Greener gardens: less lawn and more diversity

We can take some tips from ‘nature’s garden’

If you’d like to create a thriving garden, minimise the lawn and make space for a diverse range of indigenous plants.

A 14-year biodiversity study found that 16 plant species in diverse plots contributed to higher soil fertility and biomass production, more and more each year. Every additional species in a plot contributed to a gradual increase in soil fertility and biomass production.

“The take-home message is that when we reduce diversity in the landscape, think of a cornfield or a pine plantation or a suburban lawn, we are failing to capitalise on the valuable natural services that biodiversity provides,” says Peter Reich, forest ecologist at the University of Minnesota and author of the above study.

So cut back on the lawn in favour of a variety of plants. It’s not only a great way to reduce the need for toxic herbicides, as the author of the Gorgeous Green House blog points out, “using a lawn as a small rug in the garden and not a carpet, will change the way the space looks, feels and impacts on local ecology.”

This week’s eco tip is courtesy of Monique Warner at

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