What Is The Best Alternative To Grass
The best alternative to grass is the one that is best suited to the size, aspect, and general style of your yard. Smaller yards will benefit from a rock or Japanese garden, while larger yards may look better with a gravel and flowering planting scheme. There aren’t any hard and fast rules here. If you’re not sure what will work best for you, hire a professional landscape designer for a day to help you if you have some spare budget.
Nurture A Chamomile Lawn
Imagine relaxing on a springy, green patch of chamomile inhaling in the sweet, fruity fragrance. A blissful experience much loved by the Elizabethans, it can still delight and revitalise garden lovers today.
The soft feathery leaves hug the ground and send out shoots in summer, creating a beautiful and closely woven covering, making it one of our favorite alternatives to grass. Not to be confused with flowering Roman chamomile, the best variety for a lawn is low growing Chamomile Treneague.
Ideal for areas that are used occasionally, these plants prefer a sunny position in a light, moist soil and take up to a year to get growing. Once established the leaves do compress when walked or sat upon but dont worry, theyll soon spring back up. This also encourages new roots to form.
Tips For Caring For Alternative Lawns
Save water on your alternative lawn when you install anirrigation timer and set it to water in the early morning, not during the day or evening. This will reduce water loss due to evaporation and in the case of nighttime watering, the spread of fungal diseases.
With a natural lawn, keep in mind that when you build healthy soil and plant the right grass for your area, the weeds will stay in check.
Whether you need the right planters, seeds or potting soil, The Home Depot delivers online orders when and where you need them.
Alternatives To Grass For Gardens
July 25, 2019 admin admin0 Comments
It is always refreshing to see lush green sceneries, particularly if its your own lawn or garden. Grass seeds are usually planted to achieve this tranquil and invigorating ambiance. Little did most people know that keeping grass lawns green could be high maintenanceconstant moving, watering, and fertilizing is a requisite. A pain in the grass indeed! Its about time to consider these alternatives to grass for gardens.
Alternatives To Grass For A No
These alternatives to grass deliver on beauty, sustainability and low-maintenance functionality for modern yards, big and small
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If you’re exploring alternatives to grass, the chances are that your yard doesn’t allow for it, you don’t like the look of turf, or enjoy the upkeep… Regardless of your reason, looking for different types of ground cover is a really smart move for a lower-maintenance garden and to help conserve water also, no matter what climate you live in.
Sure, a grass lawn is often a ‘traditional’ part of a home’s outdoor space, but now backyard landscaping ideas and trends are moving away from this conventional design feature. Although beloved by many as a space to relax and play with children and pets, lawns have their dark side: they are environmentally problematic because of the constant watering requirement, not to mention you may not be a huge fan of getting out your lawnmower… No matter how much of a breeze it is to use.
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Grass Alternatives For Lawns
There’s more to lawns than the traditional grass turf that we’ve come to expect. The typical grass lawn is not the only possibility for your outdoor space, and youll discover there are many sustainable, low-maintenance alternatives for your lawn.
Lawns can be more than the grass yards you grew up running and playing on. In this guide, you’ll learn eight alternatives to traditional grass lawns, including ground covers, wildflower meadows and clover lawns.
Two points to keep in mind: timing and scale. There are good reasons to keep a traditional grass lawn, but if youre replacing turf, you dont need to take it out all at one time. You can try a few of these ideas and, over time, reduce or replace your grass lawn.
Fescue And Ornamental Grass
Both fescue and ornamental grasses provide another alternative to the traditional lawn. Fescue grasses are tolerant of everyday wear and tear and can thrive in a variety of locations. Tall fescues are coarser, drought tolerant, and provide a very low maintenance lawn for your home.
Ornamental grasses are also low-maintenance plants that make great lawn alternatives. Since there are numerous types to choose from, finding one that meets your specific needs shouldnt be a problem. However, sticking to a variety that is native to your area will increase your chances of success. A native grass lawn requires little supplemental water once its established and doesnt suffer from many pest or disease problems. Native grasses can be mown or left alone to create the appearance of a natural prairie.
Also Check: How To Remove Wild Grass In Lawn
Things You Should Notice
It is particularly easier to plant clover, not much difference from traditional lawn grass. The only difference is maybe how frequent you should water it, because this plant has higher drought resistance than grass.
But there are some things you should notice when you plant clover. First thing first is how to prevent kids stain their clothes with the saps of clover. Clover stain is hard to get rid of while this plant stains clothes easier than grass.
Clover field is also not durable enough for high traffic unless mixed with grass. Youd better put some stepping stones in high traffic areas to avoid destroying your beautiful lawn. Another thing to notice is careful where you step, since there might be bees like mentioned above.
