Written by Henry Miller Zeiders
Can Destroying Your Lawn Be a Good Thing?
How often do you find yourself wanting to drastically change the look of your lawn, your garden, or to just start a new lawn improvement project? Now ask yourself if you’ve ever thought about completely eliminating your lawn and replacing it with a native prairie landscape? Can destroying your lawn be a good thing? One acre or 1,000 acres, any converted prairie landscape can have a tremendous impact. The installation of a native prairie landscape has the potential to turn your lawn into a densely packed, diverse community of beauty. It also has the capability to harmonize the relationship between looks and functionality. The shift to a native prairie landscape offers numerous financial benefits, alongside an aesthetic achievement. By lowering reliance upon consistent watering, a conversion from turf to prairie protects your property from erosion, multiplies the nutrients present in your soil, and attracts pollinators that will feed your presently blooming flowers and gardens. Check out one of our Native Plants at Noon series on getting your native garden started, even if you’re not quite ready to convert your entire lawn!
Championing the Prairie Reconstruction Movement
Individuals like Tim Rodgers are champions of the native prairie restoration and reconstruction movement. He runs an investment business in Overland Park, Kansas, managing portfolios and navigating investment planning for his clients. Interestingly enough, one of his clients actually introduced him to the prairie conversion concept. So, how did he navigate the process of converting eight acres of his property to native prairie landscape? I was lucky enough to get to ask him this question and others like it.
Tim recounted his childhood experiences being outdoors and growing up in an area where he was constantly exposed to native Missouri landscapes. The love he garnered for nature followed him from childhood into adulthood. In 2012, Tim and his wife purchased a swath of property to establish their new roots. What Tim envisioned for his property brought back the memories of his childhood but now he had the means to put his desires into action. Throughout the pre-planning stages, he did what anyone would do and relied on the input from experts, reading as much as he could, and toiling over his strategy. In the Spring of 2014, Tim got to work ousting the fescue and installing what would grow to be prairie grasses and flowers.
A Learning Process
Prairie reconstruction isn’t without its stressors but neither is life! Tim spoke of his anxiety the following spring when ragweed sprouted in abundance, he felt as if his preparation and hard work was for naught.
“This is a learning process and a journey”,
he told me, advising anyone seeking to do this themselves to trust the process and enjoy the journey. Patience presented Tim with his gorgeous acreage now teeming with life and character. You can follow in Tim’s footsteps by looking into our guide on how to Eliminate Your Lawn Entirely! Plus, stay tuned for our August Lunch & Learn where we take a closer look at Tim’s planted prairie with native plant guru and biologist, Larry Rizzo.
Missouri Department of Conservation Private Land Services