clover varieties as a lawn replacement

topic posted Sun, April 30, 2006 - 10:34 AM by  Darren
I planted crimson clover in my garden as a cover crop and as a test area to see if I want to use it as a grass replacement in the lawn. Unfortunately, I didn’t do my homework until after I had planted the clover. I found out that crimson clover is better suited to cooler weather – it is recommended as a winter cover crop in the south. White Dutch clover seems to be the most recommended as a drought resistant lawn replacement. I will be planting some in another area to get an idea of what it is like.

Any experiences / suggestions for using clover (or other plants) as a cover crop / lawn replacements? I live in Denver; we have cold winters and hot summers. Not the extremes you find in Arizona in the summer or Minnesota in the winter, but it usually gets below 0 and above 100 a few times each year.

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  • Re: clover varieties as a lawn replacement

    Sun, April 30, 2006 - 3:18 PM
    Yarrow makes a great lawn relplacement, and is very well suited to your climate. It is drought tolerant, has soft, feathery leaves, and sends up pretty white (and sometimes other colors) flowers if you let it grow. You can mow it just like grass and it remains low to the ground and regenerates quickly. It tends to crowd out grass and weeds, so you end up with good coverage.

    A great book to check out is How to Keep Your Lawn Off Grass. It is a great guide that gives site and climate specific recommendations for kicking the turf habit.

    I'm glad to hear you making a change. I used to live in Boulder, and couldn't stand seeing all the manicured lawns and golf courses in the high, dry climate of the Front Range. Maybe your neighbors will catch on!
    • Re: clover varieties as a lawn replacement

      Mon, May 1, 2006 - 12:21 PM
      We've looked at High Country Gardens' suggestions for lawn replacement. Their stuff is adapted to this region (I'm in Boulder). They have native turf grasses and ground covers that they recommend.

      Artemis, what variety of yarrow have you done this with? The yarrow I've planted in my xeriscape beds stay fairly compact at the base (a couple feet wide after three years) and get really tall. Plus, they're so woody you can't comfortably walk on them. But if there's a variety that will take over from grass the way you say, we're trying to replace the lawn a section at a time. I like the idea of thyme in one section, yarrow in another, something else in another area, all of it blooming at different times.

      How in the world did bright green lawns become the standard in the arid West? It's just stupid. My neighbor water 2x a day and spreads bags of fertilizer to keep her lawn bright glowing green. We're ready to tear out all but a small area where the kids can play.
      • Re: clover varieties as a lawn replacement

        Mon, May 1, 2006 - 2:27 PM

        I honestly don't know which exact variety it is; in our yard it is the one that just appeared. I don't know if that means it is native, but I did find this website:

        They detail the process, most of which is agreeable except the Roundup part (yikes!). It sounds like they mow every 8 weeks, but you could do it more frequently if you had other things interplanted that grew more quickly than the yarrow.

        You are right, yarrow plants will grow big and woodly and form a clump when they are allowed to grow. When yarrow is more of a ground cover you end up with lots of little tiny plants close together - which is what I imagine would happen if you broadcast seed like you would with grass seed.

        Here's another website:

        Ooooh. This one is even better!

        Have fun! BTW, Lianna, how is life in Boulder these days? DH and I left 5 years ago; I'll bet a lot has changed since then!
        • Unsu...

          Re: clover varieties as a lawn replacement

          Mon, May 1, 2006 - 4:00 PM
          we sell this stuff at a nursery i work at and people seem to like it.

          i just ripped up all my lawn all together and put in raised beds for veggies, wood chips for the dogs to poop (cant believe they do it but they do!) and quarter minus rock for the rest of the yard with lots of garden beds and sky chairs for sittin!

          YES to NO LAWNS!!!
  • Re: clover varieties as a lawn replacement

    Tue, May 2, 2006 - 10:20 PM
    Thanks for all the great info. I love the look of the yarrow lawn in the links. I have always liked the idea of xeriscape but was never able to get over the attraction to a big patch of green comfortable stuff to lie on or walk through. I guess I have been programmed along with most of the rest of the population that Kentucky blue grass is what you plant in our yard. The pics of the yarrow lawn give me hope of reconciling my desire for a flat green space with the climate I live in. I am not in any great hurry, so I will take the time to experiment with different combinations of plants before I make up my mind. I just ordered “How to Get Your Lawn Off Grass”. Thanks for the suggestions – you have gotten me off to a good start.