Is your green manicured lawn bleeding you dry—both of money and time. Then stop spending your Saturdays riding a mower around the yard. For about the price of hiring someone to mow that lawn you can cultivate a lush and cottony backyard that feels great against your backside and bare feet. The best part? It never needs cutting. Ever.
Before you get excited, impossibly velvety, moss isn’t for everyone; the look is more English-cottage-meets-forest-floor than urban showpiece. Though the eco-minded should take a second look and consider mixing styles, or at least sneaking it in out back and out of curbside sightlines: moss is a great line of defense against erosion and doesn’t need watering to keep it alive, saving today’s liquid gold—clean water—for more essential uses. (The EPA estimates that more than 30 percent of residential water goes to watering lawns in the U.S.—moss requires less than one percent of the 10,000 gallon a year average that lawns gulp down.) And the great thing is your garden will grow greenest on exactly the type of soil that’s problematic for grass—all the soft stuff needs is air, moisture, acidic soil and shade.
Specialty e-tailers like Moss Acres sell the verdant grower, and most greenhouses and specialty gardening shops can hook you up with the low-pile green stuff too. And it’s a no-brainer for the DIY set. All you need to do is get rid of your existing grass, which can be done by old-fashioned pulling or an acidic combination of sulfur powder and aluminum sulfate (be careful—acids are corrosive, and goggles and safety gear should be worn). Moss Acres owner Al Brenner breaks it down soil-wise: "The crummier the soil, the better it is for moss." Though the initial outlay can run you from around $229 for a 50-square foot slab to $89 for a 5-square-foot slice depending on the variant you choose, it’s a one-time wallet opener. Moss is self-propagating, and with just the tiniest bit of TLC can carpet your home’s outsides forever.
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