No Grass Gardens
By Editorial Staff
Contributed by Info Guru Aurora LaJambre
Grass is not nearly as much fun to care for as flowers, veggies and succulents.
All those lovely plants make it rather difficult to tend to. Plus it requires quite a bit of maintenance in the summer months when we’d rather relax and enjoy the view.
These top ten no-grass gardens offer tons of ideas to reduce maintenance while still creating a beautiful outdoor space.
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If you maintain a completely paved outdoor space, a large patio, or heavily graveled landscaping instead of grass, allow yourself the luxury of a traditional greenhouse. You can create a lush, dedicated space for gardening, and let your green thumb revel in the old world luxury of the perfect growing environment.
9. Container Garden
Growing in containers gives you the freedom to move plants around, and limits watering and weeding. Place pots around a patio to immerse you backyard living area and increase privacy. When it’s party time, shift them onto shelves or cluster them in one area to establish a focal point that’s out of high-traffic spots. Use fun, textural planters and pots to add a unique touch.
Lay pavers over a bed of sand to create a water-permeable walkway through your no grass garden. Pat sand between the crevices to prevent weeds from encroaching, and plan to replenish the joint sand every year or two, or plant herbs to frame the pavers with greenery. This is a project you can do yourself over a few days. Just be sure to remove all unwanted roots. Shop around, too. Pavers come in a wide variety of colors and shapes.
7. Water Garden
Once started, backyard ponds become an entire ecosystem of their own. You can even add fish to bring energy and movement. You’ll find a whole world of aqua plants to choose from, including water lilies, submerged plants to create oxygen, and free floaters to add a finishing touch.
6. Crush Shells
A simple way to design a garden minus turf is to replace it with another natural material. Widely available in coastal areas, crushed shells are almost no maintenance. Frame the shelled area with fieldstones and you won’t even need to rake scattered pieces. Shells limit water runoff, minimize weeds and help insulate growth on cool months. Homes with a breezy coastal décor can continue this look with a thick layer of shells.
5. Stepping Stones
Stepping stone paths bring a whimsical feel to any plant bed. Shovel out growth you don’t want, and dig down a few extra inches where you plan to lay the stones. A layer of gravel topped with bedding sand will keep them stable. Set them about 6 inches so nobody trips or misses the next stone. Border the path with a few engraved river stones for a personal touch.
4. Wood Mulch
Wood mulch is a natural, biodegradable alternative to turf, and it’s more affordable than pavers. It’s a natural choice for grass-less plant beds because it enhances the soil with nutrients and oxygen. Replenish it a few times a season to keep weeds under control and greenery will thrive. Other benefits include root insulation, weed control, and preventing water runoff.
Hand over control over the yard to succulents and you’ll never miss the grass. Sunset magazine suggests creating a tapestry of them with different textures and colors. A garden fountain would add to the exotic feel, and attract birds and butterflies. Cherubs, animal statues and sculptural bamboo are just a few of many playful options.
2. Beyond Grassy
Your path to a true no grass garden just may be the very thing you’re trying to avoid. Take a cue from Sunset magazine (pictured above) and plant loads of hardy grasses like blue grass and carex testacea. Arrange them in clusters and watch them grow into a soft, vibrant mini meadow. Add a tree or two for variation and shade. If you choose to lay a path, consider stones or pavers that sit about two inches above the ground.
1. Overgrown Cottage-Style
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Cottage gardens make a distinct, gorgeous addition to a yard. This style uses both flowers ad edible plants in an informal, close-knit arrangement. Lay a winding flagstone path to invite visitors to wander. Separate the walkway and plants with a wide border of natural mulch and the only maintenance will be occasional watering, pulling a weed and spreading fresh mulch.
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