Convincing Lawn Loving Hubby

laughahaApril 7, 2008

My husband loves his lawn and loves to mow. It is a generational thing- his parents mow approx 4 acres twice weekly. I HATE lawns and really want to get rid of our front lawn that we NEVER use. I would like to replace it with edibles. Lots and lots of edibles. How did you guys and gals convince your significant others that edible landscaping is a good idea?

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Perhaps try a compromise: you get beds of edibles, and he gets grass in between? You could start by building beds around the perimeter or around existing features such as shrubs, mailbox, sidewalk, etc. And if you expand a little each year rather than claiming all the space at once, he may be less possessive about the space.

Unless the yard is tiny, it should be big enough for two gardeners to have fun together. :)

    Bookmark   April 7, 2008 at 5:11PM
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linda_schreiber(z5/6 MI)

I didn't have this problem, but I have done a fair amount of garden design work, and have run into a *lot* of lawn-loving husbands....

There are three-ish kinds of serious lawn-lovers. Most of the 'stuff' on each is much more subconscious than not, but you can get some clues by looking at that 'stuff' with his folks. If you can understand more of the 'he-grew-up-with-it' reasons, you can figure out how to negotiate for space and change with less tension....

One sort just likes a controlled neat yard space, and isn't much interested in gardens because, well, they might be more work, and he really doesn't feel he knows *how* to garden, and that makes him uncomfortable, but he knows that he 'knows lawns'. Comfort zone stuff.

Another sort is concerned with having a nice neat controlled space so that the neighbors won't think he isn't both neat and diligent about property maintainance. This can be inherited, in that he has learned that the 'proper and responsible way to take care of the property outside of his house' is to have neat, green and edged lawns.

The third sort can be some combination of the above two, but it also incorporates a bit more territoriality, usually inherited. Old patterns of 'Inside, hers. Outside, his.' in terms of chores/responsibilities. Many of these guys have *no clue* that they feel so proprietary about their yards, and would really *prefer* to share the work, but early lessons can run old and deep and invisible.

Once he sees that your idea can be lovely as well as tasty, he will be a lot easier to deal with. But the approaches to help make it happen can be different.

If he is of the first sort, you have a good chance to bargain away parts of the front yard. Just define the areas, and let him know that these will be things *you* will take care of.

If he is of the second sort, you might have better luck bargaining for strips or plots in the back yard, at least in the beginning.

The third sort? Depends on you and him, and your relationship.

Anyways, instead of arguing for the whole 'front yard', start smaller. Preferably in several places. And then grow the space....... The whole front yard in edibles et al!

    Bookmark   April 22, 2008 at 9:27PM
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celticgarden(z6b CT)

Buy the plants and put them in the ground when he is not there. Seriously, my DH is just change resistant. It makes him nervous. I am the one who reads and reads and reads and views hundreds, maybe thousands of pictures until I feel I know how to design something that will look and function well. He balks and can't see my vision. Our front yard is where all of the sun is happening. For some years now i have been plotting in my head how to landscape an attractive mixed evergreen border to block the road. We only have 0.4 acre. Last Spring when I approached DH about both expanding the veggie garden and putting in a screening border he said no. Well, I pouted but he needed to feel that I value his opinion. However, that only lasts so long. When fall rolled around I hade delivered 6 steeplechase arborvitaes and planted them in the grass in the front. "Just to screen the road honey." Well, I looked at those arborvitaes all Winter and decided single species all in a row wouldn't be best so by Spring I was using up a sizeable credit I had with Wayside to expand my evergreen and perrenial grass collection. I got everything planted and left the turf grass where it was. It got weedy on the edges. He could see it would be a hassle to mow. Then I told him the other day that we were getting 6 yards of mulch delivered (so I could create the beds around what I had planted). While he was at work (he works nights) I put down drip hose, weed barrier then shoveled mulch. Left a gap in the beds to build a nice gate to the sidewalk someday. Of course, I have some fruit trees on order and they will get tucked into the beds...along with the wine grapes. I won't tell him that they will eventually be trellised. Doing things by degrees is key. We have been married 13 years and he knows how inventive and yes, impulsive I can be. I call it living. Not sure what he calls it! Good luck to you!


    Bookmark   June 4, 2008 at 8:14PM
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I just discovered this forum, through a link from another forum here. I loathe grass, and have started to get rid of the lawn (weeds, actually) in the back but I'm not sure how to go about getting rid of the expanse of weeds in the front. (I can't really call it a lawn...!) Are y'all doing raised beds, or knot gardens, or something along those lines in the front? Does anyone have pictures? I'm a newbie gardener so I'm pretty much a blank slate... Thanks for any information! (Or do you think I should start a new thread??)

