How to build an eco-friendly lawn

Lisa Blendheim picks peas from her frontyard garden in the Whiteaker neighborhood in Eugene.

Not every overgrown lawn in Eugene belongs to someone with a broken mower.

Many interested in homegrown fruits and vegetables, native plants and the survival of crucial pollinators continue to transform grass-only spaces. More natural and inviting to the birds and the bees, reimagining a lawn can do a neighborhood an ecological favor.  

“It’s very important, from a standpoint of the ecological integrity of your garden, to move away from monoculture and toward a more diverse array of plants in your garden,” said Gail Langellotto, statewide director of the Oregon State University Extension Master Gardener program. “It’s more visually interesting as well as more ecologically resilient.”

Interest in using exclusively native plants in gardens and allowing lawns to grow more like urban meadows aren’t new ideas, but Langellotto said it’s become increasingly popular for gardeners to consider “ecological beauty” in cultivation around the home.

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