Awesome Alternatives to Conventional Lawns

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There is nothing quite like the perfect picture lush green lawn, right? Unfortunately, no matter how lovely lawns are, they are not particularly eco-friendly. The good news is, there are many super cool, attractive alternatives that are totally earth-friendly.

Facts about conventional lawns

Here are some figures from Wildones Natural Landscapers, Ltd. that may have you thinking twice about your traditional lawn.

  • 67,000 pounds of synthetic pesticides are used on U.S. lawns each year.
  • $25,000,000,000 is spent on the lawn care industry yearly.
  • $580,000 gallons of gasoline are used in lawnmowers each year.
  • $5,250,000,000 is spent on fossil fuel-derived fertilizer annually on U.S. lawns.

Low maintenance lawn alternatives

Not only does replacing your existing turf grass with an eco-friendly alternative help the earth, but it also reduces the time you have to spend. If you have a large lawn full of grass, you will want to start replacing just a section at a time. Start off with a 10 percent reduction in the first year, and by the time you are in year five, aim for a 50% reduction in turf. Start on the outside of your lawn and work your way inside. The best way to kill off your grass is by using a few layers of newspaper covered up with about an inch of compost and an inch of mulch.

Here are some of the best low maintenance lawn alternatives

  • Ornamental grasses – No mowing needed for this type of grass. You can choose from a wide variety of decorative grass types depending on your growing zone and preferences. Ornamental grasses do not tolerate foot traffic well, so be sure to plant them in areas for visual appeal only.


  • Moss – Moss could be one of the easiest non-turf lawns to plant and maintain. Most moss remains very close to the ground, not growing more than 1 inch in height, making it an excellent grass look-a-like. While moss is not as hardy as common grass, it can withstand some foot traffic. There are dozens of different kinds of moss to choose from that can be easily planted and will spread quickly to form a blanket. As a bonus, moss requires very little water to look great. Just be sure to keep moss in the shade – it doesn’t really like sun.



  • Creeping Charlie –  Yes, Creeping Charlie is a weed that many people try to pull out as it spreads, but this member of the mint family is a great option for a low maintenance, thick ground cover for semi-shady places. Creeping Charlie can take a beating and keep on looking awesome. This is a perfect alternative for people with pets and kids.



  • Sweet Woodruff – This edible herb tastes a bit like vanilla and was once used as an air freshener. This herb is very low maintenance and has beautiful star-shaped twists of leaves and delicate white flowers that add an exciting look and texture to a sustainable landscape. Sweet Woodruff reaches a height of about 2 inches, rarely needs watering, and is best suited for areas that do not receive direct sunlight.



  • Red Creeping Thyme –  This beautiful creeping herb can transform any lawn area into a sea of beauty – especially in the summer when bright reddish colored blooms burst forth. During the winter months, Creeping Thyme turns a deep bronze color. Thyme creates a dense mat that can withstand moderate foot traffic and requires little maintenance once planted.



  • Clover –   A clover lawn is an affordable alternative to conventional turf and also acts as a natural soil fertilizer. Clover contains nitrogen-fixing properties that provide a constant drip of fertilizer. Clover does best when planted in poor soil and spreads quickly with little water.


Are you ready to start replacing some of your turf with beautiful, earth-friendly options?

-Susan Patterson

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