There’s plenty to love about lawns. Not only are they visually appealing, but they also help to reduce glare from the sun and give children and animals a place to play. But have you considered some grass alternatives?
Still, there’s no getting away from the fact that they’re a big drain on both your time and resources. You can spend hours each month mowing the grass as well as providing it with nutrients and other crucial upkeep.
The amount of water a lawn consumes is also truly staggering: a half-inch of water for a 10-foot-by-10-foot area of grass equals about 62 gallons.
Of course, you can occasionally opt not to water your lawn, however, this can quickly cause the grass to turn brown and unsightly.
A better option is to look for a grass alternative that requires less water (and some of them require none at all). Below, we’ve listed a few of our favorite ways to reap all the benefits of a lawn while saving time and resources in the process.
1. An Artificial Lawn
Besides the obvious benefit of not requiring watering, fertilizers, or mowing, artificial turf has a few other perks that set it apart from other home landscaping options. These benefits make it an excellent grass alternative.
For example, it will never turn brown, no matter how much sunlight beats down on it or how much snow covers it during the winter. It can also stand up to a lot of aggressive foot traffic. Its ability to withstand daily abuse is the reason artificial grass is so commonly used on soccer fields and other sporting areas.
While artificial grass doesn’t have the upkeep requirements that grass and many other grass alternatives have, it still requires proper installation and occasional repairs. Contact a company that specializes in artificial grass, such as Sportech, to discuss options for this low-maintenance version of a classic lawn.
2. Rock Garden
On the surface, this one doesn’t sound that exciting: plain rocks as a grass alternative? However, there’s a bit more to a rock garden than that. The rocks are placed upon a layer of soil or stones and arranged in an aesthetically pleasing way.
Smaller rocks are interspersed with larger ones, sometimes as big as boulders, with enough space between them to allow for proper drainage when it rains. In various parts of the rock garden, plants and flowers are grown to add a pop of color and further the visual appeal.
Because they primarily make use of rocks, the maintenance requirement for rock gardens is relatively low. However, the fact that there are live plants means that a certain amount of watering and pruning is still required.
3. Succulent Garden
One of the most drought-resistant options on this list, succulents make for a great alternative to a traditional lawn because they hold on to water extremely well. A little water every week or two is all they need.
Otherwise, they’ll thrive in a great many environments, depending upon which varieties you choose. Some succulents are great for desert weather, tolerating extremely hot summers without too much struggle. Others can handle below-freezing temperatures with no problems whatsoever.
The other great benefit of succulents is that they’re so visually appealing. They come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, making them perfect for a striking, colorful, but low-maintenance alternative to grass.
There are plenty of gardening websites that can provide you with tips for designing and executing your own succulent garden.
4. A Thyme Lawn
If you want something that’s similar to traditional grass but with a greatly reduced upkeep requirement, then thyme is often a grass alternative. It brings with it a lot of the benefits of live grass—such as its cool feel underneath your feet.
But it doesn’t require anywhere near the same amount of water. It grows fairly quickly so that you can fill almost any space in a short time, and it brings with it beautifully, fragrant purple flowers.
There are several types of thyme you can opt for, including elfin thyme, wooly thyme, and red creeping thyme, and all of them are hardier than grass when it comes to their water requirements. However, thyme does have some downsides to it.
It’s not quite as able to handle foot traffic as the grass is. Too much activity on a thyme lawn will damage it. Thyme is also a good bit more expensive to install than grass is. Nevertheless, for a lightly trafficked area, it might just be the perfect option.
5. A Moss Lawn
Many homeowners have something of an aversion to moss. specifically, because it grows so fast and covers areas quickly, especially shady areas. This means that it will cover rocks and trees and displace grass in a given area.
In some cases, however, that may be exactly what you want it to do. Moss might get a bad rap, but it’s actually quite aesthetically pleasing in its own right. It’s a low-maintenance plant that thrives in shady areas and is able to withstand a reasonable amount of foot traffic.
In some cases, you can even transpose naturally growing moss—which you already know thrives in your area—to your lawn without too much extra effort. Moss is a good grass alternative.
Once again, like with thyme, it won’t do especially well in high-traffic areas, and much like traditional grass, it regularly turns brown as it goes dormant at several times throughout the year. Nevertheless, in certain specific conditions, a moss lawn may just be a perfect grass alternative.
Final Thoughts on Grass Alternatives
All of the above options are great low-maintenance grass alternatives to a more traditional grass lawn. However, some do still come with certain resource demands of their own. If you’re looking for a grass alternative that doesn’t have any needs when it comes to water and nutrition, an artificial lawn might just be right up your alley.