Photo: Johner Images, Getty Images on Martha Stewart
“Also called meadow lawns, this landscaping technique requires little to no maintenance or resources to thrive.
What Is a Tapestry Lawn? Best Plants How to Plant Mowing and Maintenance Zones and Regions Pros and Cons
A tapestry lawn is just one term for this natural landscape trend: Sometimes called a matrix garden, meadow lawn, prairie lawn, or patchwork lawn, this turf technique involves removing traditional grass and replacing it with a mix of native plants and flowers of varying heights, sizes, and textures for both aesthetic and ecological benefits.
As its name implies, a tapestry lawn consists of a mix of colorful plants that create a living piece of art in your yard. ‘They are alternatives to traditional grass lawns and are more colorful, visually intriguing, eco-friendly, and low-maintenance,’ says Jeremy Yamaguchi, the CEO of Lawn Love. ‘These lawns are essentially an interlaced spread of low-lying plants and flowers.’
While most homeowners opt for low landscapes, a tapestry lawn can vary in height; low-lying options clock in between 6 to 10 inches, but your site can be scaled to up to 48 inches depending on your turf and goals, says Benjamin Vogt, the owner of Monarch Gardens LLC. ‘In general, such a landscape will include plants that move about, fill gaps, and generally show a new arrangement season to season and year to year—just as they would in wilder nature,’ he says, adding that the main difference between your lawn and the wild is that the plants are purposefully selected to work on this site for aesthetic, practical, and environmental reasons.
The Best Plants for Tapestry Lawns
Tapestry lawns aren’t one size (or zone) fits all. Ultimately, the plants you choose when working within this landscape trend should be native to your area, non-invasive, and low-water. ‘You also want your selection of plants to all have similar water, light, [and] humidity requirements,’ Yamaguchi says…
Tapestry Lawn Regions and Zones
All the experts we spoke to agree that the secret to creating a successful tapestry lawn is to always choose plants native to your region. ‘The USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map has universal codes that will help you pick the right ground cover plants for your [region],’ Bucur says, noting that native plants are easier to care for and have a low likelihood of wilting or dying.
Pro: Environmental Impact
Tapestry lawns are far more eco-friendly than grass lawns, says Vogt. ‘Just the increase in flowers alone is a boon to adult pollinators, while the diversity of plant species provides more food for their young (think caterpillars that eat foliage and become butterflies and moths),’ he says. ‘The increased density and diversity also is much better for healing soils, capturing and storing carbon, cleaning and cooling the air, reducing stormwater runoff, and generally providing habitat (and an aesthetic show) all year round—yes, even in winter.’
Con: Foot Traffic
While there are certainly perks to this low-maintenance approach to lawn care, Yamaguchi notes that there’s a pretty obvious con to surrendering turf for tapestry: ‘The only major downside to this lawn type is that it is not well built for much foot traffic,’ he says.”
— Lauren Wellbank, Freelance Writer for Martha Stewart