A lot of people these days are “re-wilding” their yards, or parts of their yards. Many of the popular methods require a lot of work, time (cardboard layering, I’m looking at you!), money, or all the above. Here’s my method of choice, which minimizes time, labor, footprint, and financial cost:
Assuming you have not been spraying your yard, you can probably get a nice meadow just by letting the grass grow. The ground (in areas not drenched by poison) is a local seed-bank of native wildflowers, tall meadow grasses, and forbs. Some unwanted grass will grow along w the natives but you can pull that out bit by bit. Much faster, less expensive, and less work than other popular approaches. And good for you, those of you who are facing fussbudget lawn-lackey neighbors and refusing to back down!!
In some places, there might be rules on how tall the grass is allowed to be. (Other than tall native/prairie/coastal grasses.) Eight inches, a foot, etc.
Fortunately it takes a long time for grass to get that tall. You’ll have a time-window in which you can get some wild plants growing.
Some things that can help ensure a “deliberate, not abandoned” look:
- Make or buy a little sign saying pollinator meadow, wildflower meadow, etc.
- Mow a border maybe a foot wide around just the perimeter of the yard.
- Make a border with whatever free materials you have available: rocks, logs, old railroad ties
- Mow a walking path thru the yard.