Backyard Grass

July 10, 2020
Faux Grass Delray Beach

Natural grass lawns adorn front yards and backyards across the nation, but the cost, maintenance and water requirements for these high-maintenance landscaping features have many homeowners on the hunt for lawn alternatives that are better for the planet and their bank account.

For some, saving money is a key concern, and grass alternatives that require little or no water, pesticides, fertilizers, herbicides or gas-powered equipment is an appealing way to enjoy significant savings while still having a beautiful yard.

For others, mowing, watering, feeding, weeding, edging and aerating a natural lawn is just too time consuming, and the cost of hiring landscape professionals to care for their lawn is just as undesirable.

Other homeowners look into grass alternatives as part of their efforts to lower their home’s impact on the environment, since conventional lawns require more than their fair share of water, and common lawn care products – like chemical-laden herbicides and pesticides – are harmful to the environment and are linked to a variety of health issues.

You can save money and time, limit your family’s exposure to harmful chemicals, decrease your environmental impact and still have a great-looking yard by replacing your lawn or decreasing your lawn space by choosing one of the alternatives listed below.

Low-Maintenance Grass Alternatives: Things to Consider

If you are looking into installing landscaping that does not include natural grass, replacing your current lawn or reducing the size of your lawn, there are a few things to consider to help ensure that you are making the right choice.

One of the most important considerations is determining how you want to use your yard.

Is your front yard just for looks, or do you want it to serve an additional purpose?

Do you want your backyard to be a place where your children or pets can play?

Do you plan on entertaining guests often?

Are there particular features you would like to include, such as a vegetable garden, children’s playground, dog run or putting green?

Once you have decided how you want to use your yard and what features you would like to include, the next step is considering your budget.

For example, an outdoor kitchen would be an excellent addition to any backyard, but they can become quite pricey quite quickly, particularly when you add in running electricity and a water line to your patio.

But if your budget does not allow for a full backyard kitchen, you still might be able to install a built-in barbecue and design a wallet-friendly alternative.

Or, if an in-ground rock fire pit is above your budget, you could still create a cozy place to stargaze or entertain with an affordable, portable fire pit and inexpensive patio furniture.

The next thing on your to-do list for planning your yard is to decide just how low maintenance you want it to be.

Do you want a yard that requires the least amount of maintenance possible?

This might mean designing a yard that is mostly made up of hardscape features and low-maintenance ground covers, such as a large patio and walkways with gravel or bark as a ground cover.

This type of design would require very little maintenance with just an occasional sweeping or rinsing off for the patio, and a bit of raking and freshening up on occasion to keep the gravel or bark looking sharp.

Or would you prefer a bit of greenery that requires just a little maintenance?

If you know that one of your goals is to avoid having a natural grass lawn or to have just a small lawn, the grass alternatives below will help you design a yard that is inviting and fits your needs.

I have also included some pros and cons for each idea in order to help you choose the right lawn alternative for your home and family.

10 Alternatives to Natural Grass Lawns

1. Wildflower Meadow –

If you are tired of weekly mowing and rising water bills, try replacing your lawn with a wildflower meadow. Seed mixes are easy to come by at your local garden center, and you can have a beautiful, flowering meadow to enjoy instead of a typical grass lawn.

Easy to grow
Requires less water than grass
Provides beautiful flowers during blooming seasons
Good alternative for slopes, rocky areas and uneven terrain

Will need to be reseeded every few years
Requires weeding to remove wild grasses and weeds
Not a hardy option for play areas for pets or children

2. Vegetable Garden –

A vegetable garden is a great addition to any backyard and can be an attractive landscaping feature when done right. Install raised planting beds for a tidy, uniform look, and you will have a great family project that lets you grow some of the food you eat.

Saves money by supplying some or most of your family’s produce needs
Provides a fun activity the whole family can enjoy
Reduces chemicals in your food if grown without pesticides and herbicides
Great way to teach kids about how food is grown

Requires regular watering, which can be accomplished with a drip system
Requires regular weeding, which can be reduced by using ground covers around plants
Many plants will need to be replanted for each growing season

3. Moss –

If you have a shady yard, or a shady area in your yard, moss can be a great, low-maintenance alternative to grass. This low-growing ground cover comes in many varieties, which allows you to choose between a smoother texture or options that look more like grass.

Low-maintenance ground cover that thrives in shade
Attractive appearance

Most varieties cannot stand up to traffic or playing
Requires regular watering in drier climates

4. Gravel –

Gravel is an economical, simple alternative that can be used anywhere you need a ground cover. Your local garden center or rock yard will have a variety to choose from, giving you some choice in the size and color of gravel you use in your yard.

Essentially no maintenance, unless leaves need to be raked away
Inhibits weed growth
Requires no water
Provides an easy-to-clean surface for dog runs and pet areas
Inexpensive option for walkways and driveways

Not a good choice for children’s play areas
Requires additional landscaping features to add color and texture to your yard
Can pose a choking hazard for small children

5. Wood Chips or Bark –

Using wood chips or bark is a great way to cover ground with a low-maintenance material that is attractive and easy to care for. This affordable option is available at garden and home centers, and can easily be used as a lawn alternative.

Attractive appearance
Inhibits weed growth
Requires no water
Minimal maintenance (raking leaves, refreshing with new wood chips or bark periodically)

Loses color and breaks down over time
Can pose a choking hazard for small children

6. Artificial Grass –

Synthetic turf is an ideal option for anyone who wants the look and feel of a natural grass lawn without the extreme water usage, chemicals and maintenance requirements. This low-maintenance option allows you to enjoy a lush lawn that you can use just as you would use a natural grass lawn, but without the frequent, ongoing water usage and high level of maintenance.


Landscaping Tips

Though your home is your castle, there is no necessity to surround it with a moat. Here are 5 tips that will help you to make your landscaping feel more warm, welcoming and cozy.

1. Put some flowers nearby your entrance. Flowers make any area look more welcoming and attractive, so greeting your guests with Petunia, Snapdragon, Lily-of-the-Nile or some other garden flowers is always a great thing to do. What is more, to add some space between your house and the entrance, you can consider adding a little white fence. It will create an illusion that your front yard is bigger than it actually is. What is more, adding fence will create a great space for planting flowers to add some color and coziness.

2. Add rambling vines to make your yard look absolutely lovely. You can not deny that rambling vines always create romantic and even magical atmosphere. So why not to use this tip while decorating your yard?

3. To hide the unattractive driveway, consider adding some color, texture, and height. You can easily do it by adding various sorts of flowers. To start, create an island of green lawn right in the hub of a drive. Then add a couple of low boxwood hedges with flowers toward the back of your island.

4. If you want your yard to blossom and flourish bust still do not have enough time to maintain it, consider planting low-fuss lilies. Such flowers look absolutely gorgeous and come in the variety of rainbow hues, so you can pick the one you love most. What is more, low-fuss lilies do not care about the sort of soil, they love the sun and welcome hot, they do not afraid of drought. In other words, Crinums is an ideal flower for all those who are looking for low-maintenance solutions.

5. The last tip also touches the low-maintenance aspect. To make your life easier, group plantings into beds and islands. This will help you to avoid mowing and trimming around each individual plant, save a lot of time and even money.

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