Homeowners look forward to turning their yards into beautiful and usable spaces where the entire family can spend some good quality time. These days, a number of garden ideas and landscaping hacks are available for those who wish to turn their yards into Edens. In this article, we’ll discuss some of the top ways to beautify your garden naturally with a few viable alternative landscaping hacks.
Alternative Landscaping Hacks and Trends
One landscaping trend that is becoming a buzzword today is “naturescaping.” Naturescaping 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.
More people are also making their outdoor space an extension of their home’s interior. 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.
Also, 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.
With different alternative landscaping ideas available, any yard can be transformed into a living space. Whether you are concerned about the high costs and maintenance of grassy lawns or if you have a small yard, you might be surprised at the number of different ways in which landscaping can enhance your property.
Landscaping hacks 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 about the disadvantages of grass lawns such as:
- The large amounts of water and gasoline needed to irrigate and mow lawns.
- The amount of fertilizers needed in maintaining grass lawns.
- The labor-intensive process of mowing lawns which takes up lots of time.
There are plenty of landscaping alternatives for people who don’t like to mow or are simply concerned about the environmental impact of grass lawns, such as:
Moss is an alternative that is best suited for areas with moist and acidic soil. Moss is usually used as a groundcover in Japanese gardens and is preferred for many reasons such as:
- It is low maintenance, unlike grass lawn. Once established, it needs no fertilizer and trimming.
- Moss needs very little water unless it is extremely 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, moss 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 well as grass.
Clover is another good alternative to grass as a ground cover. Like moss, it doesn’t need fertilizer. It thrives in sunny to partial shade areas, and can grow in a wide range of soils. Compared to moss, it is more forgiving to foot traffic and is well adapted to grassy areas of the United States.
However, it is not ideal for homes with small children and animals because it wilts under the constant friction of running and playing.
Mondo grass is another evergreen ground cover that is a good alternative to a grass lawn. It can grow up to six inches tall if not moved. As an alternative, dwarf mondo grass grows upto 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. Also called liriope, this plant has dark green leaves. Its leaves are wider than those of mondo grass. These green beauties 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 heights of 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 shade too.
Now you know that grass isn’t the only green groundcover out there. You have plenty of other plant options for your lawn. More landscaping hacks, tips and tricks coming up!
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. These materials can solve drainage issues, add textural appeal and can handle foot traffic very well. Types of landscaping materials other than plants are:
You can opt for decomposed granite, a granitic rock that comes in reddish tan color for lawns, garden walkways and rustic patios. It can also be used as a top dressing around arid plants. Granite is very cheap and can be bought at home improvement stores for around $3 a bag.
Pea gravel is another good choice for landscaping filler material. Pea gravel 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. These rocks are also available in various colors, from brown, white and tan. It is ideal for patio and pathways. Like decomposed granite, it is very cheap and economical for large areas.
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. River rock is often used to direct drainage through a property. It’s also pretty cheap like decomposed granite and pea gravel.
Mexican beach pebbles
If you’re looking for an elegant rock ground cover option, consider Mexican beach pebbles. These are small, smooth and rounded rocks with a grayish black color, which is used decoratively in gardens. Though it may be slightly expensive, it’s a classy and sophisticated option for ground cover.
Indeed, there are lots of ways to dress up your garden or backyard! With so many options in today’s landscaping market, you will constantly want to renovate and improve the look of the space outside your home.
Garden landscape hacks for using furniture aesthetically
Garden furniture can bring out the beauty of your garden in many ways. Following are some ideas with which you can make the most of your garden space using good furniture and accents:
If you have limited space in the front yard, a circular or round patio set is highly recommended to save space, yet give you the feeling of an outdoor setting. Indoor dining tables are not just the only option anymore for those with patios. They can also serve as a gathering place, especially when you put enough seats or have a firepit. Patios are no longer just seen as a place to eat with guests, but also for relaxing.
Also known as negative edge pools, infinity pools are a luxurious addition to any yard. They create a beautiful effect for a swimming pool and adds a strong visual water element to the landscape. 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 often.
Built-in fireplace or pit
Fireplaces lend a cozy feel to you and your guests when gathered around the flames. These serve as rich centerpieces for your patio; a fun and visually interesting part to say the least. Aside from being used as a source of heat during 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.
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. They will look good when in bloom.
Used items for planting spaces
Items like sinks, wardrobes, drawers and bathtubs can be used as decorative planting places. They can often 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.
Greenhouses are great options not just for gardening, but also for improving the aesthetics of the garden. You can opt for gable greenhouses, dome-shaped or glass greenhouses, all of which look good while serving their purposes of growing plants too. Greenhouses have their own furniture like garden benches, hydroponics and aquariums which can lend their own special charm to your garden.
For more information regarding greenhouses, check out our Greenhouse Learning Center for FAQs, resources and other landscaping hacks — Click Here
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Having a beautiful garden is a joy to the owner. A well-sculptured yard with many aesthetic enhancements will attract friends and family into spending more time outdoor. Today, homeowners look forward to decorating their patios and balconies with plenty of outdoor furniture in relaxed Zen-inspired settings.
Some good landscapes hacks that can enhance outdoor settings are by furnishing them well, using good quality lawn alternatives and fillers like gravel and pebbles. These days, people prefer moss, mondo grass and clovers over using grass for lawns as they are low maintenance and less expensive. These are also suitable for families with small children whose play activities disrupt the grass lifecycle.
Garden landscapes can be accentuated by adding infinity pools, fountains, fire pits, circular patios, mixed plantings and greenhouses. By growing different varieties of plants, the owner can harvest good quality food while enjoying the mental and physical rewards of gardening. Altogether, good landscaping ensures that your yard will be a place of peace and joy for you, your family and the ecosystem around it.