Backyard landscaping Ideas Without Grass
Maintaining your backyard nice and neat can sometimes be challenging. Successfully growing healthy, lush, green, grass can sometimes be a challenge, especially in areas lacking an irrigation system. It’s also a challenge to constantly mow and maintain.
Luckily, there are many other options for landscaping, without including grass or other high maintenance plants. These beautiful, clever and sustainable options, can make your backyard a true oasis of relaxation, and you won’t even notice that the grass isn’t there. Following these landscaping ideas can bring you a unique and amazing looking backyard that you won’t have to spend a ton of time maintaining.
1. Building A Patio
One of the best options to skip grass in your backyard would be building a patio. Patios can be used in a number of ways and enjoyed no matter the time of the year.
Whether, you just need an area to relax or invite people over to entertain, building a patio gives you a good opportunity to include your own outdoor kitchen, with a grill, fireplace, meat smoking station or whatever your ideas might be. There aren’t many backyard landscaping options, that will allow you to include outdoor cooking areas, but Patios are perfect for that.
Patios can be highly customized, with different patterns of stamped concrete and a variety of different paving bricks or even natural stone. A beautifully done patio can increase the value of your home. They are also easy to clean, and maintain and when installed properly will last a very long time.
Having a patio doesn’t mean, you still can’t create your own beautiful gardens. You can use potted trees, plants, and blooming flowers, and surround your patio with beautiful color and interest. You can choose evergreen bushes or potted trees, that are suitable for our climate zone 4b, to be surrounded by greenery all year round.
The last thing to consider when building a patio is outdoor furniture. Beautiful and modern outdoor furniture, will complement your patio, and turn it into a luxurious place of relaxation. The options are endless. Websites like Pinterest or Houzz are great places to get ideas for your backyard patio furniture.
2. River Rock Or Boulder Gardens
Rock gardens can be a beautiful alternative to a grass backyard. You can design your entire backyard with rock gardens, or include them just in specific areas. When building a rock garden, the possibilities are truly endless. You can use different sizes, colors, and shapes of rocks, to create a truly unique outdoor area. Rock gardens can be combined with low maintenance plants and bushes. You can also choose not to include any plants in the rock garden itself for a very low-maintenance option.
A rock installation like that, (with low maintenance or no plants) is drought tolerant and you don’t have to worry about the plants drying up, decreasing the appeal of your backyard. This backyard option can increase the appeal of your home when tastefully designed and constructed, and as mentioned it requires almost no maintenance. You don’t have to worry about drought or freezing temperatures ruining your landscape when you use lots of rock.
3. Low Maintenance Garden Beds, Potted Plants, And Trees
There are a lot of plants and trees, that require the minimum maintenance and can keep your backyard looking green without having grass to mow and maintain. You can always plant evergreen bushes or trees, accompanied by blooming varieties of plants that require little maintenance, such as different varieties of magnolia trees. Keep in mind, that the best trees you can choose, are those which grow locally (and successfully). Trees that are native to the area, or the ones appropriate for our specific climate (growing zone 4b). The team at Rare Landscapes Inc can help you choose plants that are perfect for our environment.
Low maintenance shrubs that you can pick for your backyard, include berberis and euonymus. Another option especially drought tolerant is lilac. Lilac smells beautiful and doesn’t require much water or care. You can also harvest it, and use it to decorate your home and provide a nice fragrance.
There are some other plants that require very little care, such as different varieties of tall grasses (switchgrass, miscanthus and Japanese golden forest grass). They only require some “shaping up” once a year.
If you want to cover your ground with green and prevent any weeds from growing, the perfect options are; Bergenias, lily of the valley, lamb’s ear, wooly thyme, periwinkle, geraniums and more. A lot of ground covering plants and flowers will take care of themselves, providing you have decent quality soil.
If you don’t have too much soil or the quality of the soil is bad, you can always use potted plants and trees. Some fairly undemanding trees include; citrus trees, fig-trees, some types of magnolia, Witch hazel and Japanese maple. The trees are not the only greenery you can enjoy in containers, as there are many different other plants to complement your backyard retreat, including;
Asters, Azaleas, Boxwood, Forsythia, Hibiscus, Hydrangea and many more. Just make sure you learn the requirements for each plant, and check if your climate is appropriate for their proper growth. There are truly endless possibilities when planting your own low maintenance garden beds, or caring for potted plants and trees.
Xeriscaping is a special form of landscaping, that requires very little or no additional water for irrigation. It’s a trendy term that is quickly catching on with homeowners and even commercial property owners who want a beautiful landscape with minimal maintenance requirements. It’s best for areas with water restrictions during the summer months. The plants selected for xeriscaping, are not necessarily local but are the ones who store water and/or use very little of it.
Different types of succulents and other drought-resistant plants are used in planning this kind of landscape, including;
- Different types of Sedums (Dragon Blood, Sieboldii, Spathulifolium, Minor Succulent, Lime Zinger Succulent, Lime Twister Sedum Sunsparkler, Sedum Tricolor, Sempervivum Red Lion, Sempervivum Mahagany)
- Agastache flowering plants that come in more than 20 variations, mainly native to some parts of Asia and North America.
These plants require very little water and thrive in sunny areas.
When correctly done, xeriscaping can offer you a beautiful oasis, even in the driest of land. The combination of different types of Sedum and Agastache plants can give you a beautiful desert and a Mediterranean kind of vibe. Accompanied by a pond or gazebo you can make your backyard look very unique and exotic without having a lawn to mow.
5. Dry Creek & Stream Beds
What is a dry creek? A dry creek is the naturally “carved” path, where water usually runs in times of lots of rain. To prevent water damage, erosion and provide proper drainage paths, you can create dry creek beds.
Dry creek beds are fairly easy to build and can make your backyard look beautiful and inviting. We will roughly explain how to build a dry creek bed in few simple steps.
- The first step is to route the line of your dry creek, using paint or rope to draw the lines. Try to include sweeping curves to make it look more natural.
- The next step is digging a trench. Save the soil that you dug up for later. If you work hard and invite some friends or family to help, you can do this in a single day. Use the dug up soil to mound both sides of the creek.
- Before filling the trench with drainage rock, you should use a landscape or weed fabric and spread it all around the trench. The fabric will prevent weeds from growing in the creek.
- The next step is filling the trench with drainage rock completely. You can use pea and sand gravel for a natural creek-like appearance.
- After the trench is filled with gravel, place different sized river rock boulders on the sides of the creek, making sure they can’t move. The smooth sides of the boulders should be the ones facing out.
- The last step would be to fill your own dry bed creek, with pebbles, stones, and rocks of your own taste. Take your time and enjoy creating it.
There are many ways to create your own dry creek beds, as you can create different patterns, add colored glass or even ball-shaped boulders. Here, you can really let your imagination flow wild and create completely unique and beautiful designs. There are no limitations in combining a dry creek bed, with other landscaping solutions in your garden, as these beds can have a practical or solely ornamental use.
Does Your Backyard Need A Low Maintenance Landscape?
Rare Landscapes Inc is a landscaping contractor based out of Mound, MN and serving Hennepin County and Carver County and the surrounding area. Whether you want no grass or minimal grass, a beautiful new patio, a rock garden, or just a nice place to sit and relax amidst your garden, we can help you design and build an amazing backyard landscape.
If you’d like to schedule a consultation with us to discuss your backyard landscaping design or installation ideas we’d be happy to meet with you. Please call 952-258-3553 or fill out our online form and we’ll get right back to you.