After mowing the lawn, most homeowners simply leave their lawn clippings where they fall or bag them up for municipal composting. However, there are some creative ways to repurpose those grass trimmings that are probably new to you. With a little imagination, you can find uses for lawn clippings that go far beyond just fertilizing your garden.
Make Compost Tea
Compost tea is a liquid fertilizer made by steeping compost materials in water. The nutrients from the compost leach into the water, creating a natural fertilizing tonic for your plants. Lawn clippings make an excellent addition to compost tea.
To make compost tea with lawn clippings:
- Fill a 5 gallon bucket about halfway with clipping
- Top off the bucket with water
- Add a few scoops of compost or manure
- Let it steep for 3-7 days
- Stir or agitate the mixture daily
- Strain out the solids and use the nutritious tea on your garden
The nitrogen and minerals from the grass enrich the tea and feed your plants. Compost tea boosts plant growth and helps suppress plant diseases. It’s an all-natural way to fertilize using free materials generated right in your own yard.
Spread on Gravel Driveways
Loose gravel driveways can wash away during heavy rains, leaving behind deep ruts. A thick layer of lawn clippings helps weigh down the gravel and prevents erosion. The clippings fill in around the gravel, acting as a natural form of stabilization.
To use clippings on a gravel driveway:
- Mow the lawn
- Dump fresh clippings directly onto the gravel
- Use a rake to spread a 2-4 inch layer evenly over the driveway
- Pack them down lightly with a lawn roller
- Add more clippings after heavy rains to maintain the layer
The clippings quickly disappear as they decompose into the gravel. It’s an easy, cost-effective way to maintain loose driveways and walkways.
Make Clipping “Bricks”
With a little compression, lawn clippings can be transformed into sturdy bricks for all kinds of purposes.
To make clipping bricks:
- Fill a wooden mold or square container with fresh clippings
- Compress them as tightly as possible by hand or with a tamper
- Carefully remove the brick and allow it to dry for 1-2 days
- Repeat to make as many bricks as needed
The compacted grass binds together as it dries. Clipping bricks can be used to:
- Make stepping stones for garden pathways
- Create bio-degradable seed starter pots
- Replace peat pots for seedlings
- Insulate tender plants from frost
For best results, alternate directions when compressing the clippings in layers. Let your imagination run wild with grassy DIY projects!
Pet Bed Stuffing
Dry lawn clippings make an excellent natural stuffing for pet beds. Grass clippings are soft, absorbent and inviting to animals. The earthy green smell appeals to a dog or cat’s instincts.
To use clippings as pet bed stuffing:
- Allow fresh clippings to dry in the sun for 2-3 days
- Fluff up the dried grass to maximize loft
- Fill pillowcases or cloth pet bed covers with the dried clippings
- Add a layer of cedar shavings on top to deter pests
You can easily refresh stale stuffing by replacing the outer layers with new clippings. Pets love curling up on the natural grassy padding.
Mulching for Weed Control
A thick layer of lawn clippings makes an effective mulch for suppressing weeds in garden beds and pathways. The clippings block light, preventing weed seeds from germinating. As they decompose, the grass also releases compounds that inhibit weed growth.
To use clippings for mulching:
- Mow lawn as usual
- Dump fresh clippings directly onto garden beds
- Spread 2-4 inches thick to block light
- Replenish mulch layer as clippings decompose
Clipping mulch is free, organic and efficient at controlling weeds. For gardens and pathways, it beats plastic sheeting hands down.
Pack as Firestarter
When dried thoroughly, lawn clippings tightly packed into toilet paper tubes or egg cartons make excellent fire starters. The compacted grass burns slow and hot, perfect for igniting wood in a fireplace or campfire.
To make clipping firestarters:
- Allow fresh clippings to dry for 4-5 days
- Pack dry grass very tightly into cardboard tubes or egg carton cups
- Seal the ends with tape and allow to dry further before use
- To light, place tube/cup under tinder and light the exposed end
Dried grass firestarters ignite easily and provide sustained heat to light larger fuel sources. Make batches ahead of time for camping trips and power outages.
With a pinch of creativity, you can take those piles of lawn clippings and turn them into something useful for your home, garden and pets. Compost tea, gravel stabilizers, DIY bricks, pet bed stuffing, weed barriers and fire starters are just a few ways to put your leftover grass to work. Don’t let those free trimmings go to waste. Discover obscure ways to repurpose lawn clippings for yourself!