11 Reasons a Clover Lawn is Better than Grass Lawn

Time to give up and let the clover take over! Clover doesn’t need to be mowed, watered, weeded or fertilized, and it’s softer than grass.

Want to make your yard more sustainable and wildlife friendly, but still want a soft patch of grass to play on? Plant clover!

You can either mix it in with your current grass or have a completely clover lawn.

Clover requires zero fertilizer or herbicide and little to no mowing or watering. Meanwhile it improves the soil, attracts bees, butterflies and other beneficial bugs for your garden. And, it’s even softer to sit on than grass!

And if you don’t want so many white flowers in your patch of green, no problem. Over the last decade a new variety of white clover called micro clover has become the trend across Europe and is just becoming a thing in the United States. The microclovers are smaller, don’t grow so many flowers and have softer stems for sitting and walking on:

micro clover


white clover

Or, if you want to get really wild, you can plant a crimson clover lawn!

Collecting testimonials & pics for a new page on our site. Just in: “I can’t tell you how pleased we are with how our new lawn has performed this summer. We are in late August with high temperatures. Usually our lawn would look pretty dry and certainly uneven. We look great! Photos attached. I wish we had found you 30 years ago!” Andrea planted PT 769 Rough & Ready last Sept. #fallseeding #overseeding #ecolawn #cloverlawn #Microclover #clover #droughttolerant #organiclawns #organicgardening #alternativelawns

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It was pretty universal for Americans to use clover in up through the 1940s. Then people started using herbicides to kill off dandelions, plantain and other broadleaf “weeds.” Clover was a casualty.

The Laid-back Gardener lays out 11 benefits of planting clover instead of grass on his blog:

1. Nitrogen fixer. As a legume, clover works symbiotically with bacteria to fix atmospheric nitrogen and make it available to both itself and neighboring plants. That’s why even lawn grasses grow better when clover is present.

2. Less fertilizer. A lawn containing clover needs far less fertilizer, and a 100% clover lawn needs none.

3. Drought Resistant. With its deep roots, clover will remain green through drought, as your neighbor’s lawns turn brown.

4. No mowing. A pure clover lawn doesn’t need mowing, but if you do decide to mow, you’ll only need to do so 3 or 4 times a year.

5. No aerating. Clover can grow in and loosen compacted soil, eliminating the need to aerate.

6. No herbicide. If you’re concerned about a uniform looking patch of green, you don’t have to worry about other “weeds.” Clover tends to smother them as is somewhat invasive.

7. Ground cover. Clover makes an excellent ground-cover for food crops.

8. Beneficial pollinators and wildlife.  Clover produces attractive white flowers that attract beneficial pollinators likes bees and butterflies and provide forage for rabbits (and humans).

9. Repels pests. A lawn rich in clover tends to discourage pesky insects, most of which prefer grasses. Grubs will disappear entirely in an all-clover lawn.

10. Sun or shade. Clover grows well in both sun and partial shade.

11. Dogs can pee on it. Clover doesn’t turn yellow when dogs pee on it.

“Lawns are not stable natural habitats,” points out Mike Slater, president of the Baird Ornithological Club. “They originated as a status symbol in Europe, where only the upper class could afford to waste good cropland in nonproductive grass.”

“Unfortunately, we’ve become habituated to them, and having gas mowers, weed trimmers and leaf blowers enables us to maintain way more acreage than we could when muscle power and sheep were required to have a lawn.”

“We can all improve our yards as wildlife habitats by strategically deciding where we really want to have a lawn and how fanatical we are going to be about keeping out weeds.”

As a compromise, Slater recommends planting native wildflowers, bushes and trees around a plot of clover on the edges of your property line.

If enough people did this, our yards could serve as corridors for wildlife to move back and forth between parks and other natural areas nearby.

“America can no longer afford to be defined as the place with tidy green lawns,” he says. “We are facing a global extinction event for many wild animal and plant species … Let’s at least take a few baby steps and show, by our tolerance of a few clover and dandelion flowers, that our planet and the other creatures and plants we share it with are important too.”


34 responses to “11 Reasons a Clover Lawn is Better than Grass Lawn”

  1. Angie White Avatar
    Angie White

    I love the big patches of clover we already have in our yard – how do I get it to “take over” and replace the lawn? Do I just sprinkle seeds over the lawn? Will it eventually kill off the grass?

    1. Jennifer Avatar

      In the early early spring put seed down before the grass has a chance to come up. The clover will have a better chance to get in there and take off. I seed clover every year and my yard is now 80% clover. Good luck

  2. Joan Frohlich Avatar
    Joan Frohlich

    Thanks for the info! I will definitely plant my clover seeds in the fall, in Southwest Florida!


    I like the idea of clover for a lawn. Especially, the softness to walk on, plus for children to play on. Also, being one who grew up on a farm, it brings back good memories. Plus, less work is a great thing, more time to spend with family and friends. Thank you!!

  4. Simon Avatar

    Hi Sara, will a clover-lawn grow under shaded trees?
    We have a really shaded area in our garden where we’d love to have a lawn but grass doesn’t grow.
    Clover looks ideal if it will grow in shaded areas.
    Thanks for your time,

  5. Wade Standifer Avatar
    Wade Standifer

    Is it invasive? Can I stop it from spreading?

  6. James Avatar

    Does this clover grow well in grow zone 7 ? Payson AZ 85541

    1. EarlA Avatar

      James. I’ve grown clover in Concho, AZ outside of Show Low which is in the same zone. I was just using it as ground cover in my raised beds. We get higher temps but it will grown.

  7. Catherine Avatar

    So how do you prepare your old, packed dirt, weedy backyard to achieve the clover “lawn”???

