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Low-Maintenance Landscaping with Nor Olson

September 30, 2016

Nor Olson in wildflowers"Before I had grandchildren, all of my pictures were of our prairie," says Nor Olson, looking over her low-maintenance landscape in Stillwater Township. A native mix of wildflowers and grasses now surround her house – where lawn and a weedy farm field once comprised the view.

For the Olsons, reducing costly and time-consuming upkeep was a major motivation – avoiding the consumptive practices of mowing, watering, fertilizing, and applying pesticides.

Metro-Area Requirements

Native flower gardens are popular and encouraged by many cities. If you want to convert your entire lawn into a prairie, however, check with your city first to see if there are restrictions. Some communities have guidelines for prairies, such as:

  • Keep it short in the front yard (less than 12' tall)
  • Maintain a mowed area along lot lines (including the street) and near buildings
  • Mow the entire prairie at least once a year
  • Control noxious weeds such as thistle if they appear

Late summer blooms are just one of the advantages of a low-maintenance landscape of prairie plantings.

The key to establishing a native mix of grasses and wildflowers is paying attention to sun exposure and soil type, according to the University of Minnesota Extension.

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