Field of colorful wildflowers
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The Lawn Alternative Our Professional Gardener Creates With Wildflowers
Wildflowers create a low-maintenance lawn on a budget, as they reseed themselves and feed the soil when decomposing, so there’s no need to add plants or amend the soil.
Purchase seeds suitable for your climate at online seasonal sales, or find out if your local community garden organizations have a seed library or free seed giveaways.
You can buy expensive bags of soil if you’re planting a small wildflower patch, but buy topsoil in bulk for a large patch and supplement with homemade amendments to cut costs.
For a patch bigger than 6-by-6 feet, use a tiller to loosen the soil, preferably in spring before plants go to seed and after rainfall when the soil is moist but not wet.
After you’ve tilled your soil, use a rake or hoe to remove grass clumps, roots, and large rocks, then mix in your soil amendments and plant your wildflower seeds.
Before planting, clear your patch of unwanted weeds and grass by smothering them with a tarp to block out sunlight, moisture, and air — a practice called soil solarization.
Lay the tarp in late summer or autumn — or even earlier — so you can plant the following spring. The tarp will kill weeds and grass or weaken their roots so you can rake them out.