Yards come in many different shapes and sizes, from formal yards to rough grassland in an orchard. The yard can function as somewhere to relax, a foil for your plants, or a play area for the children.
Grass is the common choice for lawns. This is because it is hard-wearing and attractive all year round.
Some disadvantages are such as:
- The grass gets cut on the regular. Healthy lawns need sound root systems. This can get developed through regular mowing at the proper height and frequency. Un-mown grass is an invitation for ticks and other disease-carrying insects. If you do it yourself, mowing will be tedious and time-wasting. The cost and maintenance of a lawnmower are also high.
- Despite the safety improvements, lawnmowers still pose certain dangers if mishandled. They are dirty and noisy. Some new battery-powered models are quiet and do not pollute the neighborhood level.
- A grass lawn needs to feed on the regular to be healthy. Grass plants have a large appetite to stay in top shape. Without fertilizers that have special micro-nutrients, lawns lose their vitality. They also decrease their ability to withstand diseases and insect damage.
- Do-it-yourself homeowners are more likely to apply too much product. Resulting in excess run-off even under the right conditions.
- Pesticides are the most significant disadvantage to owning a premium grass lawn. Pesticides can be harmful to all concerned. Extreme care must get taken when handling them. Pesticides are best used in small doses, only as needed. Putting down a weed-killer across the entire lawn when only a few weeds live outback is not good. Spot treating weeds get preferred. If you do not mind an occasional dandelion, forget weed controls altogether. Yard owners must yearly control Crabgrass and other invasive weeds. Before they become a significant problem that is expensive and time-consuming to correct.
Insects are a critical link in our ecosystem. Most pose no threat to our lawns, yet some homeowners want to kill off everything in or out of sight to get rid of the bugs. Likewise, pesticides can be harmful. They should not get taken to by homeowners.
Because they can buy the stuff at the local hardware store.
If not used and stored safely, pesticides can harm you, your children, and pets (even dangerous). Professional lawn care applicators must get licensed by the state to apply pesticides.
They must have an excellent working knowledge of these chemicals. Including all the precautions associated with them, and getting licensed by the state.
- The rate of application is also essential. Unfortunately, homeowners usually over-use pesticides, and the results can be devastating.
- Some lawns may need supplemental watering throughout the year. This gets significantly controlled by planting the correct type of grass. Thus, growing grass in locations that need to get watered daily is not a good idea.
Alternatives to Grass for your Backyard
For some, saving money is a crucial concern. Grass alternatives requiring little water, pesticide, fertilizers, or gas-powered equipment, are greatly saved. All this while still having a beautiful yard.
Mowing, watering, feeding, weeding, edging, and aerating a natural lawn consumes time. And the cost of hiring landscape professionals to care for their yard is not as desirable.
Other homeowners look into grass alternatives to lower their impact on the environment. Conventional lawns need more than their fair share of water and standard lawn care. chemical-laden herbicides and pesticides are harmful to the environment. They are also linked to various health issues.
There are many considerations before choosing grass alternatives, and they are as follows:
- Determining how you want to use your yard.
- Is your front yard only for looks, or do you want it to serve an extra purpose?
- Do you want your backyard to be a place where your children or pets can play?
- Do you plan on entertaining guests often?
- Do you enjoy grilling and cooking outdoors enough to invest in an outdoor kitchen?
- Are there particular features you would like to include? Such as a vegetable garden, children’s playground, dog run, or putting green?
- The Cost of Grass Alternatives
Once you have decided how you want to use your yard, the next step is considering your budget. The general cost of the grass alternative could be a significant consideration for many. When searching for cheap alternatives, we want something that will cost less over a while too.
- Lawn Replacement Maintenance Requirements.
The amount of maintenance is significant to consider. It determines maintenance costs over time. More, the amount of work you would need to do. It is something you should think about so you can relax in the future!
- Lawn Size
The size of your lawn is an important part to consider. With more land comes more work and usually more costs.
Depending on where you live or the climate zone, you might get limited to some of these options. For example, some plants and groundcovers might not grow in certain areas. Another example is that if you live in a place that gets snow, artificial turf might be a poor decision.
- Soil Type
The soil type is essential when considering many growing options. These are such as ground covers or native plants. Just because the plants are native does not make them grow anyhow! Soil health and quality will help determine whether you can grow certain plants or trees.
After the considerations, then the decision on what is most suitable for the yard owner can get made. The following options can help:
- Artificial Grass
Artificial grass is one of the most popular alternatives.
This grass gets made using synthetic fibers. They look very similar in appearance to natural grass. They do not need watering, so there is no need to worry about doing this in the morning and the evening. They also need no mowing, fertilizer, or pesticide to keep them safe from pests or weeds growing. While artificial grass can be a little expensive to buy, the maintenance cost is little.
It is an ideal option for anyone who wants the look and feel of a natural grass lawn.
- Dry Landscaping
Dry landscaping is a Japanese style of gardening whereby rocks or sand gets used to cover the yard. The kind you choose depends on the size of the stones, types of rocks or sand, colors of the stones, .yardand used. Also on the number of plants, you are willing to include.
