Turn lawn into garden

Asked July 21, 2014, 5:49 PM EDT

Hello. I live on an acre in Jackson County near Ashland. I want to turn my extensive lawn into something else. I am considering several alternatives. Xeriscape, vegetable garden, grasses in conjunction with chicken (chicken tractor). Would like advice on creating a design. Am also considering turning it into a community garden or site for young permaculturists.

Jackson County Oregon lawns and turf permaculture horticulture

1 Response

We would advise you to spend some time deciding which one of the courses of action you really prefer and are willing to live with. Then, equip yourself with The Sunset Western Garden Book, which has several chapters on Design, Soils, Xeriscaping, etc. The Ashland Public Works Department on Winburn Way has excellent materials available on drought tolerant plants and native plants. They can also inform you of Ashland City regulations regarding livestock and chickens. ( If you are in the county, there are no restrictions on chickens). The Jackson County Master Gardener Plant Clinic (569 Hanley Road, Central Point. 541-776-7371) can put you in touch with persons who have managed small scale community gardens.(Is availability of water an issue? If so, community gardens are not a good choice for you.). Information on permaculture can be found on a number of websites; we recommend you look at websites ending in .edu. By utilizing resources available, you can arrive at a decision and then embark on making a site plan, etc.
If your main objective is to get rid of the lawn, the classic way to accomplish that task is to start with a small space, outline it with a sharp spade and then lift the sod (go deep enough to get the roots) in 12 inch squares. These can be turned upside down and chopped into the soil, along with 2 to 4 inches of organic materials (manure , shredded leaves, etc.) to compost naturally. Or you can lay down some newspaper, stack the sod squares on top, thoroughly water the pile, cover with plastic, and allow the worms to compost it over time. You can expand the area as time and energy allow. Please let us know if there are further questions we can help you with.