    1. Luci Avatar

      Please reply to this question, I also want to know this.

    2. Russ Avatar

      Cover the area with thick card board and weigh it down so it doesn’t blow away. After 3-4 weeks the grass underneath should be dead. Add some bio charcoal and rock dust/minerals and dig it in cardboard and all. Plant out with clover seed or transplant from someone else. You may need to water the cardboard to soften the ground if it’s really hard. You could use old carpet too so long as it’s natural fibre. Don’t kill your grass with round up/glysophate. It will poison your soil for years which ain’t good if you want to eat the clover. Good luck. It’s also trial and error too sometimes….

      1. Tami Dawe Avatar
        Tami Dawe

        If I clover seed my yard will it stand up to dog traffic??? I have 3 but up to 5 dogs running through my back yard at times. Just wondering if clover is the thing to do??

        1. Maggie Peacock Avatar
          Maggie Peacock

          Would like to know the answer to that dog question too.

    3. James Koher Avatar
      James Koher

      Mow what’s there down twice in as many weeks as low as you can the second time. This will exhaust the weeds’ energy and push any grasses into temporary dormancy. Work the soil as little as necessary to get seeds germinating. A spring rake or chain drag behind a small tractor or quad should be enough to scratch furrows into which seed could be broadcast or hire someone with a small no-till seeder. You could till, sow and cultipack if you have the time, equipment and money but it’s not necessary or best practice except in the most compacted soils. Fertilize with pulverized granite, bone meal and kelp or compost tea. Clover uses nodules of symbiotic bacteria in its roots to sequester nitrogen from the air so the ground should be inoculated with a culture for best results. One may make a compost with spoiled alfalfa hay to inoculate. I spread hay over winter paddocks and get new seedlings from the hay germinating under the light mulch in the spring.

  8. Ruth Avatar

    We had lots of clover growing up in Illinois but only see s few wild ones here in Texas. Will clover grow in this Texas heat temps up to and over 200??

  9. Tricia Ansley Avatar
    Tricia Ansley

    We’re on a little over an acre … all lawn and trees. Would we have to pull up the lawn or can we throw clover seed down and it’ll eventually take over? We would need to continue mowing the lawn until it was mostly clover … would that kill the clover?

    1. James Koher Avatar
      James Koher

      If you mow your lawn down to about four inches one day and a few days later you take it down to around 2 inches your lawn will go dormant temporarily. If you know someone with a small no-till seeder then call them up and have them drill you in some seed and innoculant (to boost the symbiotic bacteria that pulls nitrogen from the air to feed the plants). If you don’t, then perhaps you could aerate, thatch, seed clover and amend/cover with some fine compost. The seeds will find the aerator divots and the compost will cover, protect and feed the sprouts which will get the head start they need over the dormant grass. Watch your plot- areas where the clover took over probably lacked nitrogen or organic material, while areas where the grass dominates are likely to have plenty

  10. Salim E Jumma Avatar
    Salim E Jumma

    Does it grow in region 7 (North Carolina.?

  11. JD John Yoder Avatar
    JD John Yoder

    Great . . . thanks for that “headsup”. Willl do exactly that with the new house I’m building in the spring.

  12. Janeen Avatar

    More ideas about lawn alternatives: http://content.yardmap.org/learn/native-grasses-for-your-native-lawn/

    White Clover (Trifolium repens) is native to Europe. Mature plants have roots 1 to 1-1/2 inches in diameter and 5 to 8 feet deep. It’s listed as an invasive species in some US regions. https://www.invasiveplantatlas.org/subject.html?sub=6557

  13. Clarice Avatar

    Will clover grow under pine trees?

    1. Erin Avatar

      it needs full sun. Try a shade tolerant grass or irish moss. Not sure what is good for foot traffic, but there are many shade tolerant ground covers. Some, marketed as “stepables” tolerae traffic

  14. Patty Avatar

    Plenty of good questions. Where are the responses to these questions?

  15. M.D. Blake Avatar
    M.D. Blake

    Sadly, I’m noticing NO author replies, while there are many commentor questions. My questions (that I have no confidence will be answered are:
    what are the species varieties recommended for lawns in zone 5?

    Ground preps?

    Does it mix well with other non-grass alternatives like thyme?

  16. Eric Bram Avatar
    Eric Bram

    Plus, clover honey is the best honey. Only one drawback, as I remember from my childhood: bee stings. So if you want your kids to be able to play on your lawn, well…

    1. Beekeeper Brad Avatar
      Beekeeper Brad

      A bee sting a day is good for you

  17. rene mojeske Avatar

    I live in Las Vegas… will it grow there? So hot in the summer.

  18. j9 Avatar

    Where do I get the seeds for clovers

    1. Erin Avatar

      You can get clover at any farm supply- they are called green manures and you can order them by mail

    2. John (Juan) Pedraza Avatar
      John (Juan) Pedraza

      I was thinking of planting buffalo grass for next season as I let my lawn die in the back and added xeriscape in the front. This cut my water bill by 50% this year! I went to Youtube for buffalo grass and will now look for clover which sounds much less expensive than buffalo grass.

  19. Jim Avatar

    Can clover handle the 110 summers of Las Vegas?

  20. Jamie Maresh Avatar
    Jamie Maresh

    Can I put out seed in the fall? I’m moving into new construction and the grass is just getting established. Can I over seed with this clover?

  21. Heather Avatar

    Most of the answers to the questions asked are in the body of the article. Yes it grows in shade it is invasive but relatively eady to weed out. Yes for the older types lots of flowers means bees a good thing. Mow when you are concerned about beestings it will come back thicker and softer

  22. Lura Campbell Avatar
    Lura Campbell

    Requires no water?