And the last but not least, if you want some good luck charm, maybe you should look for any four leaf clover growing in your lawn. Because, why not?
More Sustainable Alternatives To A Grass Lawn
Adams County PA Master Gardener, BBG Graduate, and NRDC Member, Audrey Hillman
In a case of taking the grass is always greener a bit too literally, American homeowners have long strived to make their lawns brighter, lusher, and more velvety than their neighbors. But all that competition has a devastating environmental impact. Every year across the country, lawns consume nearly 3 trillion gallons of water a year, 200 million gallons of gas , and 70 million pounds of pesticides.
You may also know that turf grass, however welcoming it looks for our bare feet, provides virtually no habitat for pollinators and other animals and plants that make up a healthy, diverse ecosystem. In fact, these lawns can do substantial harm to the environment and to both vertebrates and insects. Birds, for instance, may ingest berries and seeds that have absorbed pesticides from the ground. Likewise, rainwater runoff from lawns can carry pesticides and fertilizers into rivers, lakes, streams, and oceans via the sewer system. This can poison fish and other aquatic animals and harm humans who swim, surf, and eat seafood that may be contaminated. And then, of course, lawn mowers can pollute the air.
The No-Mow Movement
Making the Change
Amanda Mae Taylor
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How I Replaced My Front Yard
In my own yard, I did a combination of things to get rid of the lawn:
1. Dug out sections of lawn by hand along the driveway and garden edges. Then new dirt and mulch was added on top to a level even with the adjacent areas.
2. Covered the remaining lawn with cardboard. I got big shipping boxes from the recycling pile at work. After removing all the tape, I opened them up and spread them across the yard. The cardboard will eventually biodegrade, which is good. In the meantime, it helps kill the underlying lawn and keep the weeds down until then.
3. Spread dirt and wood chips on top of the cardboard right away, rather than waiting for the lawn to die .
For someone with my level of patience , this was the perfect solution. I got to see major progress on my project right away.
Potential Problems With Removing Lawn
- Be conscious of your neighbors opinions. Some may not appreciate any deviation from the usual look of the neighborhood or may feel that your choice of plants looks messy or weedy. Talk with them. Put a sign in your yard that explains what you are doing. Keeping a neat border will help. Your neighbors just might love what youre doing and look to you for advice for their own yards.
- Some neighborhoods have homeowner associations that sometimes impose rules about the extent to which you can replace your lawn, particularly your front lawn. Start with the more private areas of your yards. Check local ordinances and work to change restrictive measures.
- While an established native or new landscape can be beautiful and eventually save you time and money, its not easy. Spreading the job out over a few years can save your budget and your back. It may take a few years to really rid your property of turf and to establish your new plants. You will always need to weed your gardens, prune trees and shrubs, divide crowded plantings, and move or remove overgrown plants.
Your yard is your private space, but it is also part of the world. What you put there matters. By replacing turfgrass, you can, without too much trouble, foster a healthier watershed and ecosystem as you create beautiful, enjoyable, wildlife-friendly yards that require less maintenance, water, and chemicals.
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Conquer A Sloping Garden With Decking
If you have a small outdoor space that’s an awkward shape or on a sloping site, installing decking is a speedy way to create a usable surface, perfect for outdoor lounging and dining. There are so many cool around for inspiration, and a ton of to choose from including hardwoods and no-maintenance composite wood lookalikes for budget-friendly alternatives.
High Traffic Lawn Alternatives
In a higher-traffic section of the yard, I chose to use wood chips instead of grass or ground cover.
Crushed rock would have also been a good option. Its probably more durable, but much heavier to spread. I could have also considered some of these concrete alternatives, too.
I had considered buying pavers or stepping stones to make a path through the area, but chose not to. Not only did this save me money, but also a lot of effort. I didnt have to outline the path, or set the stones in place. And, now I never feel like I have to stay on a path.
For larger areas, be sure to contact a local nursery or hardware store about getting bulk loads of wood chips. It can be costly to try to buy bags of the stuff at a big box store, unless you have a very small space. Even with a delivery fee , you could save money.
The wood chips spread with ease. The result is a clean, uniform look that I much prefer over the patchy lawn. I also love that the wood chips allow rain water to drain through to the ground, rather than being an impervious substance.
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Why Are Grass Lawn Alternatives More Sustainable
Lawns are unsustainable for many reasons:
- Freshwater seems like an abundant resource, but when you look at the statistics from the EPA , only 1 percent of water is available for human use. Over 30 percent of freshwater withdrawals are used for irrigation, meaning water use and management is a growing concern. Water-wise landscapes and native plantings reduce irrigation demand.
