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Beautiful No-Mow Yards: 50 Amazing Lawn Alternatives

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3.62 of 5 stars 3.62  ·  rating details  ·  119 ratings  ·  36 reviews
In this ultimate guide to rethinking one's yard, Hadden showcases dozens of inspiring, eco-friendly alternatives to that demanding (and dare we say boring?) green turf. From a lively prairie to a runoff-reducing rain garden, award-winning author Hadden shows readers how to convert their yards.
Paperback, 249 pages
Published July 2nd 2012 by Timber Press (first published May 17th 2012)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 677)
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Leslie
The carefree look of many of these gardens gives the reader a calm, peaceful feeling. The natural biodiversity of a garden that isn't full of artificial turf grass and chemicals is, to me, a no-brainer. I haven't wasted much time on fertilizing and watering lawns, nor have I sown much grass seed, but I have retained and mowed wide swaths of green that do not give as much interest as gardens. On each of my properties I have limited the grass lawns with patios, decks, and gardens, but this concept ...more
Brigette
Some good ideas. I would have loved even more pictures, maybe before and after, with clearer help on what does well in different regions.
jess
I hate lawn grasses with a passion and I'm always looking for ways to get rid of mine. This book is great inspiration for anti-lawn yards, including photos from over 50 different yards in different climates from homeowners with different needs and taste. All of the yards look beautiful, and it's great to see how people craft outdoor living spaces without the conventional American Lawn.

The chapters include design inspirations from different styles of gardens (shade gardens, prairie gardens, play
...more
Julie
Apr 15, 2012 Julie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: adult
I didn't read this completely, but skimmed and read the chapters that were most interesting to me. The great reasons for switching part or all of your turf to other options are convincing. There are lots of great ideas and photographs. I do wish the last chapters of ground cover examples had photos of each one. Olbrich Gardens in Madison were featured a few times (On, Wisconsin!).

We're now planning to convert a patch of mostly weeds in our front yard to ground cover with a cherry tree in the mi
...more
Sarah
Great ideas for inspiration, though the write-ups frequently gloss over the maintenance these yards will require. (And I'd love to find a book about wildlife-friendly landscapes that dares to mention ticks or deer.) Once I have the time and money to implement major changes to my yard I'll be coming back to this.
Wendi
My sister let me borrow this book. I read and flipped through a lot of it. I don't want to convert my grass into other plants, but it did give me good ideas for areas that don't get our sprinklers what to plant, instead of just having rocks. And does make me think twice about landscaping more of my grass into winding paths, or places my kids can play and discover. I really enjoyed the chapter for kids play areas.
Beth Chandler
Browsed this one for ideas. Most involve changing your yard into a "meadow" which would not fly with our neighborhood or with keeping away ticks and other undesirable critters, but some ideas (especially garden beds with walkways between) might work. I'll check this out in a couple of years when I'm ready to do some big work in the yard--I need to get the current plants under control!
Caro
I'm all for the concept, and I enjoyed the photos, but the organization of the information makes this neither fish nor fowl. If you want to read long narratives about individual gardens, this works well in a magazine article way but is way too long. If you want a listing of plants with information on conditions and habits, look elsewhere. Best for browsing.
Sarah
Loved this one for the inspiration and hope it gives me for my mess of a yard. I'm taking some ideas directly from the pictures and plants list -- hope my seeds come soon! Practical, full of suggestions, and covering a wide ranges of zones. A great book for anyone who hates the idea of a well-manicured grass lawn.
Slee
This book is a treasure trove of ideas, but the "honesty in photogoraphy" didn't lend itself well to selling the "beautiful" idea. A lot of it made me shudder to think what the village's code enforcement officer would have to say. As the book points out, not all things are appropriate for all places, and a lot of things in the book won't jibe with some people's municipal ordinances and HOA rules,and the inspiration pieces bear out how incongruent many of the ideas are.

