You do not have to have grass to have a nice yard. And it does not even have to be a rock garden either, although that is a pretty awesome idea. You can use groundcover perennials, artificial grass like turf, or how about some wildflowers or moss? They even have real grass that you do not have to mow. Let’s look at all of these plus some other alternatives greater than grass.
Rock Gardens Can Be Awesome
Don’t knock it until you try it. Although it may be a rough start getting all those rocks and boulders into your yard, once you do it you never really have to do anything to your yard again. Get a professional to dump a bunch of gravel along with some large rocks and you can just put them how you want them. Add a few big boulders and maybe a couple of low-watering perennials for a nice touch.
Groundcover All Over
You can plant any kind of hardy groundcover to replace your grass and you won’t ever have to mow again. Make sure the one you choose is a good creeper that will take over the whole yard and come back every year. Some of the best choices include thyme, sweet woodruff, clover, Corsican mint, vinca or periwinkle, and ajuga.
Artificial Grass: Not as Bad as You Think
When you think of artificial grass, you probably think of that hard plastic stuff that feels horrible to walk on and looks totally fake. But turf has come a long way in the past decade. The artificial grass they have now looks so real you may find yourself wanting to water it or mow it. But you don’t have to do either. Just enjoy it.
Low- or No-Mow Grass Mix
If you really do not want the artificial grass or do not want to spend a bunch of money, try one of the low-mow or no-mow grass mixes. Most of them are a blend of different fescues. The most popular one is the mix of sheep fescue, tall fescue, and red fescue. It barely needs any water and only grows to a few inches high.
We were lucky when we bought this house. We already had a wildflower garden growing. In fact, that was one of the things that made us choose this place. In our yard, you can find yellow coreopsis, bee balm, black-eyed Susan, blue lobelia, butterfly weed, ragwort, coneflowers, daisies, and dozens more. For a few years, we let them take over most of the yard but then my hubby cut it back for some reason. I was not happy so he probably will not do that again.
Most ornamental grasses are incredibly hardy. In fact, they are almost impossible to kill. I know this because the lot we just bought next to our home is full of it and it comes back strong as ever after we cut it down. Every year. And it can get to about five feet tall. Some of the best ones in my opinion include:
- Bamboo grows good in zones 4 – 11
- Black mondo grass grows in zones 6 – 9
- Blue oat grass grows well in zones 4 – 8
- Japanese blood grass is good for zones 5 – 9
- Japanese forest grass for zones 5 – 9
- Mexican feather grass grow in zones 6 – 10
- New Zealand flax grows in zones 8 – 10
- Pink muhly grass is great for zones 5 – 9
- Purple fountain grass only grows in zones 9 – 10
- Zebra grass grows well in zones 5 – 9
How About Some Moss?
If you have a shady lawn, try growing some moss. The stuff is almost indestructible and never needs any watering, food, or weeding. You do not have to mow it either. Ever. And it is cheap. Some varieties even change colors through the seasons.
Shrubs and Flowers
Add more than just green to your yard with some shrubs and flowers. As long as you choose good hardy perennials that are suited to your zone, you can have color most of the year. Some of the best in my opinion include:
- Butterfly bush does good in zones 5 – 9
- Camellia grows in zones 7 – 10
- Cinquefoil grows good in zones 2 – 7
- Forsythia do well in zones 3 – 8
- Hydrangeas are great for zones 3 – 9
- Lilac bushes grow in zones 3 – 7
- Rhododendrons are good in zones 5 – 9
- Rose bushes grow well in zones 5 – 9
- Rose of Sharon is great for zones 5 – 9
- Spirea grows well in zones 4 – 8
Regardless of what you choose to do, you can always change your mind and do something else if it does not make you happy. Just do the rock garden last because it is the most work to get rid of. And send us some photos. We would love to see them.