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What are Some Lawn Alternatives?

Lawn mowing can be a thing of the past for those who install meadows with herbs and wildflowers.
Meadows are a low-maintenance lawn alternative.
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  • Written By: N. Phipps
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 23 September 2014
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Whether it’s a maintenance issue, water conservation, or another reason, many lawn alternatives can be used in place of traditional lawn grass. Most of these lawn alternatives are not only low-maintenance but cost less than a lawn as well. Nearly any type of lawn can easily be replaced by alternative means, from various types of plants to mulch and hardscape features. Depending on the needs and preferences of the homeowner, there is something for everyone.

Low-growing, drought resistant plants are the most common alternative to traditional lawn grass. These lawn alternatives typically take the form of groundcovers. Groundcover plants not only provide thick coverage and attractive foliage but can also cut out mowing tasks. There are many types to choose from, suiting nearly any landscape need. There are drought-tolerant groundcovers, shade-loving varieties, nitrogen-fixing types, fragrant ones and more.

Ornamental grasses make suitable lawn alternatives as well. Like groundcovers, there are many types of ornamental grasses to choose from. Native varieties offer the best options, as they are well adapted to their surroundings. Ornamental grass provides a low-maintenance solution to traditional grass lawns. Once established, they require little care, including watering and mowing. In fact, depending on the variety, ornamental grasses can be left alone for a natural prairie-like appeal.

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In addition to implementing a prairie in the landscape, meadows filled with an assortment of wildflowers and herbs can make interesting lawn alternatives. Meadows can actually provide a low-cost, low-maintenance alternative, wiping out mowing completely, with exception to one time in fall. Alternatively, homeowners can create flower beds throughout the landscape, eliminating excess lawn and cutting mowing chores in half. Again, native varieties will provide better results, as they are more easily adapted to the conditions within a given area, which also cuts down on watering.

In addition to plants, inorganic mulch can make suitable lawn alternatives for traditional grass. This type of mulch includes materials that will not break down into the soil, lasting many years. Examples here are stones, gravels, and pebbles. It could also include recycled materials such as shredded tires or tumbled glass. Inorganic mulch comes in a multitude of colors and textures to fit nearly any style or budget.

When all else fails, hardscape features can be incorporated into the lawn areas. Hardscape features include decks, patios, walkways, and similar construction. Hardscapes can definitely become welcome lawn alternatives, as they eliminate extensive areas of the yard. There are numerous choices for lawn replacements. It’s always a good idea to weigh all these options beforehand to find the best lawn alternative for the landscape.

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