It is likely that this just
...more
Melliott
This is a pretty good reference for those who wish to change their lawn to something else. It's a little midwest-heavy, but otherwise thorough, with lots of ideas and the info to back them up. It inspires me!
Jennifer Barber
This book gave me several good ideas, but most of the example yards were in Minnesota and other places in the Midwest. I live in California so many of the specific plants didn't apply to me.
Ellen
This is the first how-to gardening book I've read cover to cover. Full of practical ideas for not only lawn alternatives, but for rain gardens, xeriscaping, shade islands under trees, and more, Beautiful No Mow Lawns takes you step by step through the work of replacing grass with plants that don't need as much mowing, watering, or fertilizing. The photographs are gorgeous and the author even references local Homestead Gardens blogger, Susan Harris. The hard thing for this neophyte gardener is go ...more
Tracey
Adult nonfiction; gardening. This book was ok, but was not really what I expected--text-heavy with few pictures, it sums up to: "These people have maintenance free yards, but if you want to do the same you should visit your local university/arboretum to find out what works in your area." If you want a book to gaze upon and dream upon, try instead: Reimagining the California Lawn, which has lots more pictures and plant lists that you can then take to your local plant expert for the requisite cons ...more
Maddie
Very helpful book --- straight-forward sections about different types of gardens and at the end sections on how to get your garden started. Most examples in the book are gardens in the midwest but also some from the southeast and southwest. I wrote down a number of plants to look into more in-depth that may be suited to my slope no-mow yard I want to create.
Jen
May 04, 2012 Jen rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: adult
Really, I skimmed this book, so I won't be counting it towards my total for the year.

Lots of pictures. Very comprehensive with suggestions and ideas. The themes or chapters are well grouped. My only complaint was that the pictures were too small, and many times there were 4 on a page. This is good for ideas and comprehensiveness, but hard to get an overall idea how to make something work for the whole space. When I have my own yard, I will be looking over this book again.
Mills College Library
635.964 H126 2012
Amy
A great inspiration for reducing or eliminating the American lawn. I thought some of the plant combinations were inspired, and I found some plants I had not previously considered. This book is best accessed as a gallery of design ideas, rather than a practical, DIY book. I'm planning to add this one to my garden design bookshelf.
Julia
I liked the inspiring photos in this book, but for someone just looking into the possiblity of this, I found the book extremely text dense. I imagine that would be usefull if I was actually ready to start a project, but was a little daunting for where I'm at. All in all, it's a worthwhile exploration of the topic.
Sara
Well, I feel considerably better about our "lawn" of clover, creeping charlie and violets. Apparently, that's called a "freedom lawn" and there is nothing wrong with it! So thrive little freedom lawn, thrive, until the day I can cut back your size with big beautiful beds of native shrubs and flowers.
Rebecca
For my birthday I asked for no grass in the front and sod in the back.

Beautiful pictures and inspiration, but not really what I was looking for: I need a no-grass-yard 101 book.
Patricia
Gorgeous pictures. Not as much how-to as I would have liked. Based primarily on Minnesota and Wisconsin lawnscapes, with some desert southwest, there wasn't much that I could directly apply to my Southern home.
Tracy
I enjoyed the book as I created a rain garden several years ago and last year removed 90 percent of the grass in my front yard. I would have liked more pictures but did enjoy the ones that were in the book.
Melissa
Although a few of the ideas were useful and I took notes on the plant lists in the back, I need a more specific book for my rather extreme environment, so ultimately this wasn't the book I was looking for.
Andrea
Full of wonderful ideas for reducing traditional, high maintenance turf grass lawns. Great for homeowners and landscape professionals as well.
Annette
Definitely the best lawn alternative book I've read. Lots of photos for inspiration and lists of plants so you have a place to start.
Marlene
Lots of good ideas and info in this book. Passed it on to my son who definitely does not want any lawn and to grow mostly edible plants.
Jennifer Mannion
I don't know why this bothered me so much, but the mat pages really took away from the potential of vibrant images in the book.
Maeghan
This was a beautifully photographed and designed book that was both easy to read and relate-able.
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A national speaker and award-winning author of four garden books, Evelyn Hadden shares strategies to help people create and maintain comfortable, functional, nature-friendly landscapes with less or no lawn. Her most recent books, published by Timber Press, include Hellstrip Gardening (2014) and the acclaimed Beautiful No-Mow Yards (2012). Evelyn founded the informational website LessLawn and is a ...more
More about Evelyn J. Hadden...
Hellstrip Gardening: Create a Paradise between the Sidewalk and the Curb Shrink Your Lawn: Design Ideas For Any Landscape Apprentice to a Garden

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