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Thirst Trap, some advice for lawn lovers

Thirst Trap, some advice for lawn lovers


Thirst TrapWhen was the last time you won yard of the month?

The Lawn. 

At the Nursery, we get a lot of phone calls looking for ways to reduce lawn upkeep costs. If you live in an HOA, your options for lawn replacements are somewhat limited to Bermuda, St. Augustine, or even Zoysia grass. These grasses can be difficult to maintain with our Texas weather shifts, droughts, and shade-covered yards. How do we turn the American dream of bright green lawns into a reality?  

 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 fee is to expand your garden beds. You can also think of this in reverse: reduce the areas you need to mow. If you smother and cover your borders with a few layers of cardboard, a few inches of soil, and some mulch on top–you'll have reduced your lawn by a percentage. This creates a "Framing effect," where the beautiful outstretching flower bed frames your lawn. Have spots where grass simply won't grow? Get creative! "Island beds" can be planted in these areas and float upon your sea of green lawn. These beds are great for underneath trees as well.

 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 it looks like grass and grows like grass, but with less water and a tidy clumping habit, it has to be a sedge. Yes, sedges make wind-pollinated flowers that look similar to the dreadful nutsedge, but with a 2000-member family, there's bound to be some prickly members. Just imagine their family reunion. Sedges are a grass-like plant that belongs to the genus Carex. Carex means “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 worldwide and can grow in areas where other plants may struggle. 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 various climates. They come in a range of sizes and colors, and they can be used in multiple ways in your landscape. Many of the larger growing sedges change colors in autumn. 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 create visual harmony. 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 an excellent choice for those who want to add privacy and shade to their yard without sacrificing style.

Mow it? or Blow it?

What's the catch?

Sedge lawns will cost more upfront. Sedges are slow growing and tricky to germinate from seed. Only a few commercial growers are interested in slow-growing species. However, by investing in a carefree lawn, the reduction of mowing services, fertilizers, and water bills will eventually pay for itself. This idea is familiar if you’ve considered adding solar to your home.

One more thing, sedges don't like being eaten or trampled upon. These are not good pasture grasses. Which shouldn’t be a problem for most of you. Suppose 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 stay green throughout the dry season.

Since there are so many sedges options, whether you have dry or wet soil. There's 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 adding some plants with grass-like foliage so that you get some seasonal color. Before you 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 are a lot more grass-like mix-in 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 suit your acreage:

Native American Seed Collection