Recently Benji had a chat with Tony Murrell from Radio Live on his popular Saturday morning Home & Garden show. They talked pruning, mulching and how to deal with grass and weeds around fruit trees.
Click the image below to have a listen.
Our goal is to help you minimise the maintenance of your property
I’ve always had an issue with lawns and grass and when talking with others and observing neighbours, they all have the same issues. Whether its kikuyu, moss, dead areas, Onehunga weed, grass grubs, wet or dry spots, areas too steep to mow or just too dangerous, the ongoing problems of lawns is endless.
But still we struggle and slave away spend money on the machines and time every other weekend maintaining. Maintenance is not gardening in my books. Do we really need all that lawn, is it just part of being kiwi or is it all we think landscapes can be?
Even our councils lack vision and creativity. We see 15+ dudes on weed eaters weed eating banks all day and they’ll be back in a month to do it all over again, and what about the tractor mowers on the sides of motorways dangerously trying to mow all of that grass. Doesn’t that seem stupid to you?
Imagine a no-mow system which is full of life and low maintenance, or NO maintenance!
What bugs me is that lawns are ecologically empty, the wildlife they support is microscopic compared to the native bush, meadows, forests, gardens and swamps, so when you replace grass with some other system like flowering ground covers, herbs and natives, a greater contribution to the environment occurs.
Around the globe, it’s already starting to happen where people are replacing their lawns with drought tolerant native landscapes and permeable hardscapes.
Working with using the rain water to enhance areas rather than letting it go down the drain or become a problem. Think also of the million of tonnes of lawn clippings people take to the dumb and also what about the petrol fuelled lawn mowers emitting all that pollution and then there’s the annoying noise pollution that goes with it. Waaaaaaahhhhh waaaaaaahhhh waaaaaah! Chonk!
We have been playing around with replacing the lawn with its hungry ongoing maintenance for awhile now and we have had great success. Firstly, there is a conceptual blockage we have in New Zealand about short mown grass like a golf course (the tidy look). That’s all cool, but maybe just a little area of this in front of your house. But there is something very special and attractive about longer wavy looking grass, relax a bit on the mowing which makes it better on the grass due to moisture holding and the shaggy style with the wind moving through it will start to grow on you. You can always mow pathways through it for practicality and gives a nice contrasting look.
The major reason we adopt this style in our designs when we are dealing with landscapes is because fruit trees hate grass up and around them, they strufggle for moisture and food because grass takes it all and also the added damage of a weed eater or mower munching the trunk every once and awhile as well as it being an annoying job. You only have to get whacked in the face by a branch whilst mowing under trees to want to change something.
We love minimalizing the maintenance of properties, that’s our goal. The big ephiphany we learnt through doing this was seeing the benefits that occur when you take away grass and add a bed system that is covered with flowers, herbs and native ground covers (a living mulch). The trees do a hundred times better, often bearing in their first year and the environmental contribution is endless, and it’s seasonally beautiful. Win, win, win.
In permaculture practices it is talked about a lot that there needs to be 3 things benefiting each design principal, we use this in our design process.
It’s a shame to see people moving to the country and buying their lifestyle block, planting it all up and then being a slave to their land for a few years and then having felt beaten by the maintenance of the property, they sell up and move back to the city. It doesn’t need to be this way.
Be in touch with us to book a site-visit and consultation early in your land’s development. Your property can be low maintenance, naturalistic and productive. Don’t be that person that learns the hard way!