a peek inside the fishbowl

15 Jun, 2011

Lucky lawn landscaping?

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Home/reno

Although this little lass likes alliteration, she isn’t much of a “lawn lovin'” kinda lady.

I’ve written about the issue of lawn care before (sans alliteration, thankgod), but I feel compelled to write about it again because those little white pesticide/herbicide signs are popping up around the neighborhood again.

This just in: A green lawn does not have to consist entirely of grass.

Society might dictate that it must be this way, but I am willing to argue that it’s best that we rethink the idea of the front lawn, dispense with the pesticides and weed killers, and make sure there are other things growing there too.

A couple springs ago we started throwing white clover seeds on the patchy bits on our lawn. Clover is green, it’s pretty, and helps the grass grow thicker, which, in turn, helps prevent dandelions from taking over. Clover is what’s called a “nitrogen fixer.” It takes nitrogen out of the air and brings down into the soil by means of special bacteria living in nodes along the roots. And nitrogen is good for lawns.

Clover lawns are supposed to have a big advantage over traditional grass lawns for dog owners too. It’s supposed to be more tolerant to dog pee. We’ll see if that holds true!

There was a song I often had in my head when I was a kid. It must have figured prominently in Bugs Bunny cartoons. Perhaps you know it too:

I’m looking over a four-leaf clover
That I overlooked before.
One leaf is sunshine, the second is rain,
Third is the roses that grow in the lane.
No need explaining the one remaining
Is somebody I adore.
I’m looking over a four-leaf clover
That I overlooked before!

Anyway, yes, we were doing what we could to get some clover growing in to our lawn. But at some point (perhaps a hole in the seed bag that we were unaware of?) some clover founds its way our front walk.

Clover close-up

Clover on the front walk

overhead view of the walk

It’s soft and springy and you can hide toys in it:

squirrel in the clover

And when you take a moment and look really close you realize that it’s like a miniature jungle down there:

macro clover

Some people might find clover growing between their flagstones to be a bit on the unruly side, but I rather like knowing that good luck might be growing right outside our front door. What about you? What’s your stand on lawns?

10 Responses to "Lucky lawn landscaping?"

1 | Miss Vicky

June 15th, 2011 at 10:59 am


we just seeded our backyard with clover. it is coming in nice and lush and it is cushy and lovely. No regrets!

2 | Javamom

June 15th, 2011 at 11:05 am


Pretty!! My favorite kind of weed (other than eatable arugula!)

3 | karen

June 15th, 2011 at 11:21 am


Back when I was in my teens my parents had a house built and ended up planting clover. It was beautiful. So nice and cool to walk on…………..the garden snakes loved it. Unfortunately my dad did not, he didn’t like how it left footprints when you walked across the lawn. So little by little grass replaced the clover. He still plants clover in those spots that the grass does not do well in.

A couple of years back my kids school at the time wanted to plant clover. The board said no because they thought it would attract bees. I guess they didn’t understand you still cut it like regular grass.

4 | binki

June 15th, 2011 at 12:41 pm


My stand on lawns has always been NO pesticide or herbicide. I have some clover growing here and there but need to seed some in a few bare patches (thanks for the reminder). I also have quite a bit of non-grass and non-clover mixed in. I pull some (like dandelion) but the rest is all good. It’s actually fun to see what comes up (plant identification with the kids). We also have clover growing between our flagstone, and it’s lovely. The front “lawn” is a all garden. There are 3 more new front gardens on our street this year. The times they are a changin’.

Another bonus of clover is it’s a breeze to cut with a push-mower.

5 | Stefania

June 15th, 2011 at 2:02 pm


My experience has been that the more seniors you have in your neighbourhood the more likely there will be pesticide use. I’ve lived in two such neighbourhoods. Many of my neighbours who are seniors have a company spray their lawn. I can say with certainty in my neighbourhood that it’s not the young folks who are spraying their lawns.

6 | maliha

June 15th, 2011 at 3:17 pm


I have seen young people spraying their lawns. usually its a daddy thing but some times daddies get help from their kids :)

over all they are beautifule, yes i mean the lawn.

7 | Carla

June 16th, 2011 at 8:55 pm


Thumbs up for clover! We just seeded our backyard with clover this year and it’s taking a bit of time to come through evenly but I really like it already. My 5 yr old keeps picking the leaves and giving them to me telling me it’s a heart for me – I had not noticed each leaf looks like a little heart – it’s cute.

8 | Operation Garbage Reduction continues, and, I washed my Green Bin! >> a peek inside the fishbowl

June 17th, 2011 at 11:09 am


[…] of dish soap, and an old mop. The water got dumped in the clover patch (see previous post about our clovered lawn) and everyone is happy. Including […]

9 | Solkor

June 17th, 2011 at 11:43 am


Landscaping can be in any different forms. It may improve a house and makes it look good. But having a green concept doesn’t mean that it should be all grass but a different form of plant that looks good.

10 | neeroc

June 19th, 2011 at 10:49 pm


The weeds have now overtaken my lawn to such an extent that I can pretend it was on purpose. The clover I don’t mind. I generally pluck the dandelions, the ones that look like lambs ears and the prickly ones, but the bane of my existence is the creeping charlie. It grows faster than I can pluck it…Good thing I’m moving, new lawn to mess up *g*

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The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human offspring: Emma (23) and Sarah (21). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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