I am going to need to replace my complete front lawn. We have just purchased a house from an elderly gentleman who had not been able to do battle with grubs over the last couple of years. There is not a piece of grass left, only weeds. My preference would be to replace the grass and go with the Xeriscape concept. Will I need to do any remediation in hopes of reducing the grub population prior to landscaping? If so, what would you suggest?
Thanks so much for any recommendations.
Your photo shows that you have a very large expanse of “lawn” to replace and definitely that would take considerable time and money to bring it back to its former glory. The concept of xeriscaping came about in the late 1970’s as part of a Denver City plan to conserve water after a severe drought. Xeriscaping is a viable alternative to having a lush green lawn in your front garden. In fact more and more homeowners are considering this approach to gardening, as it reduces the need for watering or irrigating plants. We’re told our summers are heating up and the cost of watering the garden is going up, so this seems like a very good idea. Xeriscaping is not just associated with desert areas and exclusive use of drought tolerant plants surrounded by gravel. It’s about gardening with less water.
If you are considering taking on this project yourself there are a few things you need to pay attention to. For sure you will need to do something about the soil in your front garden. First, check to see if your grub infestation is actually out of control by digging up about a square foot and counting the grubs. If you find 3-5 grubs then you have a real problem. The best solution is to apply nematodes (can be found at reputable garden centres in the GTA) to the area to control the numbers. Note: all soil will contain some grubs. The following article has further information : www.torontomastergardeners.ca/askagardener/eating-times-and-depth-of-white-grubs
Then the soil needs to be prepared. Any remaining grass and the weeds in your front garden need to be removed as much as possible. Try covering with large sheets of black plastic as that will speed up the process and possibly kill the grubs. Next, the soil needs digging over or rototilling. This process can be started once the soil has warmed up. The key to successful water conservation is good soil. If the soil is very sandy, water and valuable nutrients will be lost due to leaching below the root zone. If your soil is heavy clay you will lose water through runoff. The most water efficient garden should have rich, fertile soil, which drains adequately. Add organic material, such as compost, as necessary. Further information can be found at: http://www.xeriscapes.net/xeriscapeprinciples.soil
One last thing, if you wish to use a professional landscape designer visit Landscape Ontario for help in choosing a company at http://landscapeontario.com/find-a-company.
Everything you need to know about xeriscaping can be found in a booklet at the following website: www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic/plants/other/landscaping/ec672_xeriscape.pdf
The City of Toronto also has some advice to give on water efficient landscaping and also provides some garden designs. See More reasons to choose a water-efficient garden. & Water-efficient garden designs
Hope this information will help guide you.