Reduce Lawn and Turf Areas
B2Reduce Lawn and Turf Areas
3 points possible
Why this matters to the lake?
Lawn and turf grasses do not infiltrate, transpire, intercept or absorb rainfall as effectively as a forest or meadow area, resulting in more stormwater runoff and pollutants reaching the lake. Use of fertilizers and chemicals on lawn areas also contribute pollutants and nutrients to the lake, leading to algal growth and loss of water clarity and quality. Frequent mowing of lawn and turf areas can compact the surface of the soil increasing the rate and volume of runoff. The very shallow root system of turf grasses limits the ability of the roots to open pore spaces in the soil that absorb rainfall. Turf grasses also do not support a diverse population of soil insects and microorganisms that loosen and aerate the soil.
- Protect water quality by reducing runoff to the lake
- Promote rainfall infiltration with natural landscapes
- Improve water quality by decreasing pollutant- and nutrient-heavy runoff and subsequent algal growth
Limit the proposed lawn area in new construction projects by including native vegetation and other natural features, as well as leaving undisturbed landscapes. Reduce the existing lawn in retrofit and redevelopment projects by replacing lawn areas with areas of woodland, meadow, and absorbent landscape plantings such as native groundcover and shrubs. Design landscapes to limit the need for mowing and the use of fertilizers and chemicals.
Alternative landscapes have additional benefits, including:
- Increased habitat for birds and butterflies
- Reduced mowing
- Improved aesthetics
- One point is awarded for reducing lawn size by 50% for retrofit and redevelopment projects.
- One point is awarded for limiting lawn size to not more than 33% of the disturbed project area for new development projects.
- One point is awarded for having no lawn area outside the recommended building perimeter clearing (15 feet) and utility clearing (5 feet).
- One point is awarded for locating structure(s) in previously disturbed or lawn areas.
Include the following information with application:
✓ For retrofit and redevelopment projects, Proposed Site Plan indicating the amount of existing lawn and the amount of proposed lawn, illustrating a 50% reduction in lawn areas. Provide an overlay drawing of existing and proposed site plans with proposed planting plan.
✓ For new development projects, a Proposed Site Plan including the total property area, total disturbed areas, total lawn area, and the resulting percentage of lawn to total disturbed property area.
- “Minimize the Size of Grass Lawns,” Do-It-Yourself Water Quality, A Landowner’s Guide to Property Management that Protects Lake George, 2010, The Fund for Lake George.
- "Healthy Yards, Audubon At Home." Audubon At Home.
- "Grow a healthy, no-waste lawn and garden," Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.
- "Landscaping and Lawn Care, Best Management Practices," United States Environmental Protection Agency.