If you're questioning whether to create a grass-free landscape, chances are that high water bills and the ongoing lawn maintenance requirements have become cumbersome. Perhaps you live in an area where grassless yards are common due to climate conditions. or maybe water conservation is a high priority in your values system. Whatever the reason, weigh the savings, alternative designs and the materials available in your region when you consider the benefits and drawbacks of non-traditional landscaping.
Evaluate how your family's lifestyle will be impacted by an entirely grass-free property. If you have children who play outdoors or pets, you may want to designate a small segment of your land for a lawn rather than going completely grass-free.
List the expenses of caring for a landscape with a lawn. Include the cost of initial soil preparation and installation, maintenance equipment, such as a lawnmower and edger, water bills and ongoing fertilization. Compare the expense list to your overall household maintenance budget.
Examine the options for hardscaping materials to take the place of grass. A wood deck, a series of concrete or flagstone patios, a rock garden and terraced perennial flower beds set in graceful patterns provide a visually attractive alternative to a grass lawn.
Analyze the type of plants that can be incorporated into a grassless landscape to create a comfortable environment and add touches of green foliage to the design. Drought-tolerant ground cover plants and low-growing, spreading shrubs may be planted as a low-maintenance replacement for grass in many areas of the landscape.
Educate yourself about the type of mulches available in your region to cover the ground for both ornamental and functional purposes. Wood chips, sand and recycled rubber mulches may extend a play area for children. Colorful volcanic rock, bark nuggets and a layer of pine needles are useful substitutes for grass that also add texture and dimension to the landscape.
- Clemson Cooperative Extension: "Creating an Environmentally Responsible Landscape"; Gary Forrester, et al.; May 2006
- Colorado State University Extension: "Xeriscaping -- Retrofit Your Yard"; J.F. Feucht, et al.; May 2006
- Sunset Magazine: Lose the Lawn -- 21 Inspiring Yards
- Clemson Cooperative Extension: "Mulch"; Marjan Kluepfel, et al.; April 1999
- Photo Credit aopsan/iStock/Getty Images
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