What are Some Alternatives to Grass?
by Lauren Caster
Rock, groundcover, garden and other landscaping ideas for your little plot of land that aren't grass
Spring is here and it's time to aerate, reseed, fertilize and -- in a few weeks -- mow your lawn. Sound like your thing? Or does it sound like a nightmare?
Beautifully manicured green lawns can be quite a lovely sight, but if you're sick of lawn care (or live in an area that isn't conducive to grass growing), here are some landscaping ideas that will leave your yard looking just as beautiful, without the extra maintenance.
Many people have started to explore this option -- transforming a water-hogging lawn into a functional and beautiful garden space. One popular option is to build raised wooden beds on your lawn and fill them with nutrient-rich soil. Build as many as you want (or can fit) on your lawn, and grow vegetables, flowers, shrubs or a combination of all three. To create a more decorative look, fill the pathways between beds with mulch or paved stone.
If you don't have a green thumb, or you just want to minimize watering, consider replacing your lawn with gravel, stone or bark chippings. You'll need to get rid of the lawn first, either by removing the grass or simply smothering it. It's also a good idea to apply some sort of herbicide or lay down a landscape cloth so you won't have weeds popping up between stones.
Gravel is a great option for drier locales. You can cover as much area as you'd like while adding accents like stone pathways or small plantings here and there.
Stone / Pavers / Bricks
Like gravel, you can cover as much lawn as you'd like with any of these options, though it might get a bit expensive if you have a large area to cover. Another option to consider is laying a smaller area of stone and replanting the rest of the yard with a meadow or ornamental grasses, which are easier to maintain than a lawn.
Other Green Cover Options
You can still have a yard full of green without the upkeep of lawn grass. Keep in mind that not all of these options will take trampling quite as nicely as a regular lawn, so you may want to keep a pathway clear if you frequently walk across the yard.
Here are a couple choices:
These are low-lying plants that are quite hardy and easy to maintain. There are flowering and non-flowering options to choose from. Creeping thyme is an attractive, aromatic flowering cover that thrives in sunny or partially shaded plots.
Clover is green, needs no food, smothers weeds and requires little watering. What could be better?
These grasses may require fertilizer, but they're drought-resistant and hardy, thus requiring less care than a lawn. Look into native grasses in your area, or consider a meadow/wildflower blend.
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