Many homeowners consider moss a problem calling for harsh chemical “solutions.” Lately, more and more folks are embracing moss lawns as solutions in themselves.

The EPA says that about 15% of the average American family’s water use goes to maintaining their lawn. That’s around 60 gallons of water per day. On top of all that water, Americans dump 67 million pounds of pesticides onto their lawns each year. Wouldn’t it be great if there were a way to use less water, fewer chemicals and somehow have a lush, low-maintenance ground cover? Moss lawn to the rescue!

Unlike conventional lawns, moss doesn’t need to be watered or mowed. It provides erosion control and ground cover with very little maintenance. According to a publication on lawn moss from the Virginia Cooperative Extension:

Aesthetically, mosses add a natural beauty to the lawn and garden setting, typically filling in void spaces of soil where little else will grow. Mosses can brighten up a shady corner of your property as they are at their greenest in low light, unlike most turfgrasses which need full sun to thrive. Moss may be the ideal plant under large, shady trees – providing low-maintenance year-round greenery.

So how can you get a moss lawn going?

It takes a little bit of prep work to start your moss lawn. You’ll need to pull any weeds and rake leaves and twigs in the area. Moss thrives in shady spots, so you might try putting patches of wildflowers or maybe even plant some edibles in the sunny spots. Use the moss to fill in the shady areas in between!

If your lawn is already prone to moss, you can just kick back and wait at this point. The moss that’s already there should fill right in! The rest of us might need to look into transplanting. If possible, you could try scraping up pieces of moss from elsewhere and just press it right onto the prepared soil. You can also mix the moss with buttermilk or beer and spread the mixture where you want to establish ground cover. Newly transplanted moss does need to be watered to keep it from drying out until it gets established.

If you can’t gather moss in your area, you might hit up the local garden center and see what they have available. Moss Acres is a good online resource for moss gardening, if local places don’t pan out.

Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by Timo Newton-Syms.