While lawns have a specific use they are largely unnecessary. Personally I won’t remove all my lawn since I have young children who need a wide open area to run and play. However I HAVE reduced the size of my front lawn by about 30% and 2 years ago removed altogether it in the back yard. I also only water my lawn MAYBE once per week right now, which only began last week whereas since last October I have MAYBE watered it once per month. Guess what folks, my lawn is still green! What’s the difference? I water 25-30 minutes at each watering. However I have very sandy soil. If you have heavier soil you can’t water that long. Please ask one of our staff how to water deeply in difficult soils.
If you are thinking about letting your lawn go dry or removing it, there are things to consider:
A. Do you have any established shade trees in or near (20′-30′) the lawn? If so, you will need to provide supplemental water to those trees. More often than not, trees are not watered properly leaving them to seek out water on their own. They usually tap into the lawn and use water from there since we typically water the lawn more than anything else. So withholding water from the lawn can stress some trees. Letting trees die or stress severely can not be costly not only to replace but in the energy increase you will need to cool your house (provided the tree shades your house). See our WaterWise Tips for Trees & Shrubs for recommended watering or ask one of our staff about your particular situation.
B. What are you going to do with the area once the lawn is reduced or eliminated? Be sure you have a plan. Leaving bare soil will increase the evaporation of moisture from the soil and allows for soil erosion, neither of which are good! We recommend a 3″ Mulch (see tip #1.).
C. Will you be replacing the lawn at a later date or is it gone for good? Are you planting Low Water Use plants? Again, have a plan. If you will be replacing it later then you can mulch it (again see tip #1) and let it go dry. Why mulch? This will prevent weeds from growing as the lawn dies and help hold deep soil moisture to hopefully save the lawn’s roots. Did you know that the roots of lawn grasses can grow as deep as 10′!
I hope these points help you decide whether you are keeping or removing your lawn. Do you have questions? Please leave them in the comments below and I will answer!