We often think of a yard as a massive expanse of turf grass. Which, when well maintained, is the epitome of the home landscape. But there are certain areas of the landscape that just don’t do well with turf (in the shade) or the location makes for difficult maintenance (on a slope for example) or maybe you are a city dweller with limited space (and time for upkeep). Reducing the size of your lawn can benefit the environment while saving you time, energy and expense.
Many lawn alternative plants are creeping perennial groundcovers that transform a lawn into an lush blanket of color and texture. If you still want that grass-like look but not the continued maintenance opt for native grasses or grass like plants. Some of the alternative options can take minimal traffic but if it is a high traffic area be sure to include a pathway to get from point a to point b.
Creeping Thyme-is a great low maintenance groundcover. It can handle light traffic and does well in full sun. Bonus it has white or pink flowers and smells lovely!
Photo by Van Zelst Inc – Creeping Thyme
Pachysandra-a tough low growing groundcover that is quick to fill in. It handles both full sun and shade. A great alternative to grass.
Photo by R. P. Marzilli & Company Landscape Contractor – Pachysandra
Ajuga/Bugleweed-don’t let the name fool you, it’s not weed but a beautiful foliage plant that comes in an array of colors and does well in shade. It puts up pretty spikes of flowers in the early spring.
Photo by Arthur Lathouris Garden Designer – Ajuga in bloom
Lamium/Dead Nettle-another great plant for a deep shady area. It’s a shade lover with silvery foliage that blooms in the summer, producing clusters of pink or white flowers.
Photo by Windsor Companies – Lamium
Sporobolus/Prairie dropseed-this native plant will give you the look of long flowing grass without the maintenance. A beautiful alternative to grass.
Liriope/Lilyturf-another great grass like option that does well in sun to light shade. It also produces a lovely spike of flowers and is semi-evergreen.