Native Perrenial Garden

Simple common area lawn between 2 homes is now a native flower garden where kids can see blooming flowers and pollinating bees. Neighbors converted this area 2 years ago.

Lawns are easy to convert into a native perennial garden. You can establish a beautiful, fully developed garden in two years by following the simple steps below: 1. Smother the lawn using 10 or more sheets of newspapers, a single layer of cardboard, black plastic, or a tarp. Secure the material with rocks, logs, fence posts, or similar items to keep them from blowing away. Cover for 2 months or longer, until the grass is completely dead. Lawn can also be killed by spraying with a glyphosate herbicide, such as "Roundup." Apply herbicide in mid-spring or early fall when lawn grasses are actively growing. Wait one week after spraying before installing your plants. 2. If the soil is poor and requires amendment with organic mater, till or dig up the dead sod, add the desired organic material, and till it into the soil. Dead sod tends to clump together and does not till into the soil well. If a spring planting is desired, kill the lawn in the fall and allow it to rot over winter before tilling in spring. The sod will then break up more easily. 3. If no soil amendment is required, plants can be installed directly into dead sod using a small shovel or hand trowel. By not disturbing the surrounding soil, weed seeds are not exposed, reducing weed growth in the new garden. If smothering with newspaper, cut a small hole in the paper and install your plant through the hole. Leave the paper in place and cover it with the desired mulch to help prevent weed germination. When planting into tilled soil or dead lawn turf, cover the soil around each new transplant with layers of newspaper and cover with mulch. The newspaper serves as a barrier to weed seed germination. Hint: when applying newspaper around your plants, it is easier to work with when left folded in half. After applying a few sheets of newspaper, water them down as you go to prevent them from blowing away. 4. Mulch immediately after planting with 3 to 4 inches of clean, weed-free straw (winter wheat straw is best). Shredded bark can be used sparingly as a substitute for straw. Cocoa bean hulls are easy to work with, but can be toxic to pets, especially dogs. Bark chips are not recommended. If desired, a pre-emergent herbicide such as "Preen" can be applied after the plants have been installed, and prior to application of a newspaper cover and mulch. This will help prevent weed germination and reduce garden maintenance. 5. Water your garden regularly in the first two months after planting whenever the soil under the mulch begins to dry out. Expect to water once a week in the absence of rainfall. A single deep soaking is better than numerous light sprinklings. Once the plants are well-established watering should not be necessary, except during periods of extended drought. Source and more info…

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