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Lawn Replacements and Tips for Landscaping Without Grass

Tired of the same old, same old? The endless cutting and edging, the bare spots, the crabgrass and dandelions that get stronger with every application of weed control? No worries — we’ve got your back. And your front yard, too. Try these imaginative landscaping without grass solutions and you’ll have it made in the shade, once and for all.

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Allergy Sufferers, Start Your Shovels!

If pollen season wreaks havoc on your sinuses and you mow your lawn in a hazmat suit, take heart. Replacing a lawn gives allergy sufferers the opportunity to replant with allergy-free flora, such as purple sage, spurge, day lilies, heavenly bamboo, and mint.

Credit: Chris Knight

Image: Chris Knight
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  • If pollen season wreaks havoc on your sinuses and you mow your lawn in a hazmat suit, take heart. Replacing a lawn gives allergy sufferers the opportunity to replant with allergy-free flora, such as purple sage, spurge, day lilies, heavenly bamboo, and mint.

    Credit: Chris Knight

  • It might not be exactly low-maintenance, but a yard featuring edible plants is tasty—and saves money on grocery bills. This well-tended front yard includes pole beans, cabbage, tomatoes, raspberries, and plenty of herbs.

    Credit: Edible Estates by Fritz Haeg/Photo by Leslie Furlong

  • Hardy groundcovers can withstand foot traffic, and make ideal lawn replacements. Some varieties of herbs, such as the creeping thyme shown here, add swaths of colorful blooms and release bouquets of fragrance when walked upon.


  • A good replacement for thirsty lawns, native drought-tolerant turf grasses require less water and mowing, saving time and money. A big environmental plus: There’s no need for fertilizers or pesticides. Ask at your local nursery which native grasses will make good lawn alternatives in your region. The variety shown here — UC verde buffalo grass — is specially adapted for California’s dry summer climate and uses about one-fourth the water of regular lawn grasses.


    Credit: Takao Nursery

  • Cut back on lawn maintenance big time by doing away with regular grasses altogether. This combo of extensive patios made of colored concrete and drought-tolerant plants requires little upkeep and makes an inviting backyard retreat.

    Credit: Jeffrey Gordon Smith Landscape Architecture

  • Talk about weed control! We can’t help but applaud this home owner’s decision to banish crabgrass and dandelions forever by replacing his front lawn with a layer of green-colored concrete. If it was done out of frustration, we’ve been there. Now all it needs is a basketball hoop.

    Credit: Material Innovations blog

  • Indigenous plants — those that grow naturally in your area — are best bets for lawn replacements. Already adapted to the local climate, they’ll need little watering and upkeep. These barrel cacti are ideal for a yard in Arizona. Those big spines add a measure of security.

    Credit: Greg Corman/Gardening Insights, Inc.

  • Especially when you replace your lawn with foot-friendly pea gravel. Hold all your neighborhood kid parties here, where spilled sodas and ice cream simply disappear. Plan to spend $4-$6/sq. ft. for an installed gravel patio.

    Credit: Emily Kelley

  • If regular lawn replacements just won’t do, then perhaps a meandering river of glass gets your creative juices flowing. Tumbled glass is completely safe and comes in a variety of colors. It’s 100% recycled, too. Enough tumbled glass to create a 3-foot-by-10-foot river 3 inches deep costs $1,000-$1,500.

    Credit: CM+LA & Associates

  • Have those pesky neighborhood teenagers been jumping the curb to drive on your lawn? Nevermore! Blocks of granite say “Keep Off the, Um, Grass.” Bed your rocks in good, composted soil and you’ll be able to grown sturdy ground covers that grow up to soften the look.

    Credit: Wayan Vota/Flickr

  • Low-maintenance is fine, but how about combining no-maintenance with leisure? Synthetic grasses made of nylon and polypropylene never need cutting and are impervious to insects. An average 300 sq. ft. putting green costs $3,000 to $5,000, installed.


  • If you like these, you may want to take a spin through HouseLogic’s library of slideshows.


  • Allergy Sufferers, Start Your Shovels!
  • Edible Curb Appeal
  • Walk This Way
  • Protect Your Turf (Grass)
  • The Minimalist Theory
  • The Nihilist Theory
  • Going Native
  • Summertime, and the Livin’ is Maintenance-Free
  • A River (of Glass) Runs Through It
  • Getting Defensive
  • A Stroke of Genius
  • Like our slideshows?
  • allergy-sufferers-start-your-shovels
  • edible-curb-appeal
  • walk-this-way
  • protect-your-turf-grass
  • the-minimalist-theory
  • the-nihilist-theory
  • going-native
  • summertime-and-the-livin-is-maintenance-free
  • a-river-of-glass-runs-through-it
  • getting-defensive
  • a-stroke-of-genius
  • more-slideshows
Allergy-free flora lawn Edible front lawn Thyme used as lawn substitute Buffalo grass in the front yard of a house Patio as a replacement for a lawn Green concrete lawn Lawn planted with native cactus plant Foot-friendly pea gravel in yard Glass used in lawn design Rocky alternative to a grass lawn Synthetic putting green in lawn