Could you please let me know how I can have a lawn that does not need regular mowing, I have 2 standard poodles, I live in north york, I am old but I do not want to move out of my house, I like to have a backyard, Also I would like to know how to attract more butterflies and hummingbirds to my garden, please help. thank you.
Dear Gardener, thank you for contacting the Toronto Master Gardeners.
I understand your need to find alternatives to grass as we all want to have more natural gardens that do not require too much maintenance.
I am going to assume that the area is sunny since you currently have grass growing well.
Please refer to a similar inquiry addressing your question: considering lawn alternatives
One thing to consider when planting any groundcovers, is your dogs’ habits. If your little guys are curious munchers, too much of anything can be hurtful.
In terms of your desire to bring more pollinators into your garden, congratulations!
Butterflies like sunny, sheltered locations as they need warm temperatures to fly and feed. A diversity of plants is best as the various life stages of butterflies often require different plants. Generally, select plants that like sun and have bright, fragrant flowers. Ones with tubular or flat topped flowers make it easier for adult butterflies to feed. To satisfy their thirst, supply water in a dish with partially submerged stones as perches.
Some examples are:
Native perennials: asters, bee balm, blazing star, black-eyed Susan, blue vervain, butterfly weed, common milkweed, purple coneflower, phlox, sedum, yarrow amongst others. Bee Balm has the advantage of attracting both, butterflies and hummingbirds.
Herbs: chives, dill, garden mint (better planted in a container), lavender, parsley, sage and thyme.
The Northern Bush Honeysuckle (Diervilla lonicera) and the native honeysuckles (Lonicera spp.) such as fly honeysuckle (L. canadensis), glaucous honeysuckle (L. dioica) and hairy honeysuckle (L.hirsuta) will also attract hummingbirds. Please be aware that many other honeysuckles can be invasive.
Please take a look at the Toronto master gardeners Gardening Guide for Pollinators for further ideas and information: Pollinator Garden: A Toronto Master Gardeners Guide
Best of luck