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Lawns Suck

Want to know why lawns are even a thing? It started off in the 17th century as a status symbol that the owner of said land could grow such a bare basic plant that had no food production purposes. Today, these useless standards are enforced through agencies such as County Code Enforcement and Home Owners Association. What's the point of upkeeping grass when it produces not much oxygen (compared to the alternative plants listed below), must be chemically sustained with lawn food and toxic weed killers that are detrimental to ground water supplies, and is a false symbol of wealth.

In this article, I will list alternatives to growing grass in one's yard and how these can help the environment if done on a massive scale.

Red Creeping Thyme (Thymus praecox)


A friend to butterflies and helpful bugs, it grows no higher than 4" with a width of 12"-18" per individual plant. It chokes out weeds yet is suitable for pot planting. Growing from seed is quite time-consuming, so if you're looking for quick results your best bet would be to purchase small growths of this Thyme called plugs.

Beach Grass/Dune Grass

Too numerous genus and species to make a full list, in fact some species in various states are listed as invasive. But what they all have in common is this one fact: their widespread and deep roots stabilize soils and beaches.

Water Fern (Azolla)

This plant would be best for areas that are very wet such as near wetlands or near bodies of water. That being said, Water Fern has three important uses: is a nitrogen fixer, meaning it adds nutrients to soil rather than strip them dry of it; it makes a nutrient-heavy animal feed for cows, pigs, and fowl; it's a powerful carbon sequester, which means Water Fern can absorb way more carbon than the average plant, which has the potential to offset climate change warming.

Clover (Trifolium)


Clover contains over 200 species, all of which are nitrogen fixers. Bees adore it so much, it's one of the top flowering plants in the world that they gather nectar from to produce honey. Their blossoms are also a popular choice for tea. The Crimson species of clover are my personal favorite wildflower.

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Drought resistant, acidic and alkaline soil friendly, temperature hardy, flourishs in both sun and shade, and is super soft, it is one of the oldest forms of life in the world. With tens of thousands of genus and species, there's just no way all of them can be listed here. But it goes to show that the sky's the limit when it comes to picking out the perfect one for your lawn.

EJ's Honorable Mention: Cotoneaster

Cotoneaster franchetii isn't a grass, but it is a shrub that (according to the Royal Horticultural Society) is so effective at absorbing air pollution, even in the most congested city traffic it absorbs 20% more than most other plants. Every major city needs millions of these along every major highway.

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