Edible Lawns

As much as I dislike lawns, they are a part of life for many people. In my area (Pennsylvania) mowing is the only upkeep I do, but I still would like to see some rewards for my effort. What edibles can be part of the lawn?

  • Violets - naturally occurring, but the variety ‘Silver Gem’ seems promising as a source of edible flowers and greens all season.

  • Thyme - Especially the creeping types, I plant them in especially dry spots of my yard.

  • Clover - apparently edible? I don’t know.

  • Hens and Chicks - Sempervivum tectorum is specifically mentioned as edible, but I assume all are. I have some growing but haven’t eaten it.

  • Sedum? Some places say it’s edible, but I don’t have experience.

  • Lingonberry and Cranberry

  • Stitzenplanten - coming at it from a different direction, a lawn full of bulbs can feed bees, making honey.


Because they’ve been conditioned by home appearances on TV and prime-time advertising.


If we’re doing that, we can argue about the English upperclass in the 1800s. But it’s here, so let’s make the most of it. For me it’s a place for the kids to play and the dog to hang out.

Creeping Charlie is another one. It’s a weed for me, but still edible.


i didnt know that. half my lawn is creeping charlie and it always finds its way into my plantings.


Some sorrels fit the bill. Wood sorrel and sheep’s sorrel come to mind.

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Miner’s lettuce (Claytonia perfoliata) volunteered in one section of my lawn in the shade of a fir tree and it’s delicious. It is the main plant in that area now. Though like the various “sorrels” it should be avoided by anyone at risk for kidney stones (high oxalates). I don’t mow that part until after it goes to seed in late summer.

There are 15 fruit trees in my ‘lawn’ so I would say it is quite edible.

The whole American lawn culture is ridiculous. A vegetable garden in front of a house is downright gorgeous.


My yard was almost all lawn when we bought the place a couple years ago, I’m slowly planting it all and hope it will be consumed by a food forest over the coming years.

For areas of the yard that you want to mow a couple times a year, I’d recommend miner’s lettuce! Especially since it grows well in the shade of trees.


My cousin grows alpine strawberries (a variety that runners) as a patch on his lawn.


For me keeping sheep and poultry is the most efficient way to make my “lawn” edible. I don’t mow. The grass and forbs all just become food for my food. I occasionally do some manual trimming if there’s anything they aren’t eating that I don’t want to start getting out of control.

Outside of where the animals go I’ve found musk strawberries make an amazing and fast spreading ground cover as long as you give them a clear space to start with (they won’t choke out most of the pre-existing plants, but once they fill in you won’t get a lot of new plants seeding in due to how densely they grow.


Dandelion greens are delicious, so you could throw some seeds of those around


Do musk strawberries have a musky flavor to them or is that just the name?

They taste like tropical fruit to me.


For people who haven’t tried them, violets are really tasty and easy to prepare in the spring. One of my favorite greens, actually, with a flavor similar to pea shoots. Really nice quickly sauteed in olive oil with a touch of salt.

Not exactly a lawn plant, more of a ground cover, but young hosta shoots can be delicious as well.


More of a personal preference thing, but last night I jumped on an electric battery powered lawnmower that was refurbished (cheaper +upcycle is a win for me ethically).

Unfortunately it is only a 16" mower instead of the 22" gasoline powered mower we currently use. That said, it takes my wife about 15 minutes to mow the entire current footprint of the yard (she loves mowing, I do not). As I continue to convert more of the yard to edible lawn, it won’t need to be mowed as often anyway.

For the part of the yard that actually WILL be “lawn” , I just plan to stick with grass as the dog goes to the bathroom there and constantly tears things up. Plus it will get heavy use during playtime once I get the fence up that I just dropped off in our driveway.


same here . i also hate to mow.


Steve, do you have any recommendations on something that actually could replace grass in high traffic areas? I remember you saying on another thread that it smells lovely when you cut the grass :joy:

My family has mowed our front lawn for 50 years. The families before us likely 100 years.

Last year i decided to turn my front yard into an orchard.

My backyard used to be our garden and was a garden for likely everyone that lived here. It is now orchards.

There are fields in front of my house and on the sides that were used to grow tobacco for likely a century. All of those are orchards now.

Now when i mow grass onto the things that grow…it has purpose.

I get to enjoy those walkways that are in heavy white clover bloom for a few months while my mower rests. Laden with bees and life.

The more my mower rests the happier i am now.

My nearest neighbor seems to mow 2X-3X a week … he has bought nicer mowers and nicer weedeaters. He sprays roundup and keeps everything looking the way he likes it…as i once did.


Give him a tour of your orchard in bloom.