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What? A moss lawn? Yep, with an extra!

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
Most people try to get rid of the moss in their lawn. I try to encourage the moss and get rid of the grass. There is no mowing to do that way!

Although the other side of the house, which faces the bay, is quite open and traditionally landscaped with a grass lawn, I thought you might be interested in the natural approach I took to the side away from the water. I started this project more than ten years ago, when most of the area you see here was just a weed patch where former owners had had a vegetable garden. I planted all the trees to the left of center in the photo from volunteers in the yard, creating a pleasant "forest" for privacy from the road, which runs about 30 feet from the edge of what you see in the photo.

The only hybrids you see here are the two rhododendrons at left and the azaleas at right. (Maybe I should add another photo in a month or so when these are blooming. It is quite a sight!) All the other plants are native here: Sitka Spruce and Hemlock trees, sword ferns, red huckleberry, black huckleberry, salal, coast wild strawberry, and of course, the moss and lichen.

As you can see, it isn't only humans who enjoy the privacy from the cars that drive by here. We've had all manners of wildlife in our yard - including bear.

post #2 of 29
What a beautiful woodland area - and such a wonderful guest too. You must love looking out at this lovely scenery
post #3 of 29
Wow what a serene and beautiful yard, I would spend every free moment I could out there! I love trees and how they create natural privacy too.Thanks for the beautiful picture.
post #4 of 29
How did you get the moss to spread?
post #5 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beckiboo
How did you get the moss to spread?
Hey, I live on the Washington coast, only about 100 miles from North America's only rain forest. The saying here is that its the place the children grow moss between their toes. We have only a handful of days per year that summer temperatures reach even 75 degrees, and many years we don't get freezing temperatures at all in winter. So moss grows well in shady areas.

The soil is naturally acidic because of all the needles and cones dropping from the overhanging tall spruce and hemlock trees, which you don't see in the photo. One can make the soil more acidic if you need to, though, by adding some chemical. (Can't remember what that is.) I've read that if one gets the soil acidic enough, only moss and lichen will grow, but I wouldn't want to risk that because of tree and shrub roots, etc. Other than the desired acidity, moisture and temperature, it is just a matter of keeping the weeds out and time. It takes several years to get this much moss.
post #6 of 29
oh my goodness! How beautiful!!! I would love to have a backyard like that, especially one with a cute deer in it!

Absolutely beautiful, thank you for sharing. Please do post another picture in a month, like you said...I'm very interested in seeing it in bloom!!!
post #7 of 29
Oh wow what a lovely picture! A moss garden, who woulda thought? Cool!
post #8 of 29
You've created a real oasis. I could spend hours in a yard like that!
post #9 of 29
That is so beautiful!
I hate grass, and had never thought of moss as an alternative. I always said if I built a house, I would pave the yard.
post #10 of 29
It's beautiful!!!
post #11 of 29
Thanks, it is beautiful. I did something similar here a few years ago. We had wild violets growing on the shady side of the house, and I just kept weeding out everything else until it was a violet garden. It was nice, and didn't need to be mowed.

However, I let it overgrow, and dh started mowing it, and it is pretty much gone now. But we have other wild violets growing elsewhere.

Your yard is beautiful, and it is nice how you used volunteers to tweak mother nature, rather than just bulldoze your way in and change everything. Most of the flowers growing in my yard are freebies from friends. They mean so much more that way! Do post another pic when the azaleas bloom.
post #12 of 29
Such a lovely scene. Wish I was right there sitting in the chair
post #13 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by captiva
Such a lovely scene. Wish I was right there sitting in the chair
You could be sitting in the chair and the doe would just stay where she was at, too. I've been out weeding in the yard and had a doe and her fawns grazing not more than 15 feet away, just calm as you please.

I hope I'm going to be able to keep my moss and lichen lawn. I was just out working in the yard this afternoon, and it looks like the moss might be starting to turn a bit brown. We've had a lot of rain the past two weeks, so it is not lack of moisture. I had to have a large tree taken out a couple of months ago due to disease, and there might not be quite enough shade there now to keep the moss happy through the summer. Time will tell.
post #14 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beckiboo
Thanks, it is beautiful. I did something similar here a few years ago. We had wild violets growing on the shady side of the house, and I just kept weeding out everything else until it was a violet garden. It was nice, and didn't need to be mowed.

