10 Lawn Alternatives (That Won't Hurt Your Curb Appeal)
It's typical to look around your neighborhood and see grass everywhere. But it's the only option for landscaping the front patch of your home. There are a lot of reasons someone might prefer not to have grass in front of their house—you may have allergies, limited time or desire for the upkeep, or simply prefer the look of something different. Regardless of why you may want to stray from the norm, we have 10 different options for replacing an expansive lawn in your front yard.
I spent many summers watching my mom pull clover out of her lawn, but for some, it's preferred. For one, it grows quickly. It's also drought-resistant, which means it stays green even when everyone else's grass has dried out, and it doesn't need to be fertilized because it's able to convert nitrogen into fertilizer on its own. Another bonus: it's soft to walk on and sprouts little white or purple flowers! This durable plant might just be the answer to creating your own alternative lawn.
Sedge lawn substitute is a great lawn alternative: it's modern, natural, and super low maintenance. Sedge is also great for anyone looking to cut back on their water bill, as it doesn't need nearly as much water as regular grass. Sedges are grasslike perennials, and are hardy in both sun and shade. If you're interested in using sedge as a lawn alternative, there are a ton of different kinds to choose from and a lot of them are native to North America, which means they'll be easy to plant and care for. Three varieties to consider include sand dune hedge (carex pansa), clustered field sedge (carex praegracillus), and Berkeley sedge (carex tumulicola). If you want something taller, consider weeping brown sedge (carex flagellifera).
3. Rock Garden
Another popular lawn alternative is to turn your yard into a rock garden. Rock gardens are really only good as a lawn alternative if you don't plan on hanging out in that area. They're decorative, but are definitely low-maintenance once installed.
4. Creeping Perennials
These plants grow horizontally rather than vertically and can quickly cover large areas. The nice thing about creeping plants is that they can cover the ground rather quickly, and yet don't take over. The trick to using creeping plants as a lawn alternative is to choose a perennial so they come back every year. To get started, consider planting golden creeping Jenny (lysimachia nummelaria 'aurea') blue star creeper (laurentia fluviatilis), or creeping mazus (mazus reptans).
If you don't want to deal with any plants at all, you can always lay down cement instead. This is a good alternative for smaller yard spaces, and allows you the opportunity to create various lounge areas outside that will support furniture. You can still have plants, if desired, by leaving some spots for gardens or planters.
Thyme is a great alternative to a grass lawn. This lavender-colored flowering plant is not only pretty to look at, but doesn't need much watering. It spreads easily (but slowly) and doesn't take much work to care for. Although a lot of thyme is pretty tough to the touch, you should be able to find find some that can be walked on. In fact, all thyme can handle quite a bit of foot traffic. A few other things you should know: thyme has a strong scent and can actually be pretty expensive to purchase each plant.
If you're looking for a lawn alternative that's low-growing and soft to walk on, moss is a great choice. It's low-maintenance, yet rich in color and texture and therefore looks amazing! Another great reason to grow moss instead of grass: it's cheaper on water, fertilizer, and time. If you want to make it even easier on yourself, select a moss that's native to your area.
If you're interested in still having some grass, you could always mix it with wildflowers. This is definitely a very beautiful lawn alternative that can still be mowed when wanted, but really doesn't need much work. One important thing to consider when planting a wildflower lawn is to only use wildflowers that are native to your area. It would be terrible to plant any wildflowers that are considered a “noxious weed” or “invasive exotic pest plant” in your area. Do your research, and be careful!
9. Lily Turf
This flowering plant, also known as monkey grass or liriope muscari, can either be clumping or creeping, and can handle most growing conditions. This is one sturdy plant, so you can either let it grow, or even mow it down when you want it shorter. Once the lily turf lawn has established its roots, right before spring and summer, it won't even need that much watering.
10. Patio Stones
I personally live in a townhouse with a super small yard, so laying down patio stones was the best option for us. As for adding plants, we chose to add a few raised garden beds. We didn't see the point in growing grass where we wouldn't be able to easily maneuver a lawn mower. This is quickly becoming the norm for many urban families.