A beautiful lawn is like a work of art. However, it can also be a pain to maintain. How many countless Saturday mornings have you wasted away tending to your lawn? Between mowing, weeding, edging, and re-seeding, lawn maintenance can seem like a full-time job. What if I told you that there was a better option? An option that still allows you to have the green lawn you’ve always dreamed of — without the hassle. Replace your lawn with a grass alternative to reduce your carbon footprint, cut down on your water bills, and allow you to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle.
Best plants to replace your lawn
There are many types of grass alternatives that don’t require the same amount of water or fertilizer as traditional lawn grasses. Almost any low-growing, hardy perennial can potentially fit the bill— here are my top six.
Creeping thyme is a low-growing herb often used as a lawn alternative. It is known for its creeping habit, which makes it ideal for covering large areas of ground. It’s tolerant of some foot traffic but won’t appreciate being trampled or stomped on.
Creeping thyme can be difficult to establish from seed, so it’s best to purchase small, 2.5-inch pots. Dot these into your yard and allow them to fill in gaps. Creeping thyme is best suited for sunny environments with well-drained soil.
For centuries, moss has been used as a groundcover in gardens, and more recently, it has become a popular alternative to traditional lawns. Moss is an eco-friendly option for landscaping that grows well in shady areas and requires minimal watering, no mowing, and almost no maintenance.
Moss can withstand light foot traffic but don’t use it in heavily trafficked areas. If you are looking for an environmentally friendly alternative to a traditional lawn and your land has ample shade, moss may be the perfect solution.
Clover is a low-growing, nitrogen-fixing legume often used as a lawn alternative. Clover requires less water and fertilizer than grass and tolerates traffic well. It’s one of the most popular lawn alternatives because of its ability to blend in with traditional lawns for most of the season.
While clover is an excellent eco-friendly lawn alternative, it is not without its drawbacks. Clover can be difficult to establish and spreads quickly in certain areas. If you decide to use clover as a lawn alternative, plant it where it can be contained.
Ensure you’re getting white clover for your lawn (not red). Red clover is a common cover crop and is also beneficial for the soil, but it’s not ideal as a lawn plant since it grows significantly taller than white clover.
Yarrow is a flowering herb that is perfect to replace your lawn. It’s known for its beautiful flowers that come in an array of colors, including white, yellow, pink, and purple. Yarrow is low-maintenance and requires very little water or fertilizer once established.
Yarrow tolerates light foot traffic but should not be trampled. If you are looking for a beautiful, eco-friendly lawn alternative, yarrow may be the perfect option for you, even if you’re just using it around the edges of your yard. Remember, you can mix and match these groundcovers depending on how much foot traffic and shade each part of your yard receives.
Sweet woodruff is a low-growing herb often used as a lawn alternative. It is known for its sweet, vanilla-like scent and ability to spread quickly. Sweet woodruff requires very little water or fertilizer once established, making it a low-maintenance option for eco-conscious homeowners.
Sweet woodruff can tolerate light foot traffic. If you are looking for a lawn alternative that is also beautiful and fragrant, sweet woodruff may be the perfect option for you. As long as you maintain runners (I recommend checking for and pulling runners every few weeks), it barely needs to be messed with and will just do its own thing.
Oregano is a hardy herb that grows well in zones 2-10 and can withstand a fair amount of foot traffic. It doesn’t need much water to thrive once established, and it smells lovely and tastes delicious.
Oregano is drought-tolerant and can tolerate partial shade, especially in zones with intense sunlight. Creeping oregano is a low-growing variety that will serve as a lawn alternative. Most herbs, including oregano, will bloom during summertime.
No matter what type of lawn alternative you choose, replacing your lawn with a low-maintenance grass alternative is a simple way to reduce your carbon footprint.
By choosing an eco-friendly lawn alternative to replace your lawn, you can create a stunning and unique landscape that is good for the environment and provides a haven for local pollinators — all without breaking your back or your bank account.