When most people think of meadows, they picture pristine alpine grassland surrounded by trees. And that's basically what a meadow garden will be in your yard, whether you live in the mountains or in the middle of a city. Sure, like a freedom lawn, meadow gardens include grasses. But they aren't the thirsty, neatly-trimmed turf grasses found in traditional lawns. Rather, meadow gardens include native grasses and other plants like those you might find in a xeriscaped lawn.
Meadow gardens require varying levels of effort to start and maintain, depending on the characteristics of your existing yard and how structured you want your new lawn to be. If a yard already has a good patch of native plants, you can simply stand back and let nature come up with the design. For a more landscaped look, you can rearrange these plants or bring in new ones that are also well-suited to your yard's growing conditions. Short grasses, sedges and rushes, some of which grow just 2 to 6 inches (5 to 15 centimeters) high, can give your meadow garden a turflike surface without the need for a lawnmower. Paths, walls, benches and other features may also be added, but shouldn't overwhelm more natural elements of the landscaping.
Thanks to the use of native plants, meadow gardens don't require much maintenance. They don't need to be watered, fertilized or mowed; after all, they're supposed to resemble natural meadows!