Smaller American Lawns Today

Smaller American Lawns Today, SALT, is a movement introduced in June of 1997 by Dr. William A. Niering, professor of botany at Connecticut College. The SALT mission is to decrease the size of lawns in America by restoring home grounds to more harmonious, productive, ecologically sound and naturalistic landscapes. SALT offers an alternative vision of the monocultured lawn. As Dr. Niering wrote, “There’s nothing wrong with dandelions, there’s something wrong with people.”

Natural beauty can abound in one's own yard. In our annual SALT seminar, participants learn how to cut back on the size of their lawns and also to have beautiful, sustainable, and friendly home grounds as well. Once established, you will never want to go back to a boring, monocultural lawn!

SALT Seminar, Smaller American Lawns Today, Meadow

2015 SALT Seminar

Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Registration fee includes continental breakfast, lunch and two breaks.

Members $45 before October 23 / $55 after. General Public, $60, before October 23 / $70 after.

SALT conference secure online registration

According to NASA scientists, in the United States more surface area is covered by lawn than by any other single irrigated crop. Lawns are resource-heavy, requiring irrigation, fertilizer, and pesticides to thrive in our climate. Learn why you should “kill your lawn” and how to replace it with environmentally friendly native plantings.

Keynote speaker Mark Richardson is Director of Horticulture at the New England Wildflower Society.

Design without Lawn

Two estates of vastly different scales but with a common thread of meandering paths serve as case studies for how to approach design for your home landscape. Manitoga, a National Historic Landmark in Garrison, New York is a 75-acre landscape with inspiring ideas for good design and living in harmony with nature. A 1-acre residential lot in Conway, Massachusetts, also embodies habitat design concepts and management techniques for enrichment of flora and fauna over time.

Ruth Parnall is a Registered Landscape Architect and consulting landscape curator at Manitoga.

A Myriad of Meadows

Meadows are very misunderstood. They cannot be “designed” just this way or that and hope to end up with something that is self-sustaining. The meadow has to be the right meadow for the land it grows from. We’ll look at new and existing meadows, meadow management, some possible shortcuts, seed and live plant selection and planting, aftercare, and some of the major mistakes.

Mike Nadeau is an Organic Landscaper at Wholistic Land Care Consulting.

Novel Native Shrubs

Sustainable landscapes blend naturally with the surrounding flora. When established in landscape sites similar to their natural habitat, native shrubs require little maintenance, adapt well to local soils and climates, and attract beneficial wildlife to the garden. Landscapes composed of natives are considered sustainable since native shrubs do not pose a threat of introducing new species to an area.

Jessica Lubell-Brand is Associate Professor of Horticulture at the University of Connecticut.


Past SALT Seminars:

2013 - The Joy of Creating a Beautiful and Bountiful Garden‌. Homeowners often think in terms of planting an ornamental garden and a vegetable garden as two separate endeavors. It is possible, however, to have a garden that is both beautiful and bountiful. 

2012 - Gardening in a Changing Environment‌. Experts shared what they are doing now to maintain the sustainability of their land and what they have done when disaster has struck. ‌

2011 - The ABCs of Creating Your Own "Garden of Eden" provided an opportunity for homeowners to learn tips from topnotch speakers in the field of naturalistic landscaping. 

2010 - Designing Your Home Grounds for Beauty and Sustainability. A seminar on naturalistic landscaping. Download the brochure.‌‌2009 - Going Native in New England with featured speaker Douglas W. Tallamy was most informative on the subject of using native plants to promote backyard biodiversity. 

‌2009 - Going Native in New England with featured speaker Douglas W. Tallamy was most informative on the subject of using native plants to promote backyard biodiversity.

2008 - SALT meets Wild Ones!‌‌ This article by Kathy T. Dame appeared in the Wild Ones Journal, September/October, 2008.