When creating dry landscaping, rocks get preferred over sand. This is since they are less likely to get disturbed by rain or winds.
Gravel is an intelligent alternative to grass. Especially for areas where there is frequent drought and heat.
There are different types of gravel for you to choose from. examples are pea gravel, crushed rock, decomposed granite, path fines, and drain rock. The choice all depends on the purpose.
Pea gravel is the most popular type used for pathways, patios, and ground covers. These stones are round and roughly pea-sized.
Crushed rock gets used to produce rounded edges. The yard owner must create a good soil foundation to install the gravel in a pathway or seating area. Whereas a weed blocker made of fabric must get applied when the stone gets laid on the soil of a flowerbed.
- Ground-Covering Plants And Trees
Planting trees in your yard can be a straightforward and quick alternative to grass. But this would not be a complete solution. Grass would be able to grow beneath the trees where there is shade. But would not thrive. Trees and installing an attractive ground cover would make your garden look nice.
The cover plants must be plants that do not need much sunlight and moisture. Not like regular plants. You must select the cover plants according to which tree those plants will grow beneath. Some trees leave no sunlight underneath the branches. Also, those that have smaller branches let sunlight reach the ground.
Mulch landscaping includes adding decaying leaves, bark, or compost instead of grass. Mulch takes only a little effort and maintenance and is more accessible than that a grass lawn.
In addition, you can use landscape fabric under the mulch as a barrier to reduce the number of weeds that will grow. One of the benefits of this type of landscaping is that it helps maintain your soil in top condition.
The Mulch idea is affordable and deficient maintenance if done correctly. Besides, installing a fabric barrier makes this option much easier to maintain since grass or weeds will not show through the mulch.
- Rubber Mulch
Rubber mulch made from recycled tires is available in various colors and is an easy lawn alternative that can last many years with minimal maintenance. Shredded rubber mulch looks like organic mulch and functions similarly to limit weed growth and control erosion as a colorful ground cover.
Ideal for dark corners under trees where even shade-tolerant types of grass struggle to grow well, bark feels more at home, although simple water-worn gravels work too.
Choose natural stripped pine bark or similar and, for color and texture, add plants in areas not used for seating.
Easy-care woodlanders such as wood spurge (Euphorbia amygdaloides var. robbiae), Siberian bugloss (Brunnera), white wood aster (Aster divaricatus), dusky cranesbill (Geranium phaeum), and lungwort (Pulmonaria) are challenging and need no maintenance once established.
With a bark, you can simply spread an 8-10cm layer over the soil, but it will need topping up every other year. Alternatively, use landscape fabric to keep weeds down, make slits with a Stanley knife, and plant through.
- Succulent Garden
The basic principle of this low-water landscaping is to use drought-tolerant native plants and succulents to create a low-maintenance, low-water alternative to natural grass lawns and other water-wasting landscaping options.
Clover is an excellent choice for people who want the look of a natural grass lawn, don’t mind a bit of mowing, and are not concerned about a lot of traffic.
This pretty ground cover requires little water and stays green all summer without the need for chemical fertilizers. It is an inexpensive option that looks great and can stand up to some traffic.
- Low-Growing Shrubs
Low-growing shrubs, such as dwarf myrtle, can be drought-tolerant lawn alternatives that can be left to grow wild or trimmed for a ground cover of about one foot in height.
Dwarf myrtle does fine in full sun and requires little water once established. It will also crowd, an excellent weed once it fills in and has tiny, white blooms beginning in spring and lasting through summer.
In addition, low-growing shrubs are suitable for erosion control, so they can also be used as a lawn alternative on a slope.
- Ornamental Grasses
Drought-tolerant ornamental grasses are a good choice for folks who would give up on the grass.
For the sake of the environment, save money, and save time on yard-care tasks but who are not quite ready to give up grass completely.
These attractive lawn alternatives need no mowing and little water once established, plus the clumping varieties will only grow where you plant them, so you do not have to worry about invasive spreading.
The biggest downside is that most ornamental grasses are only for looks. This lawn alternative will not work in areas where you want to use your lawn. Instead, check out mondo grass for low-growing varieties.
This is shorter grass. It will look a bit more like a conventional lawn but without the regular mowing requirements.
Sedges need little to no mowing and thrive in various soils, and withstand foot traffic. They need regular irrigation. For higher-traffic areas, California meadow sedge is an excellent choice. This variety can grow well in the clay soils and the sandier grounds near the coastal regions.
Several varieties of yarrow can get used as a dense, traffic-tolerant lawn alternative.
Dwarf yarrows are the best choice since they look and act like a traditional lawn. Flowering varieties are also a popular choice since they add more color to your yard.
While yarrow is not drought tolerant, it only requires half of the water needed by natural grass. This makes it a water-saving lawn replacement. To create a yard that can withstand a lot of traffic, mow your yarrow on the regular for a denser ground cover.