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Thirst Trap, some advice for lawn lovers

Thirst Trap, some advice for lawn lovers

30 Second Summary: This article explores ways to reduce the cost of maintaining a lawn while still having a green, aesthetically pleasing yard. The author suggests expanding garden beds, reducing the areas you need to mow, and replacing grass with low-maintenance sedges. Sedges are a grass-like plant that are native to many different environments all over the world, and they can grow in areas where other plants may struggle. In addition to their practical benefits, sedges can also be used to create visual harmony. While sedge lawns will cost more upfront, the reduction of mowing services, fertilizers, and water bills will eventually pay for itself. The article also suggests adding plants with grass-like foliage, such as narrow-leaf blue-eyed grass, for those wish for something more than a thirst trap.


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When was the last time you won yard of the month?

The Lawn. 

For some its a seasonal four-letter word. For others, the lawn is the symbolic dignity of the neighborhood. At the Nursery we get a lot of phone calls looking for ways reduce the upkeep costs of lawns. If you live in a HOA, your options for lawn replacements are somewhat limited to Bermuda or St. Augustine or even Zoysia grass. I can jive with this notion, since golf courses are attributed to wealth, and what more wealthy than crisp green edges? Lately, I’ve been thinking, “what if the lawn actually functions as the American zen garden?” 

 The Putting Green

 Mowers and raking,

Create perfect paths through green,

Simple suburban Zen

Quilt or Clover?

Baseball has shown that all kinds of patterns can be cut into the green carpet.

The Skinny

So what if you could reduce your water usage, mowing frequency, and overall lawn costs, while still keeping a green lawn that will make your HOA president jealous? One way to cut the cost is to expand your garden beds. You can also think of this in reverse: reduce the areas you need to mow. You could smother edges of your lawn (three feet at a time, or less than what your neighbors will complain about). If you smother and cover your borders with a few layers of cardboard, a few inches of soil, and some mulch on top–youll have reduced your lawn by a percentage. Nothing alarming to your onlookers. At worst your lawn will look like you have a sloppy “lawn-guy”. Check your city’s / HOA code to see how much lawn you can reclaim for your garden. 

Another idea, trade out your grasses. 

Sedge Flowers

The flowering structure of most Sedges

If looks like a grass, grows like a grass, but with less water and tidy clumping habit; then is has to be a sedge. Yes sedges make wind polinated flowers that look similar to the dreadful nutsedge, but with a 2000 member family, theres bound to be some prickly members. Just imagine their family reunion. Sedges are a grass-like plant that belongs to the genus Carex. Carex mean “grass-like” in Latin. There are over 2,000 species of sedges, and they are often referred to as true sedges. These scruffy perennials are native to many different environments all over the world, and they can grow in areas where other plants may struggle. In fact there might already be some hiding in your yard.

Not only are sedges and carex low maintenance, but they can also provide shade and color in a variety of climates. They come in a range of sizes and colors, and they can be used in a variety of ways in your landscape. Many of the larger growing sedges change colors in Autum. For example, they can be used as ground cover, planted along walkways and paths, or used as a colorful accent in the landscape.

In addition to their practical benefits, sedges can also be used to create visual harmoney. They can be planted in a line around a patio or pool, providing a natural privacy screen or planted in a pattern to fill out a lawn that’s just given up. . This makes them a great choice for those who want to add privacy and shade to their yard without sacrificing style.

Mow it? or Blow it?

Whats the catch?

Sedge lawns will cost more upfront. Sedges are slow growing, and tricky to germinate from seed. Not a lot of commercial growers are interested in slow growing species. However by investing in a carefree lawn, the reduction of mowing services, fertlizers, and water bills will eventually payfor itself. This is a familiar idea if you’ve looked at adding solar to your home.

One more thing, sedges dont like being eaten, or trampled upon. These are not good pasture grasses. Which souldn’t be a problem for most of you. If you use your front yard like a decorating competition, as I do. Thanks to the deep roots and resilient nature of sedges, your yard will look greener even in our hell-scape summers.

Since there are so many sedges options, whether you have dry soil or wet soil. Theres a sedge for your yard. 

Here are some sedges, that we have had success with:

Carex perdentata

Webberville sedge

Height: 4”-8”

Spread: 12”-18”

Light: Full Sun, Partial Shade, Full Shade

Carex texensis

 Texas Sedge

Height: 6”-12”

Spread: 1’

Light: Full Sun, Part Sun, Dappled Shade

Carex blanda

Woodland Sedge

Height: 2’

Spread: 2’

Light: Full Sun, Full Shade

Ok but what if you like-like your lawn? What can you do? Try addin some plants with grass like foliage, so that you get some seasonal color. Before your sharpen your mower blades... Check out the No Mow May initiative.

Grass-like mix-ins

Narrow Blue-eyed Grass  

Narrowleaf Blue-eyed Grass

Sisyrinchium angustifolium

Height: Up to about 18 inches tall

Bloom: Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul 

Native Habitat: Meadows; damp fields; low, open woods

Prarie blue-eyed Grass

Prairie Blue-eyed Grass

Sisyrinchium campestre

Size: Up to about 15 inches tall. 

Bloom: Mar , Apr , May , Jun 

Native Habitat: Prairies; open woods 

White Blue-eyed Grass

White Blue-eyed Grass

Sisyrinchium albidum

Height: Up to about 15 inches tall.

Bloom: Mar , Apr , May , Jun 

Native Habitat: Prairies; sand hills; open wood

(there’s a lot more grass-like mix-in’s but I wanted to keep you folks on the native path)


Lawns have a place in our yards. Perhaps that place can be smaller. Pairing your landscape with carefree natives, just makes gardening easier. As for the thirst trap, did you know we water our lawns with drinking water? That's a Trap!


Got a large area of grass to replace?

Checkout our seed packs for something to suite to your acreage:

Native American Seed Collection 

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