Sustainable Landscaping
healthy lawn care
rain gardens

 

 

Jackie Dawley (URI Master Gardener), Davisville, RI

What you will see!

Area 2: Back yard - this page

*Permeable paving alternatives--using crushed stone for walkways and areas difficult to maintain in lawn.

*Lawn renovation with shade tolerant grass mix and white clover

Area 1: Front Lawn and Beds - see the front yard for beds of sustainable plants, rain barrels, healthy lawn care steps, altnerative white grub control and more.

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Creation of walkway using crushed stone – permeable paving materials:
Tip 5 - reduce runoff
Tip 6
- reduce soil erosion

A 33 ft. long by 3 ft. wide strip of lawn grass (separating two beds) was converted to a crushed stone walkway. This minimizes difficult lawn maintenance, promotes groundwater infiltration and protects the soil from erosion while providing a scenic enhancement of the existing landscape.


The top four to six inches of topsoil was removed and saved for lawn renovation areas. The walkway area was leveled, landscape edging and fabric were installed, followed by 3/4 inch crushed stone.

Creation of crushed stone pad – permeable paving materials:

Jackie worked with a landscape contractor to convert a difficult to maintain lawn area around a wooden swing to create a low-maintenance scenic enhancement.


existing placement, August 2003

The contractor set the swing on an angle, introduced a curved contour edge, and used landscape fabric underneath stone dust and crushed stone to provide a pad area. This minimizes difficult lawn maintenance, promotes groundwater infiltration and protects the soil from erosion while providing a scenic enhancement of the existing landscape.


Paving stones are used to provide a walkway to the back yard. The use of paving stones and border beds provides an attractive use of this narrow, shaded area between the house and property boundary, requiring minimal inputs of fertilizers, pest control and water.
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Lawn renovation:
Healthy Lawn Care

The backyard lawn was renovated using a shady lawn grass mix and white clover. This predominantly fescue mix is also more drought tolerant.

White Clover:
Due to Jackie's interest in bee keeping, she was willing to add white clover to the mix. White clover and other legumes have the unique ability to “fix” atmospheric nitrogen and make it available for plant uptake. Lawns with white clover require little to no added nitrogen. New Zealand, Dutch and Haifa are low growing varieties commonly used in lawns. Seeding rates are typically 1/4 to 1/2 pound per 1,000 square feet. Small white or pink flowers will attract bees, which may or may not be desirable. How can you beat free nitrogen? White clover also performs well in droughty, low-fertility, low maintenance sites.

Soil test samples were collected Spring 2003 and 2004; fertilizer and lime applications have been/will be made according to recommendations. Note the importance of using a drop spreader for controlled application of fertilizer.

On-going management includes leaving the grass clippings on the lawn except when collected for composting purposes. Watering with a portable sprinkler is conducted using a rain guage to measure weekly rainfall and using shallow cans to measure the amount of irrigation water applied, which is crucial in preventing over-watering.


before renovation, May 2003

before renovation, May 2003

Backyard renovated with shade tolerant grass mix:

25% Improved Perennial Ryegrass
20% Chewings Fescue
20% Hard Fescue
5% Improved Kentucky Bluegrass
5% Poa Trivialis (Rough Bluegrass)

1/2 lb. per 1,000 sq. ft. of clover seed was broadcast after the shady mix.

Above two photos taken three weeks after seeding, June 2003.

August 2003

White clover interseeded with shady grass mix, August 2003.


September 2003, picinic table was removed from central lawn area, area was patch seeded with shady lawn mix.


May 2004, applying lime and organic fertilizer according to soil test results.


June 2004


June 9, 2005

Visit our Healthy Lawn Care page for more information on renovation tips and lawn health.

Area 1: Front Lawn and Beds - see the front yard for beds of sustainable plants, rain barrels, healthy lawn care steps, altnerative white grub control and more.

Special thanks to Terry Moone Excavating for the donation of equipment and service to pick-up and deliver landscaping materials.

Special thanks to Bob Mackie, Midland Seamless Gutter for the donation of a roof gutter downspout and elbow.

Special thanks to Dr. Steve Alm, URI Dept. Plant Sciences and URI Master Gardeners Rudi Hempe, Michael Sullivan, Richard Perreault, Jules Cohen, Chuck DiTucci, and Joy Gerstenblatt for their time, expertise, equipment and assistance with planning, implementation and maintenance.

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