How to build drought-resistant yard, garden: ‘Lasagna gardening’

Q: Due to the drought, I let my lawn dry up and would like to replace it with some native plants or low-water-use plants — ones that are attractive but don’t use so much water.

Is there a smart was to convert my lawn to garden beds without digging up all the dead lawn grass? I’d like to start with weed-free beds if possible, and avoid using herbicides.

A: I commend you for wanting to remove your lawn for something more drought tolerant — and one that’s more insect and bird friendly.

Lasagna gardening is seen at Brunk House west of Salem. The technique is a type of composting in place, which eliminates tilling or adding fertilizers for truly organic gardening.

I would suggest you try a technique called “lasagna gardening” to convert your lawn to interesting garden beds for planting your new landscape. Lasagna gardening, also known as sheet mulching, smothers weeds while providing a raised bed for your plants. With this method you build the soil just like preparing a lasagna, one layer at a time. Then sit back and let nature complete the soil enrichment process.