Garden Book Review: Beautiful No-Mow Yards

beautiful no mow yardsI’ve been meaning to review Evelyn J. Hadden’s latest book on creating yards with less or no lawn ever since she spoke at my hometown library last spring. Beautiful No-Mow Yards is Hadden’s second book on alternatives to turf, a subject she has been promoting for years. A Twin Cities resident, Hadden has become a significant proponent of this more environmentally sound form of home landscaping.

Hadden’s basic argument is that lawns, while a classic element of American landscaping, are costly and unsuitable for many environments and climates. And, for many homeowners, there are parts of your lawn that you never go to except to mow. So why not plant something else there?

Beautiful No-Mow Yards‘ subtitle is “50 Amazing Lawn Alternatives,” and it is the abundance of ideas that Hadden offers that make the book enjoyable and useful. Some of the examples Hadden shows in the book are from the Twin Cities, making her suggestions especially relevant to readers in the Upper Midwest. Hadden advocates thinking carefully about why you have lawn and how you use it — or, if you don’t, how those spaces could be used. Patios and other hardscaping, meadows, ponds, rain gardens and edible gardens are among the alternatives she suggests. If you want a swathe of green, but don’t want to grow turfgrass, why not consider another alternative, such as creeping thyme or maybe bigroot geranium, which has been used as a groundcover at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum for years.

In addition to offering inspiration, Beautiful No-Mow Yards gives instruction on how to move from turf to something else. It has sections on how to remove and replace turf, ways to design and maintain your new landscape and an extensive list of plant possibilities, including many plants that are hardy to our area.

Beautiful No-Mow Yards is available in the Northern Gardener Store (2705 Lincoln Dr., Roseville, MN) as well as many area bookstores. If you are thinking about giving your lawnmower a break next season, check this book out first.