No. 01 // Getting our Hands Dirty

We recently moved into a new house.  It's a modest house with an obscenely big yard full of grass.  We live in a friendly midwestern suburb and in the spring the neighborhood kids suddenly emerge from their houses to get a little sunshine and fresh air while the season starts to ripen.  Dogs and their owners are out in full brigade and the lawns are green, lush and sparkling.  If you look a bit closer, you'll notice little signs on front lawns warning kids and animals to "stay off" because of a recent fertilizer or pesticide application. Sometimes you can smell the chemicals, sometimes you can't but they're on the lawns where kids and dogs are playing.  You have to wonder, isn't there a better way to maintain our little plots of land?  

Some will say, "Ditch the grass!".  And yes, this is a great option if you want to fill it in with things like decomposed granite ("DG") and native plants and ground covers.  Amen to the grassless yard heros who are conserving water and supporting our local ecosystems!  Though, not everyone can or wants to ditch their lawn.  Some people really love their lush green grass, so the question is, can you have a nice looking lawn without dousing it (and all living creatures in and around it) with chemicals?  

So, at the start of spring I researched different types of natural fertilizers.  After considering several options, we decided to try an organic non-gmo cornmeal gluten from ( We followed the directions and while we still have a few weeds popping through (which only add to the emerald hue), the yard is green and lush and worthy of a major dose of lawn pride.  

We also decided to spot treat a few weedy areas on our gravel driveway with vinegar and that's been extremely effective, requiring very little time or cost.

So, yes!  With minimal effort you can have a sparkling lawn without using potentially harmful chemicals.  

In the spirit of OneNative's mission, my husband and I have our hearts and minds set on converting our great big yard to a meandering native landscape but it will take time and money to get there.  So for this season, we plan to maintain the yard as it sits today, green lawn and all and we plan to do it without chemicals.

There are many different ways to create a kinder more eco-friendly yard. Today, this is how we're doing it. We look forward to learning more about our readers and how you approach caring for your green space naturally. //

Vanessa Friedman