The manicured green lawn is something of an American tradition with some suggesting that this tradition stems from the keeping of turf in the ornate gardens of Europe’s royal families of the 16th century. The lawn has since become a widespread phenomena, although few stop to question whether it is the most effective or economical ground cover. In fact, much of the water expenditure of the average American home goes towards keeping their lawn alive. If you’re looking for a simpler, more convenient option or just want to try something new in your Massapequa, NY backyard, here are five designs that don’t require grass at all.
Plantlife and decking
Don’t be fooled into thinking that lawnless landscapes are any less green. Decking walkways allow easy movement through an outdoor space, while their elevation ensures that they don’t interfere with the surrounding plant-life, established drainage or natural lay of the land. This is why this solution is often used to provide access to areas with protected plant life. This option also allows you to do away with lawn altogether and instead fill up the space with indigenous plants for a fuller, greener looking yard.
Maximum hardscaping and potted plants
If you’d rather be able to use your outdoor space for functional purposes, large hardscaped areas can reduce or entirely eliminate lawn space. Greenery can then be added in the form of potted plants or retaining wall plant beds. Even trees can be introduced into the design without the need for open patches of lawn. To reduce the amount of rainwater runoff caused by large paved expanses, permeable pavers can be used. This option ensures that water returns to the natural ecosystem and despite the lack of a lawn, the area contributes to the health of the environment.
Rather than incorporating lawn, zen gardens make use of rock arrangements and sand or fine gravel as a ground cover. Moss and water features may also take up large portions of a zen garden’s ground area. Apart from moss, greenery can be introduced with the use of reeds, bamboo, bonsai trees and other theme-appropriate plants. Zen gardens have a welcoming tendency to be soothing areas of solitude, but the character and modern decorative elements of the theme can just as easily be used to create a vibrant outdoor area for socializing.
In order to limit monotony when introducing lawn substitutes, a variety of materials can be employed. Gravel, sand, stones, paving, greenery, lumber and water features are just a few options that can be used to break up a large area into smaller sections of interesting colors and textures. These materials can be used individually to create distinct areas of different functions or be used alongside one another in strips, geometric shapes or meandering, organic designs. Apart from maintaining visual interest, the advantage of combining several materials is that your landscape becomes equipped with the strengths and advantages of each. Gravel, for example, can be used to aid effective drainage, ponds or moats can help keep an area cool and natural stone can be used to store and provide warmth.