The Not So Guilty Planting of a New Lawn

by Katy on June 5, 2009 · 10 comments

Note the dirt/old leaves to the right of the patio.

Note the dirt/old leaves to the right of the patio.

My husband and I planted a new lawn in our backyard yesterday. I know the responsible trend is a move away from chemical laden, water hungry lawns, but I actually feel okay about our lawn. (We would never use chemicals anyway.) Alas, the enormous shade producing maple tree that dominates our backyard means we’re unable to grow any food in the area, which would be be my first choice.

We put in a brick patio with rock wall last year built almost entirely from scavenged materials, but we killed the last of our already pathetic lawn in the process. (I guess you can’t put down tarps full of sand and gravel without a bit of grass-o-cide.)

We borrowed my mother’s truck and picked up a $35 cubic yard of mushroom compost which we dug into the soil along with the last of the sand from the patio project. We then bought a bag of lime and organic fertilizer for $33 from Portland Nursery, (a locally owned company) to complete the soil amendment. The seed spreader and lawn roller were free from the nursery. The bag of seed was also free, but from a neighbor who bought it and then changed her mind.

We are aware that this is not the ideal time of year to plant a lawn, but felt like we wanted to get the lawn in place for the summer season. I also feel it’s somewhat disrespectful to my sister Sara to have her spend hundreds of hours building the patio and wall, and then put off my piddly share of the project.

But here’s my favorite part of having planted my lawn yesterday — It’s been raining on and off since the grass got planted! So . . .  although we did do an initial watering, we haven’t set up the sprinkler since. Other Oregonians may be cursing the return of our watery climate, but I am beyond ecstatic. I know we’ll be watering again in a day or two, but for today we’re not.

The only task left for the backyard is to spread mulch in the area below the play structure, which should be an easy score from an arborist.

And, oh yeah . . .  dust off the push mower and dream about a chicken coop.

How do feel about our planting of a new lawn? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Meg from FruWiki June 5, 2009 at 9:47 pm

So long as you’re not using a lot of chemicals on it it’s ok, but there are more interesting alternatives, imho. A lot of herbs & “weeds” don’t need a lot of sun, but have edible & medicinal uses. And if it is really shady, ferns can look really lovely. Maybe you can still work some in — if you want, of course.


thenonconsumeradvocate June 6, 2009 at 12:20 am


I won’t use chemicals, I promise.

My lawn area is edged with hydrangeas. The lawn area is approximately 200 square feet, so that would be A LOT of ferns.

Katy Wolk-Stanley
The Non-Consumer Advocate


Debbie June 6, 2009 at 5:29 am

I do not have a lawn in my backyard. It is walkways, palm trees and exotic plants all around the pool (this is SoFl). Plus a container veggie garden on the patio. Unfortunately we have to have some lawn in the front, but I plan on removing some to put another walkway and plants. We have never used any chemicals on any of our plants etc. and they do fine. We just let nature take its course.

As for the ferns, we have those and they grow like crazy. Katy if you were to plant some in your yard, within a year they would be all over. I actually have to go out and pull some out because they grow soo much. Good luck with the grass. 🙂


Mel June 6, 2009 at 7:03 am

My husband and I did plant zoysia grass in our very tiny front yard last summer. It did require lots of watering last summer, but now that it is established, not so much. Very few weeds, and when they do pop up we just pick them out by hand. It is also a slow grower so we hardly have to mow. This summer we might only mow it four/five times. In our back yard we have a natural lawn full of weeds, clover and wild strawberries. We never have to water but like they say, it grows like weeds. So this summer we will have to mow just about every week in the back, but we won’t water. So what is better watering less or mowing less?


camelama June 6, 2009 at 8:40 am

I know this goes against all “green” thought, but I *love* lawns. I love walking barefoot in grass. I love sprawling out on it to read a book. I love the smell of cut grass. I love playing croquet on the lawn. I will always have at least one miniature lawn (chemical-free, of course!). Right now I have a big lawn because I must follow the landlady’s dictates, I’d rather have 4/5 of the yard in flowers and veggies but alas.


thenonconsumeradvocate June 6, 2009 at 10:12 am


You read my mind on the croquet thing.

Katy Wolk-Stanley
The Non-Consumer Advocate


Kristie-ND June 7, 2009 at 7:17 pm

I live in the badlands, so I admit an obsession with having a lawn, that green loveliness to counteract the beauty, but “brown-ness” of the summer in the badlands. I live in the Northern Badlands, not the southern Badlands, so it is greener, but I grew up on the CA central coast, and loved my front lawn, walking barefoot, etc.

We have 2 acres, and most of our property slopes upwards, so you can’t plant a garden, etc. We are planting trees galore this year for shade and fruit, so I am doing the ants in my pants dance to see if my husband has been the mighty badland weeds slayer and gets that grass growing. Ahh, to sit in the shade on lush lawn watching the lake and the badlands behind it, brings great peace.

The rest of the property has gardening, flowers, etc.

The beauty of our place is that we back up to CRP land(Conservation land) so I can have my lawn, but we have natural prairie grass that surrounds us, and helps keep the moisture in the ground all around our place.


Kristie-ND June 7, 2009 at 7:20 pm

btw, your patio is gorgeous 🙂


LisaPie June 8, 2009 at 12:29 pm

My backyard is terraced and the top section is in direct sunlight and gets almost no water as it all runs down to the next 2 lower areas. Plus the people behind and to the left have bamboo whose root system sucks every last drop of water from 30 feet around. It is a huge water hog! So we are putting clover seeds up there and giving up on the grass idea. It is still green and keeps the ground covered. I have been trying to get some blueberries or blackberries going up there, but no luck. I am blaming that blasted bamboo forest that surrounds and invades my property.


Elizabeth Maier September 17, 2020 at 6:16 am

Lawn care practices also require that you check the soil to find out the proportion of the nutrients to ensure that once the grass comes out of the seed, it has all the food that it needs. Apart from this, till such time that the seeds germinate; the lawn has to be watered very frequently. After the germination, it is a good idea to fix a time schedule for the watering.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: