A Lawn Reduction Project

This year I’ll be transitioning back to Milwaukee and working for Prairie Nursery remotely. I love Milwaukee, the lake shore, the art museum and the Alterra Coffee shop a few blocks from my house – and it’s so nice to have my own yard to putter around in. But this time it’ll be more than just puttering, as I’ve decided to convert the entire yard to a no-mow, native plant environment, and document the transformation here at The Native Plant Herald. A completely no-mow yard is one of the goals, and really the main one – since I don’t even own a lawn mower.

I’ll start with a list of objectives.

1. No Mowing. The uber goal is to create a yard that does not require any mowing. The minimal dedicated grass areas will use Prairie Nursery’s No Mow.
2. Native plants. Of course.
3. Birds. Plan to have an area dedicated to attracting/supporting birds.
4. Vegetables. Dedicated space(s) for vegetable gardens.
5. Bees & Butterflies. I’m considering learning about beekeeping and getting an urban bee hive from BeePods. This could influence planning quite a bit.
6. Herbs. Yum. Gotta have an herb garden.

I’ve created a ‘to-scale’ line drawing of the property by capturing a satellite view of a Google map and using it as a tracing template in Adobe Illustrator. I’ll use it as a basis for planning and designing areas for planting. The implementation/installations will be done in sections that I can manage — it’s a DIY project.

On my next post I should hope to have a general soil analysis, and maybe even some measurements and preliminary planning…

I’m sure I’ll be learning a lot along the way, and I hope this documentary can help or inspire others who may be thinking about lawn reduction. May it be of benefit.

My Milwaukee duplex - a google street view.


Top view - google satellite image




Beginning of a scaled drawing...

8 thoughts on “A Lawn Reduction Project

  1. Pingback: Native Plants for Large Spaces and Small | The Native Plant Herald

  2. I look forward to reading about your transformation! It’s been hard to find many native plants in this area. I look forward to the day when maybe there’s a Prairie Nursery – Southeast? Anyway, what a great idea to use the satellite map to draw up a plan. I’ll be stealing that one!

    • Hi Ramona – You can always order native plants online from Prairie Nursery’s website — we have a great selection of plants that thrive in clay soils – such as exist in Milwaukee. Yes, the satellite maps are very handy! I’ve used them before to help friends with landscape design. You can do a screen-capture of your yard, print it out and then use tracing paper over it to sketch different possibilities. Endless possibilities. This will be a fun, long-term project and I’m really looking forward to sharing it!

  3. Mary, this great! I can’t wait to see it all happen and would love to help in any way I can. This could be the start of many more projects in your community and others. I look forward to following and learning.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>