5 Alternatives to Grass for Your Lawn

by Leigh Morgan
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Weekends should be about relaxing and spending time with the people you love, not rushing to mow the lawn and trim the shrubs before you have to go back to work on Monday.

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That's why many homeowners are trying grass alternatives to cover their yards. If you're tired of mowing, try one of these options to keep your yard looking tidy without all the extra work.

Reasons to Use Grass Alternatives

Grass doesn't look good unless it has a healthy root system, but it can't develop a strong root system unless you mow it regularly. If you decide to skimp on lawn maintenance, you could end up with brown patches, mold and other problems. Untrimmed grass is also a haven for ticks and other insects. Using grass alternatives is a way to avoid these problems without having to spend so much time on lawn maintenance.

Grass lawns also require large amounts of water, fertilizer and pesticides. If you're looking to reduce your water usage or prevent chemicals from entering the local water supply, the lawn alternatives below can help you reduce your environmental footprint.

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What Are Some Alternatives to Grass Lawns?

1. Artificial Turf

Artificial turf is one of the best alternatives to grass lawns, as it doesn't require any watering. Because it's a man-made material, you can use it in any growing region, making it extremely versatile. Although turf looks just like natural grass, you don't have to worry about brown spots or apply any pesticides. That makes artificial turf a worry-free alternative to grass.

2. Silver Carpet

Add some sparkle to your yard with silver carpet, a perennial that grows just 1 to 3 inches high. Although it spreads slowly, silver carpet is extremely durable, making it one of the best grass alternatives, especially in warm, dry climates. Silver carpet grows well in full sun, and it requires very little water, making it one of the most environmentally friendly grass lawn alternatives. This type of ground cover also produces tiny yellow flowers, making it an attractive addition to any yard with well-drained soil.

3. Clover

When you plant clover, you get a dense ground cover that stands up to tough conditions. Clover also fixes nitrogen in the soil, reducing the amount of fertilizer required to keep your yard looking good. Unlike turf, clover doesn't look anything like natural grass, but it's beautiful in its own right. Depending on which variety you plant, you'll see purplish-red or white flowers sprout from the lush green stems. Clover grows best in areas with dry summers and mild winters.

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4. Edible Plants

Unless you live in a neighborhood with a strict homeowners association, there's no rule that says you can't cover your yard with edible plants instead of grass, a practice known as "foodscaping." If you don't have much landscaping knowledge, start with strawberries, garlic, cabbage and other easy-to-grow produce. Once you feel more confident about your gardening abilities, branch out into Corsican mint, basil, rosemary and other herbs.

An edible garden looks more untamed than a traditional grass lawn, but it's much easier to maintain. You have to apply fertilizer, but if you choose the right plants, you won't use as much water as you would with grass. Each edible plant has specific growing requirements, so check with your local university extension to find out which ones grow best in your climate zone.

5. Wildflowers

If you're looking for an eco-friendly alternative to grass, look no further than wildflowers. Although you do need to pull weeds and remove plant debris occasionally, you don't have to worry about mowing the yard every weekend. Wildflowers also attract bees, butterflies, moths and other pollinators, making them a helpful addition to your local ecosystem. Without pollinators, much of the world's food supply would disappear, so the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and other government agencies have been encouraging Americans to create pollinator-friendly gardens.

Here are some of the best wildflowers to plant in each region of the United States:

  • Northeast: Swamp milkweed, New England aster, wild bergamot, evening primrose
  • Southeast: Purple coneflower, butterfly weed, lemon mint, black-eyed Susan
  • Midwest: Prairie aster, brown-eyed Susan, prairie blazing star, purple coneflower
  • West: Rocky Mountain bee plant, blue flax, blanket flower, Mexican hat, white evening primrose

When planting wildflowers, look for native plants, as they require less water and fewer pesticides than grass lawns. Because native plants are well-adapted to local soil and climate conditions, they also require no fertilization.

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Elocal Editorial Content is for educational and entertainment purposes only. Editorial Content should not be used as a substitute for advice from a licensed professional in your state reviewing your issue. The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the eLocal Editorial Team and other third-party content providers do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of eLocal or its affiliate companies. Use of eLocal Editorial Content is subject to the

Website Terms and Conditions.

The eLocal Editorial Team operates independently of eLocal USA's marketing and sales decisions.

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