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Top 10 Lawn Alternatives to Traditional Lawns

Here are the top 10 lawn alternatives you can consider to beautify your outdoor living space. Was 2020 the year you became fed up with your lawnmower? 

While traditional lawns offer golf course-like beauty, it’s challenging to keep them looking tidy minus a grounds crew. Why not use the cold season to overhaul your landscaping? From artificial grass installation to various gardens, you have tons of options. 

We listed 10 alternatives to lawn you can start making today. 


Top 10 Lawn Alternatives

1. Food Garden

Food garden as a lawn alternative

First in our lawn alternatives is a food garden. Could you imagine what would happen to the problem of world hunger if everyone used their land for growing food instead of grass? 

While doing so might not eliminate world hunger, it would certainly provide nourishment for more people. Community gardeners could stock local homeless shelters with nutritious produce.

Given the 2020 pandemic, this lawn replacement may appeal to you because it makes you more self-sufficient. You’ll also build vital skills, such as minimizing soil degradation and making the best use of available water resources. 

2. Herbal Escape

Herbal Garden is one of the alternatives to lawn

Some herbs, like lavender and echinacea, create stunning splashes of color across your landscape. Plus, you’ll never have to run to the grocery store when you can head to your front or backyard for a fresh sprig of thyme. 

You have several design options. One is to seek spreading herbs, and the other is to include various small garden areas with interwoven paths. You can also combine the two ideas. 

3. Moon Garden

What is a moon garden? It’s one that makes extensive use of light-colored flowers that glow like tiny stars in the moonlight. 

You can choose plants ranging from lighter-colored lilacs to jasmine to datura. Include various trees, shrubs and perennials to create a multitiered look.

Plus, white looks smashing as a backdrop to any other decor — like your red and green holiday lights. 

3. Succulent Garden

Succulent Garden

Do you live in an arid climate? Take advantage of succulents to xeriscape your lawn and minimize upkeep. 

Cacti and other succulents like aloe require little water. Some varieties can survive in cooler zones — check with your local landscaping center for the best species. 

4. Creeping Beauty

Creeping groundcover presents another alternative to traditional lawn upkeep. Depending on what varieties you choose, you can cover a large area quickly. 

You can choose floral or plain green varieties depending on your preference. Creeping Jenny, Lamium and stonecrop are three frequently seen species. 

5. Artificial Grass

Artificial grass offers the benefit of being as close to maintenance-free as humanly possible. Unlike in years past, today’s varieties have a more natural look and feel, making them suitable for broader areas. 

When it comes to artificial grass installation, it pays to call a professional. Unlike turf grass, this alternative isn’t quite as rugged, and you don’t want a wayward foot to result in having to replace a patch.

Be sure to invest in the best artificial grass you can find for a realistic look.

6. Turf Grass

Unlike artificial grass, turf is more like a shallow carpet, with shorter blades and a less forgiving surface. It’s considerably tougher than the longer variety because it’s meant to take a pounding from sports shoes. 

If you have a budding young Mia Hamm in your family, turfgrass can provide a practice surface that needs minimal upkeep from you.

Alternatively, if you want to put in a putting green, this stuff is the way to go. 

7. Slow-Grow Grass

What if you don’t relish the thought of a lawn covered in plastic, regardless of how it resembles the real deal? You can still reclaim most weekends with slow-growing grass. 

Unlike traditional lawns, these seeds come from a blend of slower-growing varieties. The upshot is that you mow much less often. Unfortunately, it can take longer to fill in bald patches. 

8. Ornamental Grasses 

Ornamental grasses offer yet another alternative to the traditional lawn

What if you could let your grass grow wild and free? Ornamental grasses offer yet another alternative to the traditional lawn, and some species reach considerable heights. 

You can find ornamental grasses in various colors to match any decor. You can plant smaller annuals along pathway borders and perhaps include a living bamboo fence around your perimeter. 

See our tips on trimming different ornamental grasses depending on their categories. 

9. Wildflower Wander

Look at your lawn like the blank map of a town. Include “roadways” by mapping out walking paths. The reminder you can divide into various wildflower gardens — you’ll have a bouquet ready to pick for any occasion right in your yard.

You can unite different sections around a theme. You could plant gardens by color or make a round-the-world trip with species from other continents featured in each one. 

10. Rock Gardens

Rock Garden as a lawn alternative

The amount of maintenance you’ll need to perform with a rock garden depends on your substrate. If you use a tough enough ground cover underneath, you’ll minimize weed breakthroughs.  

Look at stones like a painter sees his palette. Blend various textures and hues. You might have a river of large white rocks running through a sea of salmon-colored stones. 

Simplify Your Life With One of These Top 10 Lawn Alternatives

If you’re tired of spending your weekends cutting grass, why not explore options like artificial turf and stone? The 10 lawn alternatives above will keep your property looking fabulous with less maintenance. 

Author Bio: 

Emily has been working on gradually going off the grid through making her own cleaning supplies, developing her garden, and decreasing her energy usage.

You can read more of her work on her blog, Conservation Folks.

About the Author Ann Katelyn

I'm Ann Katelyn, Creator and Chief Author of Sumo Gardener. Since I was a child I've always been fascinated with plants and gardens, and as an adult this has developed into my most loved hobby. I have dedicated most of my life to gardening and started Sumo Gardener as a way to express my knowledge about gardening with the hope of helping other people's gardens thrive.

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