Where Daddy Didn’t Mow-Backyard Education

Many years ago, as a college student, my husband was challenged by a professor to leave a portion of his lawn uncut.  He accepted this challenge and stopped mowing a portion of our yard about nine years ago.  He cut a path through the area so we could walk and observe what grew as a result.  This path has been a vital teaching tool for us and our children ever since.  It has become home to caterpillars and butterflies, praying mantises, spiders, birds, grasshoppers and many more fascinating creatures and plants.  It is a place to run, a place to learn, a place to think.  We are amazed every day at all the life in our yard that may have never been if we continued to mow it.  We encourage others to take this challenge.  Stop cutting, create habitat and start enjoying your own outdoor classroom!  Here are some of the things we have found on the path in our backyard:

milkweed beetles

Where the mowed part meets the un-mowed part.

Several trees now stand on what used to be mowed lawn.

Milkweed where we find snails, milkweed beetles, monarch caterpillars and butterflies.

milkweed flowers

Monarch caterpillar on milkweed

Monarch butterfly on milkweed

Praying Mantis

Bagworm cocoon on a Sycamore Tree

Jewel Weed or Touch Me Nots



These trumpet vines have provided habitat for birds and a fun place for the kids to run through.

bird nest in the vines

The path provides habitat for birds. We have added bird houses which provide great learning opportunities for the kids.


Orb-weaver spider

Orb-weaver spider

Praying Mantis egg sack

Praying Mantis egg sack


8 thoughts on “Where Daddy Didn’t Mow-Backyard Education

  1. Hanna Hartman

    In past years I have often thought that not mowing some of the yard would be a good thing,
    I just might do that this coming year. Also will share your email with my son.

    1. naturallyeducated

      Ah, but NYC has so much we don’t! We are lucky here, only two neighbors. We are close to suburbs, but not in a development. I don’t think not mowing your lawn would go over well in many suburbs. We love the peace and learning it has provided us and the kids!

  2. Amber Neal

    This summer we decided to leave the lower part of our property unmowed and we were amazed at all the really cool learning opportunities that we were blessed with. The coolest by far was watching a fox come out and then almost disappear into the long grass as it curled up. We also got to watch a possum gather up twigs with its tail and that lead to some really fun research online with the kids. This is a great idea and I just had to share it on my Adventures in Mindful Living’s FB page. This is just the kind of mindful learning that I love!

    1. naturallyeducated Post author

      So cool to hear that someone else has had these learning experiences from not mowing! We have watched Monarch Butterflies go from caterpillar to chrysalis to butterfly. We have see hawks and Praying Mantises, Orb Weaver spiders and lots of other exciting things. Thanks for sharing. I will definitely be checking out your site too since mindful living is something I am striving for!

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