Get Growing! New Changes for Minnesota Lawns
A new state law passed in 2023 makes it possible for property owners to plant their lawns as a natural landscape. Managed natural landscapes are an opportunity to convert traditional turf grass lawns into more sustainable lawn environments.
What is a managed natural landscape?
Managed natural landscapes are “planned, intentional, and maintained planting of native or nonnative grasses, wildflowers, forbs, ferns, shrubs or trees, including but not limited to rain gardens, meadow vegetation and ornamental plants.” Natural landscaping plantings may grow taller than 8 inches, but traditional turf or manicured lawns still must be maintained at 8 inches or less. There’s room to learn, too. Lawns can be planted fully in natural plantings or be a mix of turf grass and natural plantings.
Why plant a managed natural landscape?
Properly planned and maintained, managed natural landscapes are habitat for pollinators. These types of lawns also reduce the use of herbicides, fertilizers, and other chemicals, benefiting plant and animal communities and our water, and saving you money on your water bill and lawn supplies.
Another positive – reduced maintenance! Natural plantings can grow taller than a typical turf lawn, with reduced need to mow and water. During the winter season native plantings are also best left in place.
How do I start planning for a managed natural landscape?
Call us! To help property owners begin planning, staff are here to meet with you and provide resources and recommendations. While no permit is required, we do ask that property owners submit a plan for any managed natural landscape installation to help make sure the lawn will meet the new law’s requirements. Plus, we will be providing property owners with small signs to help your neighbors recognize the change.
What if my neighbor has a managed natural landscape and it doesn’t appear to be maintained?
Managed natural landscapes may include grass and plants that can grow taller than 8 inches. However, traditional manicured lawns cannot. The City will still be enforcing lawns that do not meet state and local law requirements. Noxious weeds are also not allowed by this law change.
Questions? Need to know more?
Please call us at 763-295-2711! City staff are happy to answer questions and provide additional information. Just ask for someone from Development Services or our Parks Department!
- Helpful Tips and Tools – Board of Soil & Water Resources: Planting For Pollinators
- Funding – Lawns to Legumes Grants: Apply for Lawns to Legumes Assistance – Blue Thumb
- Getting Started: Lawns to Legumes - Blue Thumb
- MN DNR - Native Plant Nurseries & Native Vegetation Consultants
- MN DNR - Landscaping with Native Plants Resources