Trying to Figure Out What to do in the Fron Yard


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Hello,

I'm getting ready to dig up our front yard and turn it into a flower/shrub garden. Can I just give a quick rundown and ask for tips?

1. Dig up the grass, deep enough to remove the roots (and reuse this in the compost pile)
2. Have clean topsoil delivered (I called a local compost company and asked if they guaranteed their products were weed-free. They said they were but I'm skeptical, although I'm also a beginner gardener)
3. Plant shrubs and perennials
4. Also plant a grass substitute like creeping thyme, dwarf clover, or carpet of the stars

Am I on the right track?

From what I've read, I really like the idea of thyme.

My reason for doing this, aside from the aesthetics, is the climate crisis. Thank you for the help.
 
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Rather than digging up your lawn, you could mulch the area with several layers of cardboard topped with bark or woodchips. The grass roots would stay in place, die, and provide additional organic matter. You could also add a new layer of topsoil under the cardboard mulch, but only turn this under later at the planting hole sites when you plant your new plants.

You might also consider solarization. This when a lawn is watered and then covered in plastic and allowed to cook, clear plastic is best, but black can also work. This is also effective for killing many pathogens and weed seeds. Solarization works best in warm weather, so the window for doing this in Vermont may be closing for the year. Anyway, it isn't necessary in most cases, unless there is a particularly noxious weed or pathogen that calls for soil sterilization.

Of course, the fun part is selecting the plants. If your lawn area is mostly sunny and well-drained, Hardy Thymes (Thymus spp.) could work very well. I know Carpet of the Stars as another common name for some Hardy Iceplant, but even the hardiest Iceplants (some Delosperma spp.) would only be marginally hardy in the warmest parts of Vermont, and Ruschia nana not at all.

Lawns are discouraged in many drier areas due to high water usage and lack of drought tolerance, but that might not be as much of an issue in Vermont. However an area dedicated to a diveres assemblage of plants, including some native plants, can still have more ecological benefit than a traditional lawn. For example food and habitat for native pollinators, etc. Mowable multi-species 'tapestry' lawns could be another option to consider.
 

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