merrycat
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What can I grow in my lawn?

We have a tiny little fence back yard (like maybe 20'x20') that's currently just dirt. We spent this summer mostly digging and mixing in better lawn soil. Next year we'd like to actually have a lawn, and I love the idea of mixing different species. Different grasses, little leafy things, and maybe some flowers all growing together would look awesome.

We're both pretty new to gardening and lawns though so I'm not sure where to start. Some suggestions for ground cover that will grow in here in zone 3b would be awesome! Bonus points for small, hardy things that don't need a lot of water and can survive hot dry summers, marrow freezing winters, and newbies on a learning curve. If it matters, the yard faces south so it gets lots of sun. Right by the fence it does get some shade though.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: What can I grow in my lawn?

Wow... there's a challenge, low growing, flowering ground covers for zone 3!

I love the idea of mixed "lawn" and having flowers in it.

Cold season grasses for lawns are usually fescue and ryegrass. Native grass for you would include blue grama, various sedges including pennsylvania sedge, oatgrass

Here's some little low growing flowers that grow well mixed in with lawns and that should be cold hardy for you:

Field pussytoes antennaria negelecta, baby blue eyes Nemophilia menziesii, or the related Five Spot
Nemophila maculata, Crimson Clover Trifolium incarnatum or other clovers such as strawberry clover, Forget-me-Not Myosotis sylvatica, Johnny Jump-up Viola cornuta and other wild violets, Sweet Alyssum Lobularia maritima, virginia strawberry Fragaria virginica, roman chamomile chamaemelum nobilis, elfin thyme Thymus praecox 'Elfin', English Daisy Bellis perennis

I'm thinking what you would want to do is make up your own seed mix with some grass seed flower seeds of whatever of these flowers you can find. Fall is a good time to plant grass seed.

If you don't want to DIY it:

Here's a company that sells various seed mixes of grass and low flowers:
https://protimelawnseed.com/products/fleur-de-lawn

You would need to contact them to see if their mixes would be cold hardy enough for you

Prairie moon nursery https://www.prairiemoon.com/ sells a variety of seed mixes, for lawn alternatives, native grasses, ground covers, different situations of dry/wet sun/shade etc. They have some prairie seed mix for upper midwest USA, which ought to be kind of similar climate. Again you would need to contact them about your specific climate and what you are trying to do, but I'm sure they could help.

You probably need to know these people also:
https://www.calgaryplants.com/

Hope this helps!
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rainbowgardener
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Re: What can I grow in my lawn?

did any of these ideas seem to be what you were looking for?
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tomc
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Re: What can I grow in my lawn?

Heirochloe odorata? Violets? Clovers? All come to my mind.
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rainbowgardener
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Re: What can I grow in my lawn?

I put care in to coming up with ideas that might work in a zone 3 climate. It is always a little disappointing when people don't give any reaction. Even a negative reaction, like don't think it will work for me, not what I was looking for, feels a lot better than my post disappearing in to cyberspace, as happens so often around here.

Profile shows this person was actually back lurking as recently as a few days ago.... :shock:
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HoneyBerry
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Re: What can I grow in my lawn?

I appreciate this information for my situation. I need alternative lawn ideas myself. So your post isn't a waste of cyberspace. I understand how you feell, though. Posting ideas is time consuming. It's nice to get some feedback.
So far, I'm thinking about planting dutch white clover as a lawn alternative. But I'm open to new ideas. It is an area of old lawn that doesn't get much foot traffic. And I love how white clover looks. And the bees love it. So I think it should work for me.
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HoneyBerry
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Re: What can I grow in my lawn?

:wink: I love Fleur de Lawn® seed mix! I copied your ideas to save as an email draft for next year, when I get around to renovating my scruffy doot if lawn. And I love the "Renovate Your Lawn" page at that same site. So your post was very helpful for me. :D
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rainbowgardener
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Re: What can I grow in my lawn?

:) thanks for sharing that!!!
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HoneyBerry
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Re: What can I grow in my lawn?

I did not intend 'doot if lawn'. I meant 'scruffy lawn'. But 'doot if lawn' describes it. This tiny keyboard is challenging.
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pinksand
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Re: What can I grow in my lawn?

BirdLover wrote::wink: I love Fleur de Lawn® seed mix! I copied your ideas to save as an email draft for next year, when I get around to renovating my scruffy doot if lawn. And I love the "Renovate Your Lawn" page at that same site. So your post was very helpful for me. :D
I planted the Fleur de Lawn mix this fall thanks to RBGs recommendation on one of my posts about a polyculture lawn a while back! It has filed in nicely, but I'm scared to see how it fared the freezing overnight temps temps we've hadthis weekend... I haven't had a chance to inspect. Anyway, I've been really happy with the mix so far and hope it will make it! You should definitely give it a try in the spring!
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HoneyBerry
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Re: What can I grow in my lawn?

I might do dutch white clover or I might do Fleur de Lawn mix. I haven't decided yet. The effect should be similar either way. The portion of my yard that I am considering it for is perfect for either one.
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rainbowgardener
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Re: What can I grow in my lawn?

The fleur-de-lawn has strawberry clover, Trifolium fragiferum, and micro clover, Trifolium repens, in it. But it also has dwarf yarrow, english daisy, nemophilia, and several different dwarf grasses. So it is more diverse:

Image
https://41.media.tumblr.com/cc362ec0bc3f ... 1_1280.jpg

It is all low growing stuff, so it is designed to need infrequent mowing and it is drought tolerant.

I used it once as an overseed in an existing lawn. Done that way, the little flowers tended to die out over a period of years, at least the way I did it, which was using the seed pretty sparingly, because it was a big lawn and the seed is a bit pricey. (Just so I don't sound like an f-d-l commercial.)
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applestar
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Re: What can I grow in my lawn?

I was just perusing herb seeds and it occurred to me that the perennial Roman Chamomile might be another candidate for this thread.

I believe it has fragrant foliage and blossoms have herbal medicinal properties (maybe including fungicidal and plant health promoting?), but it's not the same as the annual German camomile which is the one used for herbal teas and tastes WAY better (sweet, apple-like)

...I remember growing both once and thinking Roman Chamomile flowers tasted awful... :roll:
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pinksand
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Re: What can I grow in my lawn?

rainbowgardener wrote:I used it once as an overseed in an existing lawn. Done that way, the little flowers tended to die out over a period of years, at least the way I did it, which was using the seed pretty sparingly, because it was a big lawn and the seed is a bit pricey. (Just so I don't sound like an f-d-l commercial.)
This is how I used it as well. A lot of my lawn was damaged by a bobcat (the machine, not the animal) so I used the seed to fill in a lot of bare spots. It is pricy!!! I went out of town for business shortly after seeding and nearly cried when my husband said he forgot to water it all week! It did okay though.
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HoneyBerry
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Lawn Alternative Thread Re: What can I grow in my lawn?

Reviving this thread for the newbie.
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Peter1142
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Re: What can I grow in my lawn?

I like creeping charlies. They survive mowing too no problem.
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rainbowgardener
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Re: What can I grow in my lawn?

If you can't lick 'em, join 'em? :) Trouble with creeping charlie is that it tends to take over and become your lawn. And clover is nitrogen fixing; I don't think creeping charlie is, all though it does survive well in low N soils.
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Peter1142
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Re: What can I grow in my lawn?

My property has so many weeds... creeping charlie is pretty easy to keep under control comparatively. And it has that nice meadowy look. I'm fine with it taking over the spots I have it growing.
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