One community member, Charley Eiseman, has been working on rewilding his lawn for nearly a decade. He has documented his experience in blog posts here.
His lawn has gone from standard mowed grass to a luscious food forest for him, his family, and critters of all kinds. He and his wife are able to fill themselves with fresh fruit and vegetables, ranging from raspberries and beach plums to cucumbers and tomatoes. Their hoophouse and vegetable garden allow them to plant annual crops in addition to their perennial fruit trees and shrubs. Goldenrod and milkweed attract swarms of pollinators and provide habitats for many other local animals.
While they have done quite a bit of planting themselves (transplanted from family members’ and friends’ yards or grown from seed), much of the life has come unexpectedly! Charley writes about a black cherry sapling that a red fox had planted and blue-eyed grass that came up on its own. His lawn has become its own regenerative ecosystem, spreading more diverse native plants as it continues to grow and develop.
In addition to all of the greenery, they also have solar panels and raise chickens! He goes into detail about how certain plants have grown in their enclosure that happily cohabitate and can withstand their foraging.
Charley has counted over 300 different plants in his yard and adjacent woods, 135 species of birds, mammals, amphibians, and reptiles, and over 1000 invertebrates! In 2020 he tallied 130 wild and cultivated plant species in his yard that he personally used for food. He has other posts that go into detail about the 200+ species of leafminers he has found in his yard and their associated plants.
Charley’s lawn is an excellent example of what is possible in a NOT lawn–he and his wife are able to feed themselves with its abundance while increasing biodiversity and designing a green wonderland for humans and non-humans to enjoy! Check out some of his before and after pictures below.