General lawn questions
I'd like to make my front lawn appealing. However, I do not have the time nor do I want to pay someone else to mow weekly like some grass varieties need. I also would like a low water requirement for a lawn. My front yard has an irrigation system. I have a well and do not want to tax my pump with constant watering though. I was delighted to find eco grass seed varieties but then saddened when the highlighted growing areas did not include southern New Jersey. What exactly about our eco system would prevent a buffalo grass variety from growing well in Atlantic County, NJ? I want to be eco friendly by trying to plant natives but, not many of the grasses are short in growing height. My front lawn has areas of full sun and partial shade and gets plenty of foot traffic due to children and a dog. Because of our children and dog the we have plenty of spots that have been worn and packed down and are now weed filled. Is clover a smart choice to plant to help amend the soil for the fall planting of some grass seeds? Are there any types of native grass that would make a good lawn in our area?
Generally speaking there is no such thing as a lower maintenance grass lawn. They are all adversely affected by compaction (traffic), pollution (pet urine), soil health and and pests. Planting clover does help fix nitrogen in the soil which is a requirement for healthy turf grass as well has providing excellent forage for bees. However, the presence of bees may not be desirable in a play area. Wherever there is compaction and bare spots weeds will appear. Instead of struggling with lawn, consider reducing its size by planting beds of perennials and ground covers. You will find an excellent brochure on managing a healthy lawn at http://extension.udel.edu/factsheets/livable-lawns-managing-a-healthy-lawn/ and a comprehensive brochure on ground cover alternatives for turf grass at http://extension.udel.edu/factsheets/groundcover-alternatives-to-turf-grass/