Most folks would answer that with a resounding "yes". However, there are some who have replied with on equally resounding "no". 

Those who reside in the warmer climes have long been advocates of grassless yards. Areas of California, Arizona, New Mexico and 

Texas have gardened with heat tolerant plants for years with many choosing to use artificial turfs (some quite realistic) in place of traditional lawns. Though not inexpensive, the cost savings of no irrigation, fertilization or lawn upkeep oftentimes makes it an appealing option. 

For others who prefer to have live plantings, xeriscaping is a popular choice. Once only used in desert areas, the plantings are becoming more widespread in areas where temperatures are climbing and rainfall is decreasing. There are many plants that adapt well to xeriscaping besides the traditional cacti and many succulents. The Colorado mountain folks have made Alpine gardens for years and there are many plants that bloom tucked neatly into rocky areas. Wildflowers and native grasses do well in those type gardens also, adapting well to local temps and available moisture. 

Alternative lawnscaping is becoming more popular on the East coast as well where many lots are smaller. Rocks and mulch oftentimes replace grass. Greenery is added in the form of evergreen shrubs, small trees and container plantings. Small seating areas make good visiting spots in front yards much as our patios and porches do here. 

We still seem to prefer our grassy lawns here in Kansas and a lush thick carpet of grass certainly has it's appeal (one without moles would be even better.) 

I am seeing an increase in grassless yards here in Cowley County though. Some folks tell me they are converts due to the changes in climate. Others prefer to lessen their grassy upkeep for financial reasons. Still others due to their own aging. Some just prefer the beauty of assorted colors over an expanse of only green. My friend Joyce is a perfect example. She has converted the entire area in front of her home into a grassless area. An area that may have seemed small planted to grass now is packed to overflowing with color and movement. She has clematis, yarrow, coneflowers, daylillies, lirope, native grasses, roses, sedums, boxwoods, liatris, hibiscus and much more in an area intersected by two sidewalks. It's a breath of Heaven. 

All that beauty doesn't come without some drawbacks, though. The plants still need watering, fertilizing and weeding. Then there is the continual clean-up of leaves that come to visit from neighborhood trees in the Fall and Winter months. Given the choice in the same sized area, I think I'd make the same choice she did. 

I still have mostly grassy areas in my own yard, although my flower beds have claimed more of it over the years. I'm extremely grateful to Mr. Mosley who continues to keep it mowed so beautifully without complaining about the obstacles. 

Consider converting some or all of your grassy areas to alternative lawns. The result can be quite pleasing. 

One parting thought in reflection-- last Friday (June 7th) was the Moonlight Wildflower Tour. We departed by bus at 6 p.m.and had a fabulous evening touring a beautiful pasture while identifying native grasses and wildflowers followed by a yummy picnic style meal enjoyed on straw bale seating .. all for only five dollars. A cool breeze floated over the meadow while we enjoyed bluegrass music performed till sunset. If you have never been, plan on it next year. It's terrific. 

Happy gardening


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