Ground Cover Alternatives to Grass

Best 6 Ground Cover Alternatives to Grass

Very few things can match up to the feeling of lying face-up on your neatly trimmed lawn and enjoying the sun or getting compliments on how beautiful your lawn looks. However, maintaining a grass lawn isn’t always as easy as it seems.

It’s costly, and if you think about the environment, the chemical fertilizers used and the water wasted on runoff go against sustainability.

Many viable options work just as well as a grass lawn in making your lawn or backyard look attractive. These include ornamental grasses, synthetic grass, stone-based materials, evergreen moss, mulch, and even flowers and shrub beds.

Here are ground cover alternatives to grass you can use on your property.

Ground Cover Alternatives to Grass

1. Ornamental Grasses

If you’re looking for a less work-intensive option that still has that green look, then ornamental grasses are your best bet for ground cover alternatives for lawns.

Most ornamental grasses require little to no maintenance since they don’t spread, and they are also naturally resistant to diseases and pests.

They also perform well in dry areas with little water and fertilizer. Another great thing about ornamental grasses is that you don’t have to mow them. Ornamental grasses can thrive in most soil types, including sand and clay soils.

This is the best ground cover alternative for your lawn if you don’t like mowing since these ornamental grasses don’t need to be trimmed. They have distinct growth patterns and shapes, such as sprays, tufts, and shimmering sweeps.

Their blades stay upright despite the weather, maintaining their unique shape.

However, you should note that ornamental grasses work well for lawns that do not get any foot traffic. Their beautiful clamps can be easily damaged if walked on, so only plant them in areas that receive no traffic.

2. Evergreen Moss

Second on our list is evergreen moss.

This is an excellent alternative for lawns that are usually under shade. Moss is a low-maintenance ground cover alternative requiring no mowing and fertilizer. Planting a moss bed is simple, and you can count on it to spread to other parts of your lawn in no time.

Moss doesn’t grow to tall heights (max 1 inch), so you don’t have to worry about mowing it. It’s an eco-friendly solution to keeping your lawn green and neat. It has a soft velvet-like texture that captivates the eye, turning your lawn into a sea of green.

While lawn grass can withstand most foot traffic, moss is very delicate and might be damaged if stepped on too much. Depending on the type of moss you plant, you will not have to water your lawn every so often, hence cutting down on the water bill.

However, most moss species thrive in cool environments. When planting your moss beds, ensure they are moist enough and shaded from the sun.

If you live in a hot area or if your lawn is directly exposed to the sun’s rays, you may want to go for a different ground cover, as moss doesn’t do well under direct sunlight.

Also read: Best garden rake for grass

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3. Artificial Turf

Synthetic grass, also called artificial turf, is the ultimate no-maintenance solution for your lawn. It doesn’t need any fertilizer, watering, or mowing.

There are several options to choose from, depending on the texture, the height of the grass, or the shade of grass.

It is a modern sustainable solution for landscaping as it doesn’t need any aftercare once installed. It is not easy to tell synthetic grass apart from natural grass unless you bend down to look at it or feel it physically.

It can handle moderate foot traffic, hence an excellent ground cover alternative to grass.

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4. Mulch

Maybe you just moved into a new house, and you aren’t sure what landscaping option to go for, or you just aren’t ready pocket-wise to give your lawn a facelift.

You can use mulch to cover up your yard in the meantime as you decide on a more viable alternative ground cover.

Apart from covering your lawn, mulch also provides extra benefits such as preventing soil erosion, suppressing weeds, and conserving moisture in the soil. It is also cheap since you can collect it from the trees growing around and spread it on your lawn for free.

Mulch is also organic, so it benefits your soil in the long run as it breaks down and rots. You can use bark chips to mulch your yard, especially around young trees.

However, if you live in a windy area, you should consider a more ‘grounded’ solution since mulch can easily get blown away by the wind.

Also: Rock or mulch for landscaping

5. Flowers and Shrubs

Flowers and shrubs native to the area you live in are an excellent alternative to grass. Before settling on a permanent solution, speak with your local garden expert to know which shrubs and flowers are suitable for your lawn.

Since they are native to that area, they tend to do better than most grasses as they have already adapted to the conditions. They also don’t require any fertilizer since they do well in the local soil.

Make sure to select a variety that does not require staking or pruning to minimize the labor spent in maintaining them. Once these plants and shrubs flower, they create visual interest in your lawn, especially if you use different varieties.

Also read: Best leaf rakes reviews

6. Stone-based Ground Cover

Who said lawns have to be green to look beautiful? You can have an outstanding lawn by utilizing some of these stone-based solutions. Stones don’t decompose, and they also do not attract pests.

There are different options to choose from: stone pebbles, crushed granite, pea gravel, and river rocks. Mix up the different stone textures and colors to accentuate parts of your lawn.

You can consult a landscaping expert on the best way to balance between these stone-based ground cover alternatives and plant-based alternatives to achieve the best look for your lawn.

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As you can see, it is easy to achieve a beautiful lawn with any of the methods explained above.

Some solutions, such as mulching, require no initial investment and can get your lawn looking uniform in no time.

Ground cover alternatives to grass are sustainable since you will be cutting down on irrigation and also prevent emissions from your lawnmower.

More importantly, you should consult a landscaping expert before installing any of the alternatives explained above to get the best solution for your lawn.


  • Ricky

    Hi, I’m Ricky. I’ve been involved in lawn care and landscaping from when I was 15. To be honest, I didn’t like the idea of pushing mowers, collecting grass clippings, and maintaining flowerbeds at the time. But having seem the passion my parents had for gardening and outdoors and the effort they put in maintaining the health and beauty of our landscape, I couldn’t help but not only admire their hard work but also I became a part of it. As someone who loves to spend time with nature’s best, I find myself learning a lot more about gardening and outdoors on a daily basis. Not to mention I love to share the knowledge I’ve gathered over the years with my readers at We Mow Dallas. To be clear, I don’t have a Master’s degree in gardening or anything like that. Everything I’ve learned about gardening, landscaping, and lawn care spring from passion and engagement with my parents. And with a ton of free information out there, plus the ability to run tests and determine what works best for lawn care and landscaping, every day is an opportunity to learn and implement something new. My goal with We Mow Dallas is to teach you exactly how to maintain your lawn and landscape. And since I walk the talk in reality, you shouldn’t hesitate to join me in this wonderful world of landscaping and lawn care. K Beatrice

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