Floral Lawns: Developing and Evaluating a Residential Lawn Alternative for Southern Ontario




Williams, Laura

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University of Guelph


Residential landscapes in Canada and the U.S. are dominated by turfgrass. The consequences of this include diminished biodiversity, reduced rainwater infiltration, increased irrigation and widespread overuse of fertilizers and pesticides that degrade water quality and impact wildlife populations. This study develops and evaluates a lawn alternative that achieves functional and aesthetic performance similar to turfgrass while addressing the limitations of lawns. Floral lawns – designed and developed using a selection of low-growing herbaceous perennials adapted for the conditions of southern Ontario – were displayed at Canada Blooms 2016 and evaluated by a questionnaire administered at the event. Results of the study found no significant relationships between demographics and preference for the floral lawn. 77.6% of respondents preferred the appearance of the floral lawn over turfgrass and artificial turf; 75.4% would consider installing a floral lawn. This study could help alter the North American reliance on turfgrass lawns in residential applications.



landscape architecture, residential landscape design, Low Impact Development (LID), plant communities, green infrastructure