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Grass-Free Yard Options

I have to admit that I love lush, green, traditional grass lawns. For me, they conjure up wonderful childhood memories. For others, they’re a calming reminder of a leisurely day on the golf course. That being said, the grass in my backyard has never come close to looking like a golf course. There are always dandelions, patches of dead grass, and yellow spots. I’m convinced that the only way to achieve a beautiful grass lawn is by using toxic weed killers and inorganic fertilizers—something I REFUSE to do. And then there’s the amount of watering required, which, in my drought-prone area, makes me wasteful. Here are a few alternative options to a typical grass lawn.

Native Plantings

It has become increasingly popular to replace grass lawns with native, drought-resistant plants and/or edible gardens. It creates a beautiful, varied landscape that is far from a boring grass lawn. Small “hard-scaped” areas (using pavers, concrete, etc.) can easily be integrated into this type of landscaping to create a seating or play area.

Green Ground Cover

It is possible to get a sea of green without the grass by using a ground cover like moss or clover. Moss is low-growing, great for shady areas, and has a lush appearance. Clover can actually be mowed to create a “lawn.” Clover is low maintenance, drought tolerant, doesn’t get yellow dog spots, and is insect resistant. In fact, it attracts beneficial insects, great for your vegetable garden! If you’re like me and want a soft spot for your kids and pets to play, without all the upkeep of grass, then clover may be the best option for you.

Artificial Grass

I know, I know! Fake grass?! I have never been a fan of any type of artificial plants. In fact, a few years ago I considered fake grass one step above paving over your yard and painting it green. But the ecological benefits to using artificial grass have begun to change my opinion. First of all, it is made of recycled plastic and uses recycled tire “crumbs” to hold it in place. It requires zero water, fertilizer, or weed killer to keep it green. And the zero-maintenance lawn it provides is not just a matter of convenience—think of the carbon load that is eliminated without the need to cut it with a gas lawnmower. Aesthetically, artificial grass has come a long way. It really does look good—it has its place. However, it is still synthetic, and I personally think it’s best for small areas and places where growing is very difficult. How do you feel about fake grass?

Are you considering replacing your traditional grass lawn?

Photo Sources: “Clover and Little White Flowers” by roens, “Fake grass – love it! Low Maint, always looks good!” by Nick Bastian Tempe, AZ


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