Put your yard in touch with its inner Chesapeake by drawing on what is natural and traditional in this swath of the mid-Atlantic. Skip the cookie-cutter hyper-green lawn for what best suits our area: A home surrounded by trees and shrubs, with natural shade and a softer, healthier, more inviting landscape that comes with proper care.
1. Hold off on fertilizer until fall to avoid creating weak roots. Excessive fertilizer won't help your lawn; it will weaken it and send runoff into the Bay, where crabs and oysters are already at risk.
2. Add more trees and shrubs to break up the dull expanse of lawn and add more color and variety. That will create a more eye-pleasing aesthetic, provide more natural shade, help prevent the runoff that threatens the seafood, and mean fewer Saturdays with your lawnmower.
3. Consider landscape alternatives that reflect the Chesapeake tradition, with native plants, planting islands, rain gardens and natural shade for the patio or deck. These lower-cost or lower-maintenance alternatives to the typical lawn are bound to suit any lifestyle.