Plus, these lawn replacement ideas can reduce allergies and maintenance.
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.
Image: Diana Gault-Williams
Gorgeous Ideas for Landscaping Without GrassEdible Curb Appeal
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.
Gorgeous Ideas for Landscaping Without GrassWalk This Way
Hardy groundcovers can withstand foot traffic, and make an ideal lawn replacement. Some varieties of herbs, such as the creeping thyme shown here, add swaths of colorful blooms and release bouquets of fragrance when walked upon.
Gorgeous Ideas for Landscaping Without GrassProtect Your Turf (Grass)
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.
Gorgeous Ideas for Landscaping Without GrassThe Minimalist Theory
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.
Gorgeous Ideas for Landscaping Without GrassThe Nihilist Theory
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.
Image: Material Innovations blog
Gorgeous Ideas for Landscaping Without GrassGoing Native
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.
Gorgeous Ideas for Landscaping Without GrassSummertime, and the Livin’ is Maintenance-Free
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.
Gorgeous Ideas for Landscaping Without GrassA River (of Glass) Runs Through It
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.
Gorgeous Ideas for Landscaping Without GrassGetting Defensive
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.
Gorgeous Ideas for Landscaping Without GrassA Stroke of Genius
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.