Rethinking nature strips

I’m not sure what they are called in the USA, but here in Australia, the grassed area between the front boundary of a house and the road is called a nature strip.

I used to hate the one out front of our old house. It covered as big an area as our front yard and was an absolute bear to mow as it received more moisture than our front yard due to it doubling as a drainage area. Still, I kept it neat and tidy; after all, I couldn’t have the neighbors pointing and whispering, could I? It’s a documented fact that an untidy nature strip is the work of the devil.

OK, that’s quite an exaggeration, but in some parts of the world, nature strip maintenance is an obsession.

According to a GLT reader, Alan, “This verge requires mowing at least once a week, sometimes twice, to keep it looking good. Many of my neighbours have a bowling green quality verge which I consider to be a waste of energy in that the amout of petrol used over the course of a season is considerable, plus the carbon emissions.”

He certainly has a point. According to the EPA, a conventional gas powered lawn mower spews nearly 90 pounds of CO2 and over 50 pounds of other pollutants into our air every year.

Alan went on to say; “This Spring I stripped the grass from my verge and sowed a commercial wild flower seed mixture in its place. The result is a really colourful display of 25 different varieties of native wild flower, much to the delight of the bee population, and no grass-cutting to undertake until the autumn when it all gets cut down to size and raked in preparation for sowing next year’s collection.”

Sounds like a great idea to me :).


Tips for a more earth friendly lawn

Bees and our food