Eugene couple looking for atlernative to lawn

Asked May 29, 2020, 6:49 PM EDT

Dear People, We have been researching quite a number of ways to replace our lawn here in Eugene, on a quarter acre pretty soggy lot in the Churchill neighborhood. We like the moss suggestion. Do you have input on this or recommendations for another approach here? Thanks, David

Lane County Oregon

1 Response

You've made a good decision to abandon trying to grow lawn in a soggy area. Moss is certainly one alternative; if moss is taking over the lawn, than simply encouraging the moss and discouraging the remaining lawn could complete the job. Moss does require maintenance too. You'll need to keep it carefully weeded, and it may need to extra water in the summer, if your sogginess is seasonal.
Here is a nice article for the PNW on establishing mosses: https://bryophytes.science.oregonstate.edu/page32.htm
Another approach, if you don't necessarily need a uniform green surface, is to choose plants that like it soggy and plant a garden there. There are many native and non-native plants that thrive in wet or seasonally wet sites. Among them are an array of sedges (Carex spp), grass-like plants that can provide an undulating and varied green meadow effect, without needing mowing (in fact, you should not mow them). Interplanting these with a variety of flowering plants, such as Camas, Mimulus, and native larkspur, could be very lovely. Here is an article by Linda McMahon that lists some possibilities. https://extension.oregonstate.edu/gardening/flowers-shrubs-trees/pnw-native-plants-streamside-garden