    Bookmark   July 1, 2008 at 7:52PM
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Go incremental on him. Put in an Illinois Everbearing Mulberry, with lawn under it. A year or two later, add another smaller tree, like a sour cherry. Then add some perimeter shrubs like service berry or grapes. Then hit the ground with veggie beds. Diversionary tactics also apply. Get him a fishing pole and a canoe. As a last resort, go nuclear and threaten to get a small "rat" dog (male phrase for cute lap dogs) unless you get some serious compromise.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2008 at 1:18PM
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I understand grass for a football field. In a front yard, I don't get it. My only sunlight is in the frond yard and a narrow path on the south side where vining melons, tomatoes, pole beans and cucumbers have been going in for the 2 and 1/2 years I have been here. 3 SFG beds are now on the strip of land south of the drive way. There was already a strip of day lilies on the property border. I was considering replacing( not with grass) but its a toad haven and I don't have to mow it or weed it. The toads also now freely patrol my beds. I enjoy working with them towards our common goal which is eat pests. I don't think slugs will ever be a problem.
A lawn is great for killing toads and garder snakes. Its nitrogen hungry too, so to have it nice and green we have fertilizer along with the run off to wipe out the natural flora especially coral on the coasts. Since you are feeding Japaneses beetle grubs or June bugs it results in a plaque or an organophosphate chemical dump which is the only way to spare a succulent over fertilized lawn. If I played music as loud as a lawn mower guess what would happen? As someone who can be classified as a husband I am not among the lawn lovers.Isn't not mowing something kind of an easy way to conserve energy and lower pollution as well?

    Bookmark   July 31, 2008 at 3:54PM
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Darn, I sure wish you were in Western TN.. Your husband can have all the damned Bermuda lawn he wants to take! I am the man of the house (when she's not around) and I detest "lawn" and so does she!

We have a modest 1/3 acre suburban plot and I have managed to plant 18 vines of grapes, 9 figs, 2 pomegranate, 3 cherry, 5 blueberry, 4 Hops plants. And I still have room for (3) 4'x8' raised veggie beds. The plan we are gradually working towards, is to install ONLY "edible landscaping" and have a few strips of well manicured grass walking paths so the two dogs have a place to poop and we can walk barefoot, (as long as the kids scoop, the afore mentioned poop).

Even though we can harvest quite a bit of yummies, our lot does not look like Farmer-Brown's Dell. Well okay I guess it does. But we can sit on our back deck in the evening and have dinner and enjoy temperatures at least 10° cooler than our neighbors 500 feet away. Everything is strategically placed to maximize sun exposure, and to shade the house and especially the deck in the summer, and to compliment the natural contours for maximum water conservation and re-use.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2008 at 9:37AM
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    Bookmark   August 30, 2008 at 8:21AM
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I had this conversation with my dad. For some reason he's sentimental about the sound of lawnmowers on Saturdays, it's some sort of communal activity like a barn raising.

I pointed out to him something I read in Gaia's Garden, a lawn is only useful if you're raising goats/sheep. The status of a nice lawn is based on a. having such a large herd that you need all that pretty grass and b. you're so rich that you can waste money on maintaining useless land.

My dad likes to think of himself as progressive, so pointing out that he was trying to maintain a status symbol only relevant 100+ years ago made him think twice.

Another option is to replace the grass with clover. It can still be mowed and it improves your soil by fixing Nitrogen.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2009 at 6:04PM
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Thank you all for the great replies!!!

Solanaceae- Daylily buds and flowers are edible-
flowers-batter and fry like fried zuchini.
buds- marinate/pickle
These are YUMMY!!

The edible landscaping is coming along- We moved to 26 acres. lol We ended up transplanting about 200 plants/small trees- about 1/2 are edible.

This year (hopefully) we will be adding to the existing orchard, making a permanent strawberry bed (in a cage), adding to the 20 blueberry bushes (about 25 yrs old- I don't think many of them will last another 10 years), putting in a large patch of amaranth and sunflowers to block unpleasant views, enlarging the veggie garden area, experimenting with forest gardening, bio intensive and french intensive gardening.

There is about 5 acres of lawn here, so even hubby is willing to let me take over alot of it.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2009 at 10:20AM
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celticgarden(z6b CT)

LOL - congratulations! Haven't viewed this post in a long time but it made me smile. A better compromise altogether, wish we could move to a nice bit of land but I'd have to quit the day job and that's not an option yet! Have fun on your "farm."

I'm getting there to with my 0.4 acre. See my blog for a peek at my suburban trip.

Here is a link that might be useful: knithaven

    Bookmark   May 26, 2009 at 2:12PM
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Our lawn is maintained by a lawn service,I like that. They do the work I get to enjoy it. It's the best way to go.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2009 at 6:21PM
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In my life I have seen so many people maintaining huge expanses of empty lawn year after year. What activities do they do on the lawn? Rugby? Golf? Lawn darts with the kids? nope- their sole activity on the lawn is maintaining it! huh?
"I gotta mow the lawn! why? because its there!"

Life is to short to spend it doing a pointless,time consuming thing like maintaining an un-used lawn.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2009 at 10:26AM
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