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USDA Plant Hardiness Zones

To help gardeners understand which plants will grow well for them, the entire USA has been segmented into ‘Plant Hardiness Zones’. Knowing your zone number is helpful when shopping for plants because:

  • Cold-area gardeners can avoid buying plants that simply won’t survive their lowest winter temperatures.
  • Warm-area gardeners can steer clear of plants that need a period of cold weather in order to bloom again.
Find your Plant Hardiness Zone here.

A Low Maintenance, Low Mow Backyard Makeover

Ethan, one of the owners of American Meadows, recently re-designed his backyard to better support his busy family. They wanted to choose grass varieties that required less mowing and that could handle foot traffic with their children and dog playing. 

Prepping the property:

Old Redstone rock from the house’s foundation has been repurposed into a wall for a flower bed to support butterflies, hummingbirds and bees.

getting ready to plant grass plugs

The Soil:

The soil was sandy and dry, so they had amend with topsoil and compost. The soil hardened up after a lot of traffic, so it required rototilling to loosen it up.

prepping for grass plug planting

ready to plant low-mow grass plugs

rototilling for grass plugs

Sunlight: This lawn gets part sun and shade, with shade being more prevalent throughout the day.

Products:

Bella Blue Grass Plugs - Blue Grass Bellow is a fantastic turf grass that requires one third less water than traditional blue grass, staying green from early spring until late fall. It also doesn’t require any mowing, growing to only 2-3” tall.

Dog Tuff Grass Plugs (The lime Green ones that are more wild looking) - This is a product from our sister company High Country Gardens. 'Dog Tuff'™ African Dogtooth Grass is an amazing xeric lawn grass perfect for high traffic and play areas and has excellent durability in yards with dogs. Once established it is highly weed resistant, deep rooted and provides a soft, cushioned feel for bare feet.

bella blue grass plugs in trays

To Plant:

Drill holes in the ground just deep enough to plant the plug. You don’t want an air pocket between the plug and the soil. The roots need to lay flush with the soil in order to grow well. Drill the holes roughly 2-3" deep, spacing the plugs 12" apart.

Ethan and his daughter Adia are demonstrating this nicely. 

spacing out grass plugs

Press the soil around the plug, but not too hard.

grass plug planting

just-planted dog tuff grass plugs

Spreading Corn Gluten:

This is a natural weed deterrent. We recommend spreading around the plugs directly after planting. 

spreading corn gluten

Six Weeks After Growth:

The growth of the grass plugs is triple the size of the original plug. They have strong root systems and have quickly grown out to connect to other glass plugs to form a cohesive, green lawn.

grass-plugs-six-weeks-phone

week six grass plugs

grass plugs at six weeks

grass plugs filling in

grass plugs growing strong

week six grass plug comparison-2

grass plugs growing fast

grass plugs become a lawn

Please stay tuned for the three month check-in, coming soon! Happy Gardening!

13 thoughts on “A Low Maintenance, Low Mow Backyard Makeover”

  • Scout Hansen

    I am curious about the cost of this kind of renovation. Also, how did you get a completely grass and weed free lawn to begin with?

    Reply
    • Amanda

      Hi Scout,

      The cost depends on the size of the area. As for getting the area grass and weed free, they rototilled the existing area to get rid of existing growth.

      Happy Gardening,

      Amanda

      Reply
  • Sambasivam S

    Self satisfaction , good for health, hard work gives great results.

    Reply
  • Diana Clawson

    Would this grow in Dallas, TX area?

    Reply
    • Amanda

      Hi Diana,

      The Bluegrass plugs thrive through zone 8 (which is what Dallas is), so they should be fine in your area.

      Happy Gardening,

      Amanda

      Reply
  • Tracy Peckinpaugh-Blankinship
    Tracy Peckinpaugh-Blankinship January 30, 2016 at 12:17 am

    Trying to find good looking grass that is low maintenance and high traffic. I love your website.

    Reply
    • Amanda

      Hi Tracy,

      I would recommend our Low Work and Water Dwarf Fescue Mix. It's low maintenance and withstands high foot traffic. You can find it here: http://www.americanmeadows.com/grass-and-groundcover-seeds/low-work-and-water-dwarf-fescue-grass-seed

      Happy Gardening,

      Amanda

      Reply
      • Pam morgan

        Hi, love your site. I have spaces in my back yard with absolutely nothing but sort of a grey sand. I want to get a dog and wonder if this would hold the dirt down so we could run. I live in San Gabriel California . Thanks for letting me know

        Reply
  • Gloria

    Hello,
    We live in a small town south of SAN Antonio. We have had a very hard time trying to find a grass that can withstand the heat of at least 100 degrees and drought tolerant. To top it off, most of the area is a sandy dirt. We live on a few acres and really have no irrigation system, so we rely on Mother Nature. What type of grass would you recommend for our area? It also needs to stand up to heavy traffic from pets. Thanks for your help.

    Reply
    • Jenny

      Hi Gloria, thanks for your question. I think that due to your location, you'll have the best luck finding a drought-tolerant grass through High Country Gardens. They specialize in waterwise lawns for high heat areas like yours. You can find more info here:
      http://www.highcountrygardens.com/sustainable-lawns
      Hope this helps and Happy Gardening - Jenny

      Reply
  • Nancy Quinton

    Any idea how the Dog Tuff grass does in the wetter climates? I'm in Atlanta (zone 7) and we can get a lot of heavy summer rains. This grass sounds perfect for my yards needs if it can withstand a less dry region.

    Reply
    • Jenny

      Hi Nancy, I did a bit of research for you and unfortunately Dog Tuff Grass is not a great choice for wet areas. It was bred for xeriscaping, meaning that it's meant to tolerate low-water conditions. While we do have some options for you that might agree with your soil, they may not stand up as well to heavy dog traffic! One suggestion that I have is to consider a clover lawn - it may not be what you were envisioning, but it's a great solution nonetheless. Best of luck - Jenny
      http://www.americanmeadows.com/grass-and-groundcover-seeds/zones/8/soil-type/moist/wet-soil

      Reply
  • Karen Pullen

    Looking at xeriscaping my front lawn here in Lincoln NE (southern/western exposure) and wondering if dog tuff would be a good choice? Would love to know how the lawn project showcased here turned out? Thanks.!

    Reply
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