Make a lawn-free yard work for you

24 April, 2014

Lawn-free yard? The idea might seem strange to you if you are used to mowing your grass and tending to it every spring and summer. But a new trend in backyard renovations is taking root, and it involves doing away with the traditional yard and replacing greenery with gravel, stone and native plants that can combat water runoff and be fire-resistant. Here are some ideas to inspire your outdoor renovation project:

Alternate ground coverings
You have many different choices when it comes to making the move away from grass. Depending on your landscape and where you live, certain materials may be better than others because they resist heat or absorb rainwater. Some alternative options to grass include gravel, mulch, patio stones and permeable paving. All of these are attractive choices and can blend seamlessly into your backyard design, no matter what your theme may be. Materials like pervious concrete, porous asphalt, paving stones or concrete or plastic-based pavers allow stormwater to percolate and absorb into surface areas, versus running off and flooding parts of your yard.

Allow an existing tree to be your focal point
If mature trees have made their home in your backyard, they can instantly become fantastic focal points! Cover your yard with whatever material speaks to you, and then group your outdoor dining set, chairs and tables around it for an outdoor meeting place that's cool in the shade. 

Space between stepping stones
You don't have to choose grass if you want to add some green between paving stones.You can quickly create a space reminiscent of a secret garden. Try using ground cover like clover or artificial turf which feels great on bare feet, stays green and beautifully frames stepping stones out back.

Native plants are a beautiful option
A larger yard needs at least a touch of green, so rather than spreading gravel out everywhere, you can opt for native plants and creeping vines that usually require little-to-no maintenance. Because this plant life is used to your region, you can just let it run wild (within reason!) to create a natural space for you and your family to enjoy.

Tall grasses create living borders
Try including some tall grasses in your outdoor design. They can follow the line of your pathways out back, or be planted along your patio or deck for a bit of green without the upkeep. Tall grasses are resilient and can handle most of what the weather throws at them. Pair grasses with paving stones and low ground cover and you'll have a space that only looks high maintenance.

Amaze your guests with a maze
Your backyard is a place to have fun with your family and guests, so try replacing the lawn with a maze! You can use permeable paving as ground cover, and then line up larger stones in a maze pattern for your friends and family to follow in circles. Or, use tall grasses planted in a maze pattern that will delight your guests.