Why You Should Turn Your Lawn Into a Wildflower Meadow (& How to Do It)

Bring nature back where it belongs with a wildflower meadow as your yard.

Published March 3, 2023
Smiling senior woman sitting in meadow in garden

From no longer using plastic bags to getting rid of plastic straws, the environmentally conscious are looking everywhere for ways they can make sustainable changes to their everyday lives. If you're galvanized by environmental activists with hopes for a more sustainable future, or you're just tired of cutting your grass and maintaining parts of your lawn, planting a wildflower meadow in your backyard is the best of both worlds. Bring nature back where it belongs with these easy tips and tricks.

What's a Wildflower Meadow, and Why Should I Have One?

Herb, vegetables and flower garden

While it sounds like a dreamy setting from Little House on the Prairie, a wildflower meadow is an actionable process of transforming a plot of land into a diverse ecosystem using native flora. This includes grasses, flowers, vegetables, plants, and more. The concept behind growing a wildflower meadow is that, beyond looking beautiful, it helps enrich the native environment by bringing species back into the area that once thrived there.

With growing suburbanization in the United States, and artificial lawns becoming the standard, this practice is more important than ever. In recent years, there's been a lot of global attention focused on ways we can improve our dire environmental situation in our own lives, and this is one of the many ways to do so.

How Do I Convert My Lawn Into a Wildflower Meadow

Intentionally bringing nature into your backyard isn't a quick task, but it'll be incredibly satisfying once it's finished. According to the University of New Hampshire, this entire process can take up to three years to complete. So, it's important that you have all the information and are ready to see it through.

Wildflower Meadow Infographic

Where to Start

Pick out a section of your yard to plant your garden (or use your entire yard). The University of New Hampshire recommends you start with only about 400 square feet of well-drained grass that gets adequate sunlight.


From there, your main objective is to kill all the grass and weeds that have rooted in the area you want to plant. To do so, you need to 'smother' your grasses during the summer before you plan to plant your seeds. Mow your grass as short as you can get it, and then rake down the leftovers to create a smooth surface.

From there, lay thick plastic sheets over the entire space, making sure to leave them about a foot over on every side. Make sure you weigh down the edges so that all the tarps stay put. Essentially, you don't want any light seeping in to the ground so that the grass and weed roots die. Keep this covering in place from mid-June to mid-September. Once you pull your tarps back in the early fall, you should have a blank canvas to plant your seeds in.

Quick Tip

Don't disturb the new soil you have by tilling it or over working it, because you might stimulate any dormant roots that didn't die and encourage weed growth that could choke out the seeds you plant.


Planting should be done in the fall when the ground is cool and moist. Take whatever native seeds you've bought and combine them with vermiculite or some other carrier that adds to the volume of what you're spreading. Then, toss out handfuls of your seed mixture, walking vertically up and down your plot. Repeat this step, going horizontally to make sure that you get seeds everywhere possible.

Rolling and Covering

After you lay your seeds down, you should roll them with a lawn roller or cultipacker just to make sure you really get your seeds into the soil without disturbing them. Once you've finished with that, cover your plot with a thin layer of straw, as it'll help keep the seeds in place.

Need to Know

You've still got a little wait ahead of you for many native wildflowers after you've covered them. Don't expect to see a massive bushel of flowers in the first spring after you've planted. Just keep your eyes peeled for any signs of germination and shoots to know that they're beginning to take root.

Things to Consider When Planting a Wildflower Meadow

Although we'd love to drive through acres and acres of homemade wildflower meadows, they're not perfect for everyone's living situation. Before you jump right out and start ripping your sod up, there are some things you want to consider.

Do You Have Any Allergies?

For some, allergies are a serious condition that impacts their everyday life. If you have anything more than mild allergies, it's a good idea to see if you can get yourself tested by an allergist for native wildflowers or wildlife to see if anything you bring in is going to make them flare. Some medical conditions make people more prone to anaphylactic reactions, so bringing in a bunch of potential pollutants (no matter how beautiful) isn't safe for every person.

Do You Live Under an HOA?

If you live in a neighborhood with an HOA or any other housing authority with rules about how your lawn should look, then a wildflower meadow probably isn't possible for you. Many housing groups require lawns to be maintained in a certain way and only permit specific grasses and vegetation. If you're really interested in having a wildflower meadow, you can submit a request to your HOA or talk to them about changing the rules. You won't know until you try.

Beautification Can Be Environmentally Friendly

Earth is the one planet we've got, and we need to treat her with as much care as possible. Coming off of decades of not the best environmental practices, there's a new movement focusing on actionable ways that can amount to real environmental change in our own lives, and planting a wildflower garden in your backyard is one way you can.

Why You Should Turn Your Lawn Into a Wildflower Meadow (& How to Do It)