However, I let it overgrow, and dh started mowing it, and it is pretty much gone now. But we have other wild violets growing elsewhere.
Oh, wild violets would make a wonderful ground cover! I had several areas which, for several years, I had covered in wild strawberry ground cover. But after having five years where I had little opportunity to get in the yard, just like you, those sections had to be just torn out and started from scratch. That's why you see so much fresh bark dust in the foreground of the picture. Much of that area had been in wild strawberries before the weeds took over. The only wild strawberries left now are in that little dark green patch just this side of the chairs. I'm going to try to expand it again, though.
post #15 of 29
Nice! No grass to have to cut there either.
post #16 of 29
WOW!!
post #17 of 29
I felt relaxed just looking at that picture! How beautiful.
post #18 of 29
How lovely...wait until I tell my dh..he's been talking about quitting fighting the moss and deliberately turning the lawn into a moss garden instead
post #19 of 29
Thread Starter 
Well, you can't see a whole lot of the moss lawn here, but it does show what that part of the yard looks like with some of the rhododendrons blooming. The moss and lichen “lawn†is right in front of the lawn chairs. The island encircled in rocks at the left is part of the professional landscaping I had done on my side yard in February of this year. As you can see, I haven’t even got all the tags off the plants yet. The plants are still young, so the island looks rather sparse right now. Some of the calla lilies at the right (maybe five or six lineal feet of them) were here when we moved here in 1988. I separated them and planted them the full length of our attached garage. If I can get some other photos of the "moss and lichen lawn" section of the yard with more of the rhododendrons blooming, I'll post them later.

post #20 of 29
Just beautiful! The calla lillies are gorgeous, and I love the pink of the rhododendrons. That is my favorite color of flower to grow, my brother in law calls the bright pink "colors not found in nature"!

I have red and yellow tulips blooming, and the lilacs are almost ready. Spring is such a great time of year, isn't it?
post #21 of 29
Wow! That's a nice picture! I cannot wait until my rhododendrons bloom!! The first picture of your mossy lawn is beautiful, too. I am sooo jealous!
post #22 of 29
Beautiful. I love moss. When I was little I used to find all the moss patches and stand on them in my bare feet, I loved the feel of it on my toes.
post #23 of 29
Oh that's just lovely out there! You have such a talent. We've been out your way many times and the land out there is very difficult to manage.
post #24 of 29
-beautiful picture to have in your own yard. Those flowers look very healthy and I like the charcoal grey granular path. Nice.
post #25 of 29
Wow! With a yard that relaxing, do you ever go inside?
post #26 of 29
I love my moss as well unfortunately the dogs just tear it up in the back yard so yep, I got grass to mow and lots of it. My rhodies are just now starting to bloom so I'll have to take photos as well.

You have a beautiful garden.
post #27 of 29
i think i have to move to america to get a big house and to create a nice garden!
post #28 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by fwan
i think i have to move to america to get a big house and to create a nice garden!

Fwannie you can come live with me. Sasha is rebelling against brushing his teeth. And Saba would like Teufel.
post #29 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by catherine
Wow! With a yard that relaxing, do you ever go inside?
Yes, when it rains. On the Washington coast that is about six months of the year! I see the forecast does show one day without chance of rain or showers in the next five days, though. Things are looking up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dicknleah
I love my moss as well unfortunately the dogs just tear it up in the back yard so yep, I got grass to mow and lots of it. My rhodies are just now starting to bloom so I'll have to take photos as well.
Well, here the deer tear it up, as well as the raccoons looking for grubs. And the perpetual moles coming up through it don't add to the beauty any. I do have to patch it up often, and it never looks like I'd really like. But since I'm trying to create a somewhat natural setting in that area of the yard, I just have to focus on the fact that getting it torn up by animals is natural!
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