How To Rewild Your Lawn

rewilding-lawns

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Lawn rewilding is something of a modern pursuit! If you have spent any time on social media in the past couple of years – and are a keen gardener – you may have seen a few cases of people choosing to ‘rewild’ their outdoor spaces for local critters and creatures. But beyond this – what does lawn rewilding actually mean? Is it easy to learn how to rewild your lawn?

Lawn rewilding can be extremely rewarding both for you and any animals you welcome into your yard. Ultimately, it’s about creating a space where flora and fauna can propagate and persist in a 100% natural way.

There are some concerns, of course, that lawn rewilding may simply be ‘neglecting’ gardens and backyards. However, this is far from the case. In this guide, you’ll learn how you can rewild your own lawn, and the steps you must take to ensure your local biodiversity is healthy and happy.

What exactly is rewilding?

Rewilding is, ultimately, an act of conservation. It’s an act of letting your garden and plant life grow and propagate without bringing in harmful pesticides, or damaging greenery to the extent where wildlife may be deterred from visiting. 

In a world where some species of bees are considered endangered, it is clear to see why so many people are keen to keep their yards as natural as possible. In some cases, it’s called organic gardening – to ‘rewild’, you are literally letting your garden or lawn regain its ‘wild’ status.

There are some arguments made against rewilding and organic gardening, in that it can often lead to lawns and yards overgrowing. However, there are ways you can manage your lawn and garden in order without it spiraling out of control.

You should read Soule and Noss’ Rewilding and Biodiversity – where the authors go into details about why it’s important to help broaden habitats and green spaces. Moreover, they explain the importance of keeping the ecosystem moving with careful carnivore balance.

In the meantime, however, let’s consider a few key tips to help you start rewilding your yard – if you’d like to give it a try!

Rewilding tips to try right now

Rewilding can help to bring a wonderful plethora of wildlife to your garden or backyard. It’s also easy enough to manage a wild yard without it looking unkempt or uncared for. Here are a few helpful hints you may wish to get started with.

Rethink your lawn completely

When you think of a well-kept lawn, you probably have a very strict image in mind. A plain, verdant, and perfectly-mowed patch of grass, perhaps. However, when it comes to rewilding a lawn, you’re going to need to re-envisage what this looks like.

While it makes sense to mow or trim your lawn occasionally, rewilding can involve embracing letting flowers (and even weeds) grow into its space. Effectively, you are reducing the size of the lawn itself by allowing wild flowers and plants to encroach. You should ideally avoid using any kind of chemical spray or pesticide altogether to encourage this.

If you don’t like the idea of your lawn growing into a completely wild state, then consider trimming it a little, less frequently, and ditching the chemicals.

Try a test patch first

A great tip that plenty of lawn rewilders swear by is to try out a small patch of wild lawn first, before you go ahead and transform the look of your main garden. It’s entirely possible to grow your own meadow, for example, using a mess of seeds to grow propagating flowers, in a smaller section of your garden.

This will still allow you to bring in bees, butterflies and birds to help pollinate your garden – without the fear of your whole lawn growing out of control. Perhaps, once you’ve tried this option for yourself, you may wish to move up to fully rewilding your lawn.

Make some holes

There are plenty of critters and creatures likely to visit your garden who can only access through digging or through dirt channels. Try and make things a little gentler on them by digging a few holes or tunnels around the edges of your garden.

This can help smaller land animals who are otherwise restricted to find their way to various beasts and insects in the grass and soil. You need to consider more than just the flying wildlife!

Create a space wildlife will want to visit

Rewilding your yard means more than simply letting it ‘go wild’ – you need to make a few touches to really encourage visitors to seek you out and to keep coming back!

For example, you could plant flowers that attract bees, butterflies – and even flowers that attract hummingbirds. It’s also a good idea to start creating small piles of compost – i.e., fallen leaves and clippings that you would otherwise dispose of. This natural detritus will not only decay into the greenery, but insects and smaller animals can make use of them.

Do also be careful to create small pools of water that your wildlife visitors can drink from. This may be  as simple as a bird bath (which you can match with an appropriate feeder) – or, you could even fill up a water feature of your own for smaller critters to drink from.

You might even get slightly adventurous as time goes by – why not consider setting up bat house poles? Yes – bats are wonderful creatures that really do get a bad rap!

Avoid chemicals – period

As gardeners, many of us are led to believe that we should be spraying pesticides and a variety of other chemicals around our yards to make sure that pests are kept at bay. That said, there are always going to be some critters that munch through plants or cause general chaos!

However, with a genuinely wild lawn or yard, you are going to need to focus on letting the ‘natural order’ resume itself. The healthiest wild lawn or garden is one that’s going to have a key place for all flora and fauna. Therefore, by spraying any kind of chemicals or pesticides, you are going to risk upsetting the ecosystem.

Beyond this, you will stand to scare away a lot of wonderful wildlife – and if you’re this deep into reading our guides here at Wild Yards, it’s easy enough to assume you will want to avoid scaring anything anyway!

If you really want to deter certain animals and wildlife from visiting or causing damage, then do make a point to research natural remedies or deterrents. Otherwise, you’ll run the risk of causing serious harm to the animals making up the local ecosystem.

Is cultivating a wild garden difficult?

Raising a wild yard, or rewilding a lawn, can be tricky at first. After all, if you are accustomed to the idea that all gardens and lawns should be uniform and clear, then bringing in waves of flowers, longer grass and even leaving weeds to grow may seem a little unorthodox.

However, as you’ll soon find out, it’s a great way to encourage local wildlife to visit you frequently. What’s a great-looking garden without a variety of flora and fauna to marvel at?

What the Wild Yards team certainly recommends, however, is to make sure you advise neighbors of your intentions. They may get the wrong idea about how you keep your garden or yard – and if it is a front yard you’re rewilding, you may need to leave up signs to advise as such, or even to get in touch with your local neighborhood team.

Are you already a lawn rewilding guru? How has the journey gone so far – do you have any tips you could share with us? By all means do so in a comment below – and in the meantime, take a good look through our guides elsewhere at Wild Yards for more insight.


About author
Robert has been an avid birdwatcher pretty much his entire life. Living in the suburbs he does his best to bring wild birds into his backyard. He currently has 13+ bird feeders in his yard and also raises and races homing pigeons. Robert writes part-time for Wild Yards, mostly about the subject he cares most about - birds.

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