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Got too much lawn?

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Mary-Kate Mackey

(Read caption) Ask yourself: What does my lawn do?

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Lawns are the No. 1 user of water in the garden. There’s a big movement to tear out those thirsty, high-maintenance, gas guzzling, chemical-sucking parts of the landscape. But wait — folks love their lawns, yes, we do. So here’s a guide to know when to just say no to a lawn.

You know you got too much lawn when: The only footsteps it receives are the ones behind a mower.

Ask yourself: What does my lawn do? If it’s a play place for kids or adults — or in our case, a border collie with a Frisbee fetish  — you need it. No other natural surface will suffice.

However, newer easy-care grasses are being developed all the time, so consider overseeding this fall with a new turf grass suitable for your part of the country. (Your local extension office has the latest info.) Or, depending on where you live, consider a whole new lawn grass, such as deeply-rooted native buffalo grass.

If your lawn simply functions as a design element, giving you that green and calming respite between the glories of your flowering borders, try an eco-lawn mix or low-growing plants that take some footsteps, but much less water, such as tiny-leafed thyme.

You know you got too much lawn when: Your chemical bill at the nursery is higher than your kid’s college tuition.

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