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Current Low-Lawn trends in gardening

For many middle income Zambian households, lawns are a staple of every garden, and in fact when building, the first part of the garden people think of if the yard is big enough is if there is any lawn. The fact of it is that other than the gardener, very few of us spend much time in the garden although we do admire it, seated from the veranda.

Part of the reason we are so proud of the lawns is of the status connected with it, and stem from when only rich landowners in Europe could afford to maintain such large areas of natural grass. However there is a developing trend for lawn less gardens and as such many alternatives to lawns are growing in popularity.

Modern gardening trends increasingly veer away from traditional lawns in favor of alternatives that offer both aesthetic appeal and environmental benefits. Here are some of the key trends in gardening that eschew traditional lawns and the reasons behind their popularity:

1. Native Plant Landscaping: Many gardeners are opting to replace traditional lawns with native plantings that are better adapted to local climates and soil conditions. Native plants require less water, fertilizer, and maintenance compared to non-native grasses, making them more sustainable choices for landscaping.

2. Edible Gardens: The rise of edible gardening sees homeowners utilizing their outdoor spaces to grow fruits, vegetables, and herbs instead of maintaining traditional lawns. Edible gardens not only provide a source of fresh, homegrown produce but also promote biodiversity and support pollinators.

Overseas it involves converting almost the entire garden to food production. Vegetables if planted right, can create a beautiful landscape.

3. Pollinator Gardens: Pollinator-friendly gardens are becoming increasingly popular as gardeners seek to create habitats that attract and support bees, butterflies, and other beneficial insects. These gardens often feature a diverse array of flowering plants, shrubs, and trees, providing essential food and shelter for pollinators.

4. Xeriscaping: Xeriscaping is a landscaping approach that focuses on water conservation by using drought-tolerant plants, mulches, and efficient irrigation techniques. By eliminating or reducing the size of lawns, xeriscaped gardens can significantly reduce water consumption and maintenance requirements while still creating visually appealing landscapes.

A Xeriphytic succulent bed which goes without water for seven months of the year.
A Xeriphytic succulent bed which goes without water for seven months of the year.

5. Permaculture Design: Permaculture principles emphasize creating self-sustaining ecosystems that mimic natural patterns and processes. In permaculture gardens, lawns are often replaced with diverse plantings arranged in functional and productive layouts, such as food forests or guilds, that work together to maximize ecological benefits.

6. Hardscaping and Outdoor Living Spaces: Hardscaping elements, such as patios, pathways, and seating areas, are being incorporated into garden designs to minimize the need for expansive lawns. These outdoor living spaces not only provide areas for relaxation and entertainment but also reduce water usage and maintenance demands associated grass.

Overall, the modern trend of moving away from traditional lawns in gardening reflects a growing awareness of the environmental impact of grass cultivation and a desire to create more sustainable and ecologically diverse outdoor spaces.

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