Last Updated On: August 26th, 2019
Traditional lawns are expensive and require too much precious water. Learn lawn alternatives you can feel good about that will help you use less water and save both time and money.
You're here because you've been thinking about getting rid of your grassy, traditional lawn. All the time, energy, and water you've wasted trying to keep your lawn green has led you to this point.
A lawn alternative is exactly what you need and luckily, there are many to choose from! From Microclover to xeriscaping to various ground covers, you'll find an option that suits your needs and your style below. Plus, you'll feel great knowing that each option is way more ecofriendly than your traditional, resource-sucking lawn.
Imagine no more fertilizing and less time spent on the upkeep of your traditional lawn.
In this podcast (and on the page below), learn about three of our favorite drought-tolerant lawn alternatives, tools and supplies you may need to get started, and resources to help you begin your journey!
In "Lawn Alternatives for Your Drought-Tolerant Garden" - DIY Garden Minute 106 - learn about three different options for alternative, no-mow lawns. This episode is meant for any gardener wanting to create or learn more about eco-friendly, drought-tolerant gardening.
If you're looking for one way to get started now in creating a more water-wise landscape any time of year, there are several tools, supplies, and strategies that will work together to lower the overall water use in your yard.
Our water timer has been a huge benefit in our yard and we couldn't imagine life without it (yes, we're a tad bit dramatic but we really love it)! Pick up your own today!
Next, read on to learn about alternative lawn options or jump to the section you need:
- Lawn Alternatives
- Best all-Around Lawn Option
- Best Alternative for Color, Texture, and Interest
- Best Alternative for Low Maintenance
- Tools and supplies for lawn alternative landscapes
- Videos for lawn alternatives
- Drought-Tolerant supplies kit
Have you ever wanted to make a BIG change somewhere in your landscape that you weren't sure would work?
Well, this past winter we did something crazy. We decided to follow through on one of our (many) landscape renovation projects and tore out our whole front lawn! It was unattractive, hard to keep green, and required a lot of maintenance.
All the neighbors thought we were nuts because everyone on our street has nice, green lawns that also require a ton of upkeep including watering, fertilizing, mowing, etc.
We knew we wanted to eliminate all the water, time, and effort spent trying to keep our lawn healthy so instead, we created a front yard garden!
We filled our new water-wise landscape with drought-tolerant herbs, low-water perennials, gravel, and started growing tons of food. As it turns out, our neighbors love our new front yard renovation and stop by all the time to chat about it!
In addition, this fall we plan to re-seed our backyard with this microclover seed from Nature's Seed (see below for more on this seed) to further improve our low-water, eco-friendly garden goals.
These are just two of the many lawn alternatives that we're excited to present to you! Read on below and listen to the podcast to find out more!
This lawn alternative is the BEST option in our opinion so we wanted to present it to you right away.
Microclover is a small variety of White Dutch Clover seed that has been bred to have smaller leaves. It can be used as a standalone, groundcover or as a lawn seed mix to use with your existing lawn. This is how we intend to use our microclover seed. It would be best added in the fall or spring and will establish quickly.
This clover can also be used as a cover crop in your raised garden beds because it fixes nitrogen in the soil. Basically, it acts as a self-fertilizer. This characteristic helps it stay green all year with very little maintenance required. You can mow it, but you don't have to. Plus you never have to fertilize!
There are so many beneficial reasons to use microclover. Below are some of its many benefits.
Benefits of microclover:
- Stays green all year (due to the nitrogen-fixing in the soil).
- Great for pets because it can tolerate pet urine.
- Safe for kids because it can be stepped on.
- Low-growing and doesn't flower often so fewer bees (compared to other clovers).
- Light watering required.
Another lawn alternative for you to consider is converting your lawn area into garden beds filled with drought-tolerant plants such as Rosemary, Lavender, Black-Eyed Susan, Yarrow, and many others along with mulch.
This alternative is perfect for you if you desire a colorful landscape full of texture but with lower maintenance and less overall water use (plus no lawn)!
In addition to plants, drought-resistant ornamental grasses make great lawn alternatives because they require little watering, no fertilizing, and love the sun. Keep in mind it’s important not to overwater ornamental grasses. Try attaching a drip hose and sprinkler to a water timer so you can regulate the amount of water distributed.
There are several beautiful perennials, groundcovers, and grasses you could use in place of a traditional lawn. Any of these options can sustain low levels of water for many weeks at a time.
