Homeowners now have more options as far as landscaping is concerned. With different alternative landscaping ideas available, any yard can be transformed into a living space. Any yard can be turned into a usable and more beautiful space for the family.
Alternative Landscaping Ideas
Whether you are concerned about the high costs and maintenance of grass lawn or you have a small yard, you might want to read the following alternative landscaping ideas. These would give you inputs on how to make the most out of your garden space in your property:
- Circular patios—if you have a limited space in the front yard, a circular or rounded patio is highly recommended. It can also serve as a gathering place, especially when you put enough seats or a firepit, or an outdoor dining set.
- Inifinity pools– also known as negative edge pools, this one is a luxurious addition to any yard. It creates a beautiful effect for a swimming pool and adds water elements to a landscaping. It’s also easier to maintain than standard pools due to the presence of a filtration system, reducing the need to clean out the pool.
- Built-in fireplace/pit—this is something very useful during the summer, as you and your guests can gather around a fire. It can also be the centerpiece of your patio; a fun and visually interesting part to say the least.
- Mixed plantings—not all alternative landscaping ideas are costly like the three ideas mentioned earlier. Try mixing your plants by adding vegetables, herbs, and fruit bushes to your flowers. This way you can conserve space and add variety to your garden. Try to plant pumpkins, squashes, and watermelons.
- Used items for planting spaces.
Items like toilets and bathtubs can be used as cool planting places. They can make a good garden accent that will draw smiles from onlookers. You can use them for growing culinary herbs and vegetables. Other items that can serve a similar purpose are buckets ceramic bowls, toolboxes, and old pots.
Alternative Landscaping Designs
There are also different landscaping designs and trends that are proving to be very popular among many homeowners.
One landscaping trend that is becoming a buzzword is naturescaping. It involves the use of simple techniques that allow a garden to thrive sans the use of synthetic materials, and in a way mimics nature. It’s very popular among do-it-yourselfers as it saves time and money, aside from making the yard safe and healthy for humans and pets alike.
There’s also a boost in the popularity of fire pits. But aside from being used as a source of heat during those chilly evenings, a fire pit is now being seen as more of an accent in the workplace. Fire pits are also being customized, available in round, rectangular, and even portable designs.
More people are also making their outdoor space an extension of their home interiors. The reason is more on the practical side, as homeowners want to have outdoor kitchens and living spaces to accommodate different functions outside of their house.
The dining table is not just the option any more for those with patios. Instead, furniture that allows for chat groups like deep seating with cushions are being added to patios. Thus, patios are no longer just seen as a place to eat with guests, but also for relaxing.
Lastly, there’s a noticeable increase in ‘working themes’ in landscape designs. For example, Zen-themed landscape is ideal and popular among people who like to retreat to their backyard or front yard for relaxation. It’s suited for people who are into yoga as well.
Alternative Landscaping without Grass
Unlike in the 20th century when well-manicured grass lawns were a fixture in many American homes, more homeowners now prefer to have lawns without grass. This is due to the increased awareness on the disadvantages of grass lawns. One is the amount of water and gasoline needed to irrigate and mow lawns. Another concern is the amount of fertilizers needed in maintaining grass lawns. And mowing lawns not only takes up a lot of time, but is also very laborious.
Thus we are now seeing alternative landscaping without grass. There are plenty of landscaping options for people who don’t like to mow or are simply concerned about the environment impact of grass lawns.
There’s moss, which best suits in areas with moist and acidic soil. Moss is usually used as a groundcover in Japanese gardens, and it is preferred for many reasons. One is that it is low maintenance, unlike grass lawn. Once established, it needs no fertilizer and very little water unless it is in dry weather.
Its texture is also a great foil for nearby flowering plants and evergreens. Many moss lovers also say that the green color of moss is a lot better than grass in promoting relaxation and reducing stress.
However it does have its disadvantages. One is that it will turn brown in warm and dry weather, so it should be watered periodically. Fallen twigs and leaves can also discourage the growth of moss patches. To prevent this, there’s a need for gentle raking. Lastly it doesn’t handle foot traffic quite as good as grass.
Clover is another good alternative to grass as a groundcover. Like moss, it doesn’t need fertilizer. It thrives in the sun to partial shade, and can grow in a wide range of soils. Compared to moss, it is more forgiving of foot traffic. It is well adapted to grass areas in the United States. However, it is not ideal for homes with small children and animals because it wilts under constant running and playing.
Mondo grass is another evergreen ground cover that is a good alternative to grass lawn. It can grow up to six inches tall, although the dwarf mondo grass can grow to just two inches. What makes it better than clover and moss is that it can handle foot traffic very well. Although it is native to Asia, mondo grass thrives in a good number of regions in the United States.
Lilyturf is also a great choice if you are sick and tired of mowing grass lawns. Called liriope, it has dark green leaves. Its leavers are a bit wider compared to mondo grass. It can grow to a maximum height of 1 ½ feet. When it comes to soil conditions, lilyturf isn’t picky as long as it is exposed to sun all the time. It can also handle light foot traffic.
Dwarf myrtle is native to Australia. It likes full sun and once established, is drought tolerant. It can be sheared to a height of 1 foot. When left to grow on its own, it can reach up to 2 feet. You would also love its tiny white flowers that often appear in spring, and continues well into the summer season.
Finally, there are prairie meadows consisting of wildflowers, low-growing flowering perennials and native grasses. Prairie meadows love a good amount of sunshine, although some will accept some shade.
As you now realize, grass isn’t the only green groundcover out there. You have plenty of plant options for your lawn.
Alternative Landscaping Material
Plants aren’t the only groundcover option you have. You can also have gravel and other small rocks which come in numerous forms and colors. Alternative landscaping materials can solve drainage issues, add textural appeal, and can handle foot traffic very well.
You can opt for decomposed granite, a granitic rock that comes in reddish tan color. It is ideal for rustic patios and pathways. Others use it as a topdressing around arid plants. This is very cheap and can be bought at home improvement stores for around $3 a bag.
Pea gravel is another good choice. This is a small, rounded rock that is about the size of a pea, hence its name. It comes in different sizes—1/4 inch, ½ inch, and 5/8 inch, for example. It is also available in various colors, from brown, white, and tan. It is ideal for patio and pathways. Like decomposed granite, it is very cheap as a bag sells for just $3.
River rock is a lot bigger than pea gravel, usually an inch or larger in terms of diameter. It is available in different colors and sizes. It is used to direct drainage through a property. It’s also pretty cheap like decomposed granite and pea gravel.
If you’re looking for an elegant rock groundcover option, consider Mexican beach pebbles. These are small, smooth, and rounded rocks with a grayish black color. It is used decoratively in the garden. It is a bit more expensive than the other rocks mentioned in this article, with a bag selling for $20 and up. It may be expensive but it is a very sophisticated option for groundcover.
Indeed there are a lot of ways to dress up your garden or backyard. From alternative landscaping designs to groundcover other than grass, you will love that you have tons of options for improving the look of the space outside your home.