Lawn grass seems to have very few advantages; your family can spend lazy afternoons relaxing on the grass or kids can spend time playing here.
Maintaining a grass lawn is expensive and time-consuming, especially if you started the grass from seeds. However, there are other better and more eco-friendly alternatives to lawn grass you can consider for your backyard. Here are some options you can consider.
Why Get Rid of Your Lawn?
Before we dive into these alternatives, why would you want to get rid of your lawn? How are any of the alternatives listed here better than the grass you already have covering your lawn?
To have the perfect lawn requires regular maintenance, lots of watering, and the application of fertilizer occasionally. You will also be incurring a lot of mowing costs just to keep the lawn looking perfect.
Lawn mowers are not eco-friendly since most are powered by fuel that emits poisonous gases into the air.
The artificial fertilizers that are used to maintain the lawn are not eco-friendly. Unlike other lawn alternatives covered here, grass does not support important soil microorganisms or natural biodiversity. This is not helpful for someone seeking to attract nature and small animals in their backyard.
Let’s find out which eco-friendly alternatives you can use to enhance your lawn;
Some herbs can be great alternatives to lawn grass because they hold the ground well, promote diversity in the ecosystem, and are useful around the household.
Examples include chamomile, creeping thyme, and pennyroyal.
Chamomile is commonly used in teas because it helps with digestion issues and treats various gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea and flatulence.
Creeping thyme is used in the culinary world to add flavor to all kinds of dishes.
Pennyroyal is applied to the skin to kill germs and treat some skin diseases. It is among the ingredients that make sprays and ointments people use when they go camping to keep insects away.
You can buy a herbs mix and spread it across your lawn to achieve a beautiful blend.
Growing wildflowers instead of grass on your lawn serve two purposes; the flowers will instantly brighten your space once they start blooming and you will introduce an eco-friendly biodiversity setting where microorganisms and beneficial insects thrive together.
The choice of wildflowers to use depends on where you live. We recommend you purchase a wildflower mix from your local nursery and start them as seeds on your lawn. The rainbow of colors from different flowers when they bloom will make your lawn look more appealing.
Using moss as an alternative is perfect for people who struggle to keep moss out of their lawns. Moss can be stubborn. Instead of taking too much time and energy trying to get rid of moss, how about letting it create a beautiful, soft, magical green ‘carpet’ on your lawn?
Moss works best in damp or shaded areas. If there is a section in your backyard that contains rocks and stays damp, letting moss grow as a cover would be a great idea. Moss does not require mowing since it does not grow tall.
It also grows in poor soils, eliminating the need to apply fertilizer to keep the lawn healthy. As an excellent ground cover, moss effectively controls erosion while creating a great environment for other soil microorganisms to thrive.
Like moss, clovers require no fertilizer and are one of the easiest-to-grow lawn alternatives. The most popular clover variety ideal for lawns is the white clover variety (also known as the Dutch white clover). The idea of using clover as an eco-friendly lawn alternative is quickly gaining traction in the US.
People either use pure clovers for their lawns or mix clovers with grass. If there is little to moderate traffic on your lawn, you can consider using pure clovers as cover. Lawns with high traffic may opt for a clove-grass mix.
Clovers can grow well in poor soils, eliminating the need to use compost or fertilizer to boost the clovers. They also create amazing biodiversity that attracts beneficial insects and microorganisms.
If you are adamant about having grass on your lawn, you could opt for ornamental lawn grasses. Unlike normal lawn grasses, the ornamental ones are low maintenance since they do not require much fertilizer or compost and are not affected by as many pests and diseases as the ordinary grass lawn.
You can also create unique and wonderful designs with ornamental grasses because they come in different textures and looks.
Some of the common ornamental grasses you can consider for your lawn include the little blue stem, Pennsylvania sedge, Maryland native switchgrass, or yellow Indian grass. The Pennsylvania sedge does well in shaded sections of your lawn.
If you have a large lawn that has little or no traffic, consider planting groundcovers. Groundcovers are easy to maintain. Most of these covers are fragile, which is why they are suitable for a lawn with almost no traffic.
Ground covers are excellent in controlling erosion and creating eco-friendly biodiversity on your lawn. They are also great at controlling weeds. Most groundcovers do not grow tall hence eliminating the need for mowing. They can also work great in steep or sloping areas where lawn grass cannot thrive.
There are many different groundcovers, depending on where one lives. Avoid planting invasive groundcovers such as English Ivy, Japanese spurge, or periwinkles because they will become a nuisance, and removing them from your lawn will be problematic.
Some of the best groundcovers you can plant on your lawn include blue star junipers, ferns, wild ginger, alumroots, ageratums, creeping thymes, and Pennsylvania sedges.
What to Consider When Choosing an Eco Lawn-Alternative
Here are some factors to consider when choosing an eco-friendly lawn alternative;
- Will the alternative work as best as lawn grass? Look for something that will either improve or maintain the aesthetic value of your lawn.
- Will the alternative save money? If the alternative you seek does not allow you to save money, you better stick to your grass lawn.
- Will the alternative preserve and enhance biodiversity? Biodiversity is an important element in lawn care. You need to protect beneficial wildlife and microorganisms in the soil
- Is the alternative eco-friendly?
There are several ways of determining if a lawn is eco-friendly;
- Existence of natural plants and flowers
- Presence of bees and other pollinators
- Organic growing plants (no artificial fertilizer applied)
- No pesticides