Prairie grass and forbs as a ground cover
I am considering removing a lawn and replanting. The goal is to eliminate mowing 2000 sq ft of grass I cut with my walk-behind battery-powered mower. The staff at Ohio Prairie Nursery thought that a short grass and forbs mix would work for this sandy soil that transitions from a lawn to a woodlot. I have loved those prairie grasses since I visited a park in North Dakota. Who wouldn't love those flowers?
My need is to establish a "ground cover", but I may struggle with the maintenance. I don't have a mower with which I can cut it at 6" or 8" during the establishment phase or later. I am ok with pulling weeds for a year or two. Ultimately, the area would need cleared annually or every few years and I don't have a big mower. Our only trimmer is an AC powered string trimmer. (I doubt if even a gasoline trimmer is even up to the task.)
If I were to get this prairie to succeed, I would design it in several parcels with walking paths between them. I could stealthily burn one of the patches every year--maybe. Our current neighbors are cool, but I don't need any "imperial entanglements".
Can I ultimately just leave it alone once it gets established in about 2015 and only walk through to cut out the woody invaders?
My other question is: am I going to be creating a forward operating base from which rodents will raid our adjacent vegetable garden? We have a 900 sq ft garden behind an electrified fence, but hungry critters do what hungry critters do. I should add that my experience level is eight years of vegetable gardening.
My fall back position is to move some pachysandra from that big patch my neighbor accidentally started in the woodlot. We could add a few attractive shrubs. Give moss a chance. A big patch of Black Eyed Susan is advised, but I don't know if those articles I read meant the vining plant or the regular flower.
I read several pages and searched the forum and did not quite find the information I was looking for. Thanks.