- Turf lawns are not a healthy habitat for pollinators or insects that are important to our ecosystem. In fact, spraying weeds with pesticides/insecticides can expose pollinators to these chemicals unintentionally. Providing these important pollinators and wildlife the vegetation and habitat they need to survive is crucial to biodiversity.
- Using regionally appropriate plants in the landscape as an alternative to grass will reduce pesticide usage and fertilizer runoff, reducing the excess nutrients and harsh chemicals contaminating the surface water and groundwater.
It does not need to be this way, as there are all kinds of low-maintenance lawn alternatives that can be beneficial to our environment and saving us time and resources to care for them. You might be asking yourself, what is the best alternative to grass?
Never Mow Again: Front Yard Lawn Alternatives
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These no mow lawn alternatives are perfect for the front yard or where grass wont grow.
Did you know that grass is the biggest irrigated crop in the U.S.? And we cant even eat it! That seems like a waste of water and resources.
I like having a beautiful yard. However, all of the mowing, edging, watering, fertilizing takes precious time from my life.
Lawn care also causes some serious problems, such as noise pollution, air pollution, and chemical runoff pollution from fertilizers and weed sprays. Plus, large amounts of water are wasted keeping grass green in summer.
When I started realizing the ROI of keeping my front yard covered in grass was not making sense with my finances or how I spent my time and energy, I started looking into front lawn alternatives. And Im so glad that I did!
Lets face it, I had mostly weeds and dead spots in my lawn anyway!
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Grow A Wildflower Meadow
Turf mixes, like this one from Wildflower Turf, are an easy way to create a wildflower area in your garden
Fancy a wild, grassy area that bursts into color every summer? Then discover how to plant a wildflower meadow the easy way, with a mat of established young plants that are ready to root and thrive.
Available from specialist growers such as Turf Online , carefully selected varieties are sown and nurtured to create a dense turf with a strong, developed root system. These are then supplied cut and rolled to customers for a speedy installation.
Varying flower and grass combinations are on offer so you can choose from native and heritage blends featuring favorites such as Cornflowers, Ox-Eye Daisies and buttercups cottage garden, shade loving and pollinator mixes.
The Cost Of Grass Alternatives
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.
Read Also: How To Kill Weeds In Your Lawn Naturally
Caring For Ornamental Grasses
Although many native ornamental grasses prefer to be burned in nature, that is dangerous and not recommended for the home gardener.
Instead, cut back ornamental grasses just before or as the new seasons growth begins to appear. If you cut most grasses back in late winter, it allows you to enjoy the glories of winter foliage.
In mild climates, some warm-season grasses such as kangaroo grass are sheared in September to force new growth for the fall. This sacrifices the flowers, but the resulting fall foliage is showy.
Cut warm season grasses to within a few inches of the ground. Cut cool-season grasses to two-thirds of their full size.
Use a pair of sharp hand pruners to do the cutting. You can use a string trimmer to cut large clumps of soft grasses.
Convert Your Yard Into A Raised Bed Garden
If you’re looking for an alternative to grass that’s productive as well as good-looking, consider starting a kitchen garden. Raised garden beds are easy to build yourself or buy and you’ll have fresh homegrown produce to supplement your diet. Jeremy Yamaguchi adds that ‘no, you can’t live off of a personal garden, but it will provide supplemental nutrition for you and your family and cut down on how much you need to buy from the store.’
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Gather Moss Instead Of Grass
If you have shade and a rainy climate, moss may be the best way for you to have a green lawn. The best way to know if a moss garden will work for your site is if moss is already growing in your garden.
You can purchase moss or try to propagate moss. Be careful of harvesting moss from public spaces like road sides and hiking trails.
Add moss to your garden by transplanting moss fragments on ground thats been cleared of other plants. You can also take bits of moss and blend them with water to make a moss slurry that you can paint where you want it to grow.
Sustainable Landscapes Without All The Work
The developing water shortage crisis in the United States has prompted many homeowners to turn to low-maintenance lawn alternatives. And there are plenty of optionseverything from red clover as an eco-friendly lawn alternative and managed meadows to ornamental grasses and flower beds, all sharing sustainability as a common denominator.
Minimizing your turf lawnor replacing it altogethercan be a major undertaking. Getting rid of all the grass and planting a new ground covering, even in a small area, is not a small project. But we believe it will absolutely pay off. In fact, in some cases, youll see a return on investment before the growing season is even over! And no matter your lawns type, size or growing region, youll have several different and unique lawn alternatives to choose from, each with their own set of perks. You may even discover a whole new landscape of native plants and labor-saving wildlife attractors.
Weve gathered 10 of our favorite low-maintenance lawn alternatives to inspire your own landscapes. Turn your garden into a place of respite and not a chore. Happy planting!
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