Sunday, February 24, 2013

Reducing your lawn with beautiful alternatives

Last year, almost all of my landscape clients were searching for ways to reduce their lawn, water use and carbon footprint.  The cost of water here has risen dramatically and our water restrictions make it difficult to keep certain kinds of turf looking decent anyway.

So what to do?  Paving it over isn't a pretty alternative, but there are many other beautiful choices to incorporate other elements into your landscape.

Creating an attractive and inviting landscape usually includes an interesting mix of plants and paths, patios and other areas designed for outdoor entertaining and enjoyment.  Of course, you can build a few big beds and fill them with drought-tolerant native and adapted plants.

You can replace lawn with sitting and entertaining space — using paths of mulch, decomposed granite or flagstone, patios of native stone or bricks, wooden decks and gazebos, creating an inviting garden space when combined with planting beds. Dry creeks can be added to meander through your landscape to address drainage issues or simply for aesthetic use as a textural contrast to plants and mulch.

 You can create a patio area in the front yard so you can watch kids play or visit with your neighbors.

Water features from ponds to disappearing fountains in ceramic pots can add a focal point and invite wildlife into your garden. Play scapes, hammocks, washer pits and fire pits or chimenarias also can be placed on a variety of hard scape materials in lieu of grass.


You can even put in that greenhouse you've always dreamed about.  What a great way to rationalize that purchase!

I found some of the best inspiration I've seen, along with great step-by-step DIY information, in my friend and fellow blogger, Pam Penick's new book, Lawn Gone!, Low Maintenance, Sustainable Attractive Alternatives for your Yard.

You can read more about Pam's book and available lawn alternatives in my Austin American Statesman story.  Or, check out her Lawn Alternatives  Facebook page.

For some great ideas and practical suggestions, look for a copy of Pam's book at Austin bookstores and nurseries or at Amazon.

So, if you want to reduce your lawn, take heart.  There are endless attractive and practical solutions that will enhance your landscape.


16 comments:

Jayne said...

Great post Diana. I'm thinking of ways to reduce our lawn. There are some lovely ideas here. Thanks!

Diana said...

Thanks, Jayne. I'm so itching to be in the garden already!

Janet QueenofSeaford said...

We have some areas where the grass isn't doing well, time for extended gardens!! Go Pam!

Lancashire rose said...

I have really admired that bed at the front of your garden. That photograph captures it at its most stunning.Who wouldn't swap some boring lawn for such a scene.

Diana said...

Janet - You go for it! It's a great excuse.

Lancashire Rose - Thank you. When my DH read the post he looked at the first two pictures and said "That bed and a path you can't use!" (Too many flowers planted in it)

Pam/Digging said...

Diana, thank you so much for the mention of my book! And WOW, that front bed of yours (the first picture) -- it's absolutely stunning. You did a really amazing job, and like Jenny said, who (aside from your dear hubby) wouldn't want to look at that every day instead of lawn. Great examples!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Diana, Love these lawn alternative areas pictured. I am sure this will be an inspiration to many people. So will Pam's book.

Diana said...

Pam - You're welcome. It's a great book and I love being able to rave about it, and you! It's great to hear that people love the "hideous" bed. He harrrumphed about my post adn the bed and "the path you can't walk on!!" Pffft!

Lisa - Thanks. Pics #1,2 and the last one are my gardens. And in case you didn't read the other comments, my DH thought that first bed was hideous when I created it and even in full maturity in this photo, he doesn't like it. Crazy. But I do! Hoping for spring for you soon.

Jan said...

Wonderful post, Diana :) It has been making the rounds on Facebook with the Virginia Native Plant Society and the Master Gardeners of Prince William (VA). Just thought you'd like to know it's having an impact :)

Diana said...

Jan - Thanks. That's pretty cool -- in fact, I taught the Landscape Design class for the Bell County Master Gardeners last week and for Austin in the fall. Wish I could come visit in VA, but I don't think the speaker's fee would quite cover the trip!

Laura said...

That front bed does look great. What lucky neighbors you have to view that bed every day when coming and going. I love the "river bed" as well. It looks better every year.

Jeremy Beauregard said...

This was our problem when we bought the house a year ago. We had a big, unused backyard. We didn’t want to cover it entirely with lawn. So, I came up with an idea to build a small play area, pond garden, and sitting area. We also have a lawn, but it only occupies a minimal space of our backyard. ->Jeremy Beauregard

Diana said...

Laura - Thanks!I hope things will all be healthy and pretty again this year. Maybe the death star will give us a break this year!

Jeremy -- That sounds like a smart plan and a delightful landscape. I do like a little patch of grass - it's a soothing place for the eye to rest in a landscape, but it needn't be the WHOLE landscape!

ketz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shona Martinez said...

This is a very smart idea! Maintaining the lawn is quite hard, and it needs regular mowing to keep it healthy and green. But if you’re busy and you can’t find time to do it, why not reduce the lawn and find alternative landscape ideas? For example, if your backyard is occupied entirely by lawn, convert the half of it into a patio area. This way, you can reduce the lawn without making the space look dull. ->Shona Martinez

Johnson Rondeau said...

Thanks for sharing these lovely landscaping ideas, Diana! Everything looks beautiful! The mix of the colors of the plants really complement each other. I think that the rocks and pebbles also add texture to the landscape, and it makes a good pathway too!

Johnson Rondeau