to reducing turf in your lawn and installing more native plants, no mow grasses, or water conservation methods, or our cost share program, contact Carver County Water Management Organization for ideas and resources www.co.carver.mn.us/water .

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