There’s a certain amount of pride that property owners have in their lush green lawn. However, it takes a lot of work to maintain a perfectly manicured piece of grass. Consider a low maintenance alternative that will look just and beautiful but require a lot less effort. It may require more of an upfront investment, but the reduction in ongoing maintenance is well worth the price tag.
Check out these grass-free yard ideas and find an alternative for your yard. Perhaps you live in a dry climate where a desertscape will look right at home. Or maybe you have a pool and can create a lush tropical oasis with bamboo, large-leafed bushes, and blooming perennials.
1. Artificial Turf
Lay down artificial grass, and never worry about mowing your lawn again. Artificial turf grass looks beautiful throughout the year and requires very little maintenance. You can have green grass no matter the soil condition or amount of rain you have.
Modern turf lawn mimics the characteristics of real grass. Your fake turfgrass could look like buffalo grass or some other variety of grass lawn that you find appealing. Whatever type you choose, level your yard and contour the property for proper drainage. Then compact a layer of gravel to create a smooth and even base.
2. Cactus Garden
Living in a dry climate presents some unique challenges. You want to grow plants, but plants require water to grow and thrive. Well, not all plants. Choose drought tolerant plants and create a hardy cactus garden. Skip the lawn landscaping and instead up for pea gravel and sand. This highlights the desert feel.
Build a smooth and stable walkway to navigate your yard. The last thing you want is to trip and fall into a cactus. Build an edging that stands up above the walkway and landscaping. This will create a natural barrier and prevent people from accidentally brushing up against your cactus plants.
Build a deck that covers your backyard. It doesn’t have to be high off the ground. Elevate it just enough to build a solid and level platform. Place potted plants around the deck to create privacy and define the space. Then add your outdoor furniture to complete the look.
Building a deck requires a stable and secure base that’s strong enough to support their deck. Lift the deck off of the ground and then build steps going down to ground level. Add lighting to each step’s rise for increased safety and give your deck a modern look.
Climates that are dry and arid make it tough to grow plants. They’re also quite hot, making a concrete patio unbearable. Embrace this climate and work with it by looking for landscaping ideas that embrace these qualities. Pour concrete to make a patio or use wood to build a deck. Then cover it with a pergola or sail shade to make a shady and cooler escape.
Use sand and rocks to create a mini desert in your yard. Use native plants that don’t need a lot of water. Hardy grasses and cacti are perfect for this. Use rocks to create visual interest and texture. Think about how the light will cast to highlight points of interest and make the space usable at night.
Minimize your lawn care by building more hardscape elements in your landscaping. Hardscape is the hard materials that you build into your landscaping design. This includes stones, bricks, or concrete. The more hardscape materials that you use, the less lawn care that you need to perform.
While you could create an entire landscape design out of hardscape materials, this can look barren and dull. Instead, try to use a mix of hard and soft materials together. Add some trees in large pots or a few shrubs.
Create the ultimate peaceful oasis by building a Japanese inspired garden in your yard. Start with a small pond where you can have fish. Line the pone edge with rocks. Plant large maple and cherry trees that turn stunning shades of pink, purple, orange, red, and white. Cultivate moss to cover the ground below them.
In one area you can have a rock garden. Clear out the lawn, level the ground, and lay down landscape fabric. Cover the fabric with sand and artfully rake it into a design. Place a large rock or two in the sandy area.
7. Landscaped Garden
Turn your entire yard into a landscaped garden. Have tall trees, shorter bushes, and bright blooms. Cover the ground around the plants with a rich organic mulch. It’ll insulate the plant roots and protect them. Mulch blocks harmful sun rays, retains moisture, and prevents weeds from growing.
Plan out your garden before you start planting. Define the areas with paver or rock edging. Then arrange your plants in each landscaping bed with the taller plants towards the back and lower ones forward.
8. Low Maintenance
The ultimate in low maintenance landscaping is to cultivate a rain garden. Look for an area of your yard that’s naturally lower than everywhere else. Water will naturally gather here, making it wetter than the rest of your yard. This makes it the perfect place to grow a low maintenance garden.
Encourage your garden to grow by sloping your yard towards the rain garden location. This will encourage all water to flow that way. Build an overflow zone that collects water when there’s a big rainstorm. This prevents your garden from flooding.
9. Modern Landscape
Modern landscaping ideas combine several grass alternatives for a visually stunning display. Use gravel or small stones to cover the ground. Then create a crisp square of artificial turf. Decorate the yard with ornamental shrubs. Use plants sparingly as accents and don’t let them take over the yard. Use wood to create a deck area.
Create multiple levels to create visual interest. Define different areas of the yard as individual usable spaces. Use water and light to highlight areas of the yard and create a focal point.
Homeowners with a larger budget should consider paving their entire yard. This entirely eliminates the need for maintaining your yard. All you need is the occasion washing of the pavers, concrete, or stones. Occasionally spray weed killer to prevent weeds from popping up and growing from your patio.
For a modern feel, leave some larger spaces between some of the pavers. Then encourage moss or use artificial turf to fill in the gap. It’ll look as though stones are floating in the grass. However, you’ll know that the grass isn’t real, and you’ll never have to mow.
11. Raised Garden
Turn your backyard into a flourishing garden with raised beds. Create walkways between the boxes to make it easy to navigate the yard. Assess the amount of light that each area of your garden receives. Then arrange your plants according to the height for a thriving raised garden bed.
Have a section of vegetables, fruits, lettuces, and flowers. Use decorative bins for building your beds. Wood will make beautiful rustic beds. A simple and affordable option is water troughs. Stacked stone or bricks can create durable and strong beds that are customizable to the height that you need.
Skip the turf grass and use ornamental grass and shrubs. These small plants don’t grow very high, but they spread out well. This makes them perfect ground covers. They come in a range of colors and varieties to add visual interest and variety.
Use mulch or gravel to cover the ground between the shrubs. A manicured yard will have individual shrubs spaced out in neat lines. A more organic look will have several shrubs all gathered together. Place them near your walkways, so they slightly hang over the path edge for a country cottage feel to your yard.
Sloped property presents a unique challenge. Your first option is to embrace the slope. Use large rocks to slow down the flow of water and prevent erosion. This creates a natural look. Level out a path and cover it in gravel or smaller stones. For sloped years that don’t get a lot of sun and are high in moisture, try using moss for a soft yet lush ground cover.
Modern and refined backyards need structure. Use decking to create several platforms that gradually step down. You’ll have several levels that could be of different sizes and are perfect for creating separate usable levels.
14. Small Backyard
A small backyard is a perfect place to take advantage of more expensive ground cover options. Use a higher quality wood for building a deck. Use a variety of materials together. Wood and stone arranged together in a pattern is a beautiful and modern lawn alternative.
Consider using pavers, which are a traditionally more expensive material to use for creating a patio. If you prefer the look of natural stone, then use slate, sandstone, travertine, shell stone, or quartzite. Choose a bold color that will bring life and vibrancy to your small backyard.