Many people consider clover to be a nuisance weed in their yards. What they don't understand are the benefits of it. Using clover as a temporary, or permanent, alternative lawn has many positive points. It is drought tolerant, chokes out most weeds, pest resistant, attracts beneficial insects, is not discolored by dog urine and is all but maintenance free.
Things You Will Need
Sod cutter or shovel
Measure your lawn in order to figure out how much seed you will need. A bag containing enough seed to cover approximately 4,000 square feet costs just around $5.00. Clover grows and spreads rapidly so there is no need to buy an excessive amount.
Buy the seed. White clover should be used. Both red and yellow clover grow tall enough to require frequent mowing of your alternative lawn. If you, or anyone in your household is allergic to bee stings, you will want to stay on the safe side and mow when white clover begins to flower. Otherwise, there will be next to no need to mow.
Begin by digging out your current lawn. Dispose of the waste in a way that is appropriate for your area and meets local guidelines and codes. Break up all dirt clumps and rake the area to even it out. You may also consider adding the lawn waste to a compost heap while keeping in mind there will be extra composting time needed to kill any seeds that may be present in the new material and you will need to have enough brown material also.
Use a spreader or broadcast sow the clover seed by hand. The seeds are very small so you can mix them in with some soil to make sowing easier. Lightly rake the area again to ensure the seed is slightly covered. The seed will germinate in approximately a week and should be kept well watered until the plants are established. Because it is drought tolerant, it requires very little water once established and will stay green during the driest of times. It will not need any fertilizing.
During the following spring, decide whether you want to continue with the low maintenance alternative lawn or put grass back in. Clover's long root system would have broken up any compacted soil and because it affixes nitrogen into soil, the area will be well fertilized. If choosing to return to using grass, simply till it into the soil before planting grass seed or installing sod. Clover is called "green manure" because it a wonderful organic fertilizer. If you choose to keep it as your lawn, it will grow back when winter is over.