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How to Replace Lawn Grass with a Wildflower Meadow

by Marcia Passos Duffy, All About Lawns Columnist

Are you tired of mowing your lawn grass every week in the summer? Replace part of your lawn with a wildflower meadow. A wildflower meadow is low-maintenance, cuts down on your mowing time (and carbon footprint), reduces the need for herbicides and pesticides, and entices butterflies and birds into your yard.

How would you like to improve your lawn?
  • Make it greener
  • Eliminate patches
  • Less weeds
  • Make it thicker
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Steps to Replacing Your Lawn Grass with a Meadow

  1. Kill or move the lawn grass. Before you plant a meadow, first you must get rid of the conventional grass. Choose an area where you want to install your wildflower meadow, and spread layers of newspaper (with soy-based ink) on the area. Cover the newspaper with mulch, and keep it on the grass for several summer months to completely kill the lawn grass. Next, rake up the newspaper/mulch and dead grass. You don't have to till or fertilize the area. A faster method to get rid of your lawn grass is to rent a sod cutter and move the sod to another area of your yard.
  2. Choose wildflower types. The types of wildflowers or native plants you put in your garden depends on your personal preferences. To attract butterflies and wildlife, check out the National Wildlife Federation's state listings of wildlife-friendly native plants. You can research online for native plants in your area, too.
  3. Seeds or plants. You can use seeds but remember that most wildflower seeds must overwinter to germinate. If you do use seeds, broadcast them in the autumn; use a seed spreader or spread evenly by hand. Plant seedlings or plants in the spring, tamp firmly down, and keep watered until established.
  4. Plant a variety. For a successful wildflower garden look, combine a mixture of both flowers and native grasses.

For more tips on replacing your lawn grass with a wildflower meadow, read the National Audubon Society's article, Reducing the Lawn--Meadows…and other Lawn Alternatives.

About the Author

Marcia Passos Duffy is a freelance writer and a member of the Garden Writers Association. She is a frequent contributor to Turf Magazine and Growing Magazine. Visit her site at

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