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Concerned homeowner seeks advice after making common mistake with yard maintenance: 'I think we did make it more complicated than needed'

"Don't panic."

"Don't panic."

Photo Credit: iStock

A family's eco-friendly lawn renovation project, detailed in the active r/NativePlantGardening subreddit, is drawing helpful hands.

The native plant gardening newbie explains that last fall, their family removed 100 square feet of sod from their "wild" and "mossy" backyard lawn, intending to replace it with native plants. After filling the dug-up area with a yard of compost, they realized the layer was much thicker than anticipated.

Rather than fully mixing the compost into the existing soil, the family planted directly into the compost layer before winter arrived. They kept the plants watered and protected them with a layer of shredded leaves.

Now, as spring is arriving, the poster expressed concern over whether the plants' roots will successfully grow through the compost and establish themselves in the soil below. They also mentioned plans to transform an additional 100 square feet this coming fall but are seeking guidance from the community first.

This Redditor's heart is in the right place — replacing traditional lawns with native plants benefits both homeowners and the environment. Native plant gardens require less water, keeping utility bills low. They also demand far less maintenance, saving time and money on upkeep.

What's more, these diverse ecosystems provide vital habitats for pollinators like bees and butterflies. Supporting these key species with native plants ultimately helps protect our food supply, as pollinators play a crucial role in crop production.

And if you only have room for a small patch of native plants, clover, or buffalo grass, don't sweat it — even the smallest renovations can make an impact.

The Reddit community responded with reassurance and tips.

"If you have any worms at all, they will fix the problem - moving into the compost, then back into the original soil, and mix it all up," one user commented, adding, "I visited an organic veggie farm recently. Their growing method was 'don't make it complicated.'"

"I think we did make it more complicated than needed," the original poster replied. "It felt like such a big investment in the plants, wanted to try to make sure they can make it."

Another Redditor advised patience: "If some things don't come up right away don't panic, Some of my most established native plants won't show themselves until mid June or later if it was a very cold spring."

With a little faith, this family's lawn transformation is poised to create an eco-friendly oasis that rewards both the homeowners and their local ecosystem.

Want to reap the same benefits? Our guide to native plant gardening can help you get started.

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