Looking for Landscaping/Lawn Ideas

So my ancient (and hideously air polluting) gas mower is about to die, and before I spring for that electric Ryobi I’ve got picked out, I’ve scheduled a convo with my landscape lady about getting rid of the grass entirely. It’s a small lawn anyway.
But I want it to look nice for me and my guests, and not too weird surrounded by all the other small lawns of the houses around me. I also don’t want a lot of tick-hideout brushy stuff, and folks to be able to spread a picnic blanket in the backyard.
I’m in the mid-Atlantic so we’re not talking xeriscape, i.e. gravel and succulents would look a bit eccentric.
Thoughts? Suggestions?

well, I don’t like to mow the grass myself so I’d suggest the best landscape fabric and a lot of mulch and perhaps a combination of stones to give texture but in no way your guests will be able to spread a picnic on that. if you are keen on this keep the grass.

During California’s severe drought three years ago, several neighbors installed artificial green lawn turf in their home’s front yards.

No more mowing and watering, and looks nice.

Astroturf sounds like it fits the bill @dpfromva, but I would ask your landscape lady - she will be far more likely to know what sort of materials will work best in your environment and what’s available.

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You might also check out your library. Mine had quite a few books on alternatives to lawns. One I liked was called “Lawn Gone”. I’ve removed about half the lawn on my property so far.

Clover can be a good choice in temperate regions. It’s tolerant of being walked on a little bit and doesn’t grow high enough to cause issues with regulations.

I am planning to purge my listing of grass this summer. I already did xeriscaping in the front a couple years ago. Fortunately it’s normal-looking in Arizona. I currently still have about 1100 square feet of grass in the back and this summer I am planning to replace 800 square feet of the grass with travertine pavers to make a big patio with a fire pit for guests to use. The other remaining square feet will probably get converted into flower/vegetable/herb garden.

An option to traditional sod would be “Korean grass”

Provides you a soft picnicking patch that requires less mowing.

I used in my last home (Los Angeles) in between large paving stones. I would trim it 2x a year as I like the texture of it growing above the concrete. See pics

Current home I’ve been planting Mexican Feather grass in the front yard. … no patch for picnicking but adding a select area of decomposed granite amongst it could be nice


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I was going to say the same thing. There’s “ideas” and there are “ideas that will work”. Landscaping can be a bit tricky in that certain plants depend heavily on the soil you have and the climate you live in. Do you need erosion control? Do you allow pets and/or children and therefor need to be mindful of which plants are toxic? Are you trying to reduce water use? Do you want to repel pests? If so, what kind? I’m not implying you answer all of these things, but just making the point that there actually is a lot of think about if you want to make it easy on yourself later on.

If you’re looking for non-alive landscaping, then IMO Pinterest is a great place. Artificial grass, pavers, etc look great, but are VERY expensive to install (much more so than the cost of a new Ryobi mower ;)).

Have you considered rock landscaping?

Perfect opportunity to create a yard that is lovely, unique and friendly to wildlife!
National Wildlife Federation has a superb article on how to replace a lawn with nature-friendly plants.

This motivates me to move away from the expense of maintaining grass especially with the effects of clumate change. Just think- have the most beautiful garden around that’s low to no maintenance.
With the bee and Monarch butterfly population crisis, this could be a great way to give back to nature. Cheers!

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