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Lawns into Meadows

Growing a Regenerative Landscape

By Owen Wormser


Landscape designer Owen Wormser explains how to replace the deadscape we call lawn with low-maintenance, eco-friendly meadows. This is a how-to book on meadow-making that’s also about sustainability, regeneration, and beauty.

In a world where lawns have wreaked havoc on our natural ecosystems, meadows offer a compelling solution. It is garden landscaping that is beautiful, all year round.

Meadows establish wildlife and pollinator habitats, are low-maintenance and low-cost, have a built-in resilience that helps them weather climate extremes, and can draw down and store far more carbon dioxide than any manicured lawn.

Wormser describes how to plant an organic meadow garden or traditional meadow, that’s right for your site. His book includes guidance on:

  • Preparing your plot
  • Designing your meadow
  • Planting without using synthetic chemicals
  • Growing 21 starter native grasses and wildflowers, including butterfly weed, smooth blue aster, purple coneflower, wild bergamot, and many more.

He also includes tips on building support in neighborhoods where a tidy lawn is the standard, and how to become a meadow activist.

To illuminate the many joys of meadow-building, Wormser draws on his own stories, including how growing up off the grid in northern Maine, with no electricity or plumbing, prepared him for his work.

“This focused and easy to read book is full of useful and practical information. It contains advice on how best to prep, plant and maintain meadows, along with a list of tools you’ll need, and even guidance on how to become a meadow activist.”—Permaculture Institute

Reviews and Praise

Midwest Book Review–

"Lawns into Meadows: Growing a Regenerative Landscape is part of Stone Pier Press's Citizen Gardening series designed to teach home-based and farm-based gardeners how to grow food and garden in ways that are good for the planet. Thoroughly 'user friendly' in organization and presentation, Lawns into Meadows: Growing a Regenerative Landscape is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, community, and college/university library DIY gardening instructional reference collections and reading lists."

"I like the straightforward, can-do approach of Lawns Into Meadows—whether for a replacing a curbside stretch of grass, or an island bed in your backyard, or something bigger.This is a really accessible, how-to book that's also about sustainability, regeneration, and beauty. I'm so glad to get this book."–Margaret Roach, A Way to Garden, New York Times contributor


"Americans love lush, green lawns. But the truth is, all those manicured yards are hard on the environment. They guzzle water, chemicals and fossil fuels and do nothing to encourage a biodiverse ecosystem of pollinators, wildlife and microbe-rich soil. In Lawns into Meadows, Owen Wormser shows us how to forgo grass in favor of native plant meadows, a more climate-friendly option for your green space. Wormser suggests 21 hardy, easy-to-grow perennials that will fill out in no time, like black-eyed Susan, goldenrod and purple coneflower, along with meadow-making designs to suit a variety of yard sizes. If this is a topic that interests you, there are many more guides in the nifty Citizen Gardening series from Stone Pier Press.

"I just made the mistake of sticking my nose into Owen Wormser's Lawns into Meadows and before I knew it, it had interrupted my plans because I kept reading it. Lovely book, lovely ideas, and graceful illustrations. Highly recommended."Christopher Madden, Woodhall Press


"Due to concerns about climate change, air quality, and water use, many homeowners are reconsidering their lawns. Lawn grasses are water hogs and are high maintenance compared to many alternatives. One of those is to plant yards that resemble meadows more than golf courses. The native plants that are part of a meadow culture are more resilient and less vulnerable to climate-induced weather extremes and, unlike lawns, do not rely on chemicals and irrigation systems in order to thrive. Landscape designer Wormser takes the reader through steps for preparation and design, including how to determine what will grow successfully in various conditions and what is required to plan, plant, and keep a meadow healthy and visually appealing. Suggested plants and highlighted answers to frequently asked questions may allay concerns homeowners have about pests, invasive plants, and other issues. For those interested in trading their lawn for a low-maintenance, environmentally friendly alternative that will support wildlife and reduce pollution from mowing, all the necessary information is here, along with plenty of sources to support it."

"I love the voicing in this book. It brought meadows and flowers to life for me in many ways that I am going to continue to enjoy."–Jon Kabat-Zinn, Scientist, writer, and founder of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction

"This wonderful book by Owen Wormser has a humble title, Lawns Into Meadows. But it is all about a very big idea, namely the conversion of lawns into meadows as a powerful way to help save the lands, protect the waters, and stabilize the climate. Lawns are a very destructive force in an ecological sense. They consume huge amounts of water and depend on toxic chemicals, fertilizers, and fossil fuels for their maintenance.

"Meadows do just the opposite. They employ biodiversity and nature’s genius to heal landscapes, build soils, and sequester atmospheric carbon while supporting pollinators and other beneficial insects and plants. The author tells us how to grow a meadow, and become a positive force on behalf of the planet. I highly recommend this book."–Dr. John Todd, author of Healing Earth

"It’s time to rebuild meadows wherever we can, including the deadscape we call lawn. Owen Wormser explains why, and how to do this, with oodles of highly readable, ecologically sound advice."Douglas W. Tallamy, author of Bringing Nature Home and Nature's Best Hope

"The practical organization and clear-cut instructions provided in this book make it an indispensable guide for growing and maintaining a meadow. With is charming cover and interior illustrations, it is also a beautiful addition to any gardener’s library. Recommended for anyone interested in rewilding their landscape."—Casey Laine, Butterfly Gardener


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