Drought-tolerant plants are not unattractive or colorless. There are so many sizes, shapes, and colors available it really is just a matter of your preference. Adding any one of these plants below to your landscape could beautify your yard while helping save precious water.
Here are a few of our favorites with links to buy them now:
- Russian Sage
- Purple Coneflower
- Black-Eyed Susan
- Blanket Flower
- Purple Fountaingrass
A final option for an alternative to your lawn is "xeriscaping." This refers to a landscape that has been designed for very low-water using a selection of drought-resistant or drought-tolerant plants.
This lawn alternative is perfect for you if you want a true, low maintenance landscape in place of your traditional lawn. By reducing the need for water in your landscape, xeriscaping includes anything with little to no irrigation such as VERY drought-tolerant plants like cacti, succulents, and combinations of rock or stone to complete the look.
By choosing plants that are less water-dependent, you can create a beautiful, thriving garden with less overall inputs needed. Keep in mind that any new plants, like perennials and shrubs, that are less than 1-2 years old will need more water to get them established. After that, they should be ready to "weather" any kind of weather (see what we did there?).
Check out these drought-resistant plant suggestions below!
There are so many ways to alter your landscape in order to use less water as well as less of other resources. Luckily, there are also several tools, supplies, and books that can help!
For example, this water timer is a great tool for your alternative, eco-friendly landscape. By setting the timer to the length or frequency you want, you'll save time and money on precious resources and bills.
We love our Orbit water timer and we feel good knowing that we only use water as needed. Pick yours up today at the link below! (They also have timers with only one hose attachment or as many as three).
Other Recommended Supplies:
Lawn Alternative and Drought-Tolerant Books
Further your education with these great book suggestions!
In order to help you make your decision and also present other alternative options for a traditional lawn, check out these two videos below. We hope they are helpful!
Conclusion for Drought-Tolerant Lawns
As we continue to see changes to our climate, water is becoming a more precious resource every year. There are so many ways to alter your landscape in order to use less water as well as less of other resources. With so many eco-friendly options available, it has never been easier to make the switch.
Adding microclover, drought-tolerant plants, or xeriscaping are great lawn alternatives to consider. Plus, using various tools like this Orbit water timer can help you save water and money so that's also a huge bonus!
Now we want to hear from you!
What questions do you have about any of the lawn alternatives we've discussed or other ideas, not on our list? Let us know by leaving a quick comment below. Thanks!
Drought-Tolerant Lawn Alternatives References:
- "Tired of Mowing? Try These Plants and Groundcovers" - DIY Network
- "Keep Off the Grass: 5 Alternatives to a Traditional Lawn" - Bob Vila
- "Drought-Resistant Landscaping Ideas" - SFGate
- "Xeric-, Water-Wise, Drought-Tolerant: What Does It All Mean?" - Sunset Magazine
That's all for this DIY garden minute episode!
You can find other one-minute topics on our podcast page at spokengarden.com/podcast
Also, find us on your favorite podcast platform and Alexa through MyPod or AnyPod.
And hey—before you head out—if you want to connect with us and subscribe to our newsletter go to Spoken Garden's free resource page!
We have FREE garden content we are so excited to give to you, like cheat sheets, plant profile sheets, etc!
Thanks for Listening!!!
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Traditional lawns are expensive and require too much precious water. Learn lawn alternatives you can feel good about that will help you use less water, time, and money.
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Lawn Alternatives for Drought-Tolerant Landscaping
In this podcast, you'll hear lawn alternatives and ideas for what to use instead of traditional lawn. Learn about these drought-tolerant landscaping ideas and why you should consider them for your own low-water garden.
Free Summer Gardening chapter from our newest ebook
Clover free plant reference sheet (from our free resource library)
What You'll Learn:
- Drought-tolerant plants and their benefits.
- Recommendations for landscape plants to purchase.
- Links for further resources or education.
Some of the resources and products below may be affiliate links, meaning we might get paid a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you use that link to make a purchase.
- Drought-Tolerant Plants and Why They're Beneficial for Your Low-Water Garden - Ep. 37
- Blanket Flower: Gardener's Guide and Plant Profile
- Drought-Tolerance Defined - DIY Garden Minute Ep. 104
- Drought-Tolerant Perennials That Bloom All Summer -DIY Garden Minute Ep. 97
Other Gardening Products Related To This Podcast You Might Not Have:
- Drought-Tolerant Supplies Kit
- White Clover Cover Crop
- Orbit Water Timer
- Gilmour Soaker Hose
- RTS Rain Barrel