With the growing trend for sustainability, water-wise, and eco-friendly lifestyles, most of our clients have been rethinking the lawn. We’ve encountered many requests lately to reduce or eliminate grass in the garden. While a green lawn can be beautiful, it can also be a source of burden for the homeowner. The time, labor, and water it takes to maintain it is high and most people would prefer to spend their resources in another way, like spending time with family or sitting down and enjoying their outdoor space. If you are looking to cut down on your grass, while still maintaining a lush, green landscape, we have these options for you.
Planting bed and groundcovers
Converting part, or all, of your lawn area into a planting bed is the perfect grass alternative to a lush garden. You can have a mix of foundation shrubs, perennials, and groundcovers that can create layers and add interest to the space. Better yet, choose native plants that are suited for your site conditions. They will thrive in your local soil and require little care while providing habitat and food for wildlife. Check with your native plant society, cooperative extension, or garden center for recommendations. One of our designers can also work with you for a plant palette that suits your site and aesthetic preferences.
Dry river bed and rock garden
A composition of boulders, river rocks, and plants can come together to create an interesting feature in your garden. Instead of just a plain green field, this can become a focal point and with the right xeriscape and rock garden plants such as sedums, ornamental grasses, and natives, it can require very little supplemental water once established. River rock mulch can also be used to create a plain neat cover instead of a lawn.
Lately, artificial turf has transformed into the new eco-friendly lawn option. New products on the market now look so real that you can hardly tell that it is artificial grass. You can’t get more low maintenance than this, as it requires no mowing, fertilizing, watering, or weeding. Just raking leaves from nearby trees for it to look it’s best. If you have pets, there are also products to add in order to minimize the odors. This is also a great option for problem areas in your yard, such as poor drainage or too much shade that you can’t get real grass to grow. Re-grading and the gravel layers underneath the artificial turf can potentially resolve minor drainage issues and give you a more usable, low maintenance space.
Paver patios and play areas
Many have opted to convert all or part of their lawns into a living space by installing a patio. Instead of mowing the lawn, you can actually spend the weekends enjoying the space with a cup of coffee or glass of wine around the fire pit or outdoor fireplace! There are many material options to consider based on your budget and aesthetic preferences including traditional concrete pavers, natural stone, and permeable pavers. If installing a paver patio seems too permanent to you, using compacted gravel or even splinter-less bark chips for a play space could be an alternative. This can easily be converted into a planting bed in the future when the kids grow up.
Eco-lawn & wildflower meadows
Instead of perennial ryegrass, why not seed your lawn space with a wildflower or eco-lawn seed mix. It is perfect for areas where you need a low-input green cover. With its mix of flowers, clovers, and grasses, it provides a pollinator habitat, too. They require less mowing and water, while still providing a groundcover. There are also seed mixes of Pacific Northwest natives to create an urban meadow. Check out Pro Time Lawn Seed for the different options and find the perfect mix for your site. https://ptlawnseed.com/collections/eco-and-alternative-lawns
With all these great alternatives, yes, your yard can still be beautiful without a grassy lawn and can be greener than your neighbor’s! Contact us today for a design consultation to explore the possibilities.