Avoid mowing and maintenance with Lawn Free Front Yards
Pretty green lawns are nice, but they are a pain to keep perfect and green. Inevitably a yellow dandelion or wild violet and crab grass will get in there somehow and spoil the lush green-ness. Lawns take some hefty maintenance too. They need to be mowed regularly, they need fertilization, they need clipped and primped and they need to be watered or they turn an ugly yellow. You have to watch for moles that make holes in the lawn and for grubs that make the lawn turn a lovely shade of straw yellow. Maybe a lawn free front lawn is just the thing to keep you from losing your cool during the summer.
Several methods can be employed to create a lawn free front lawn. You can use stones, pavers and other substances to create an artful statement in your front lawn and accent it by potted plants. You can create a sandy Zen garden with flowers all around the perimeter of the yard. Make your front lawn a mow free area by using trees and ground cover. How about a drought resistant garden using cactus and succulents along with other plantings to fill it in? A meadow garden can be a lovely sight with wild flowers and prairie grasses and it needs minimal care. You can also create a front yard with raised beds and pathways.
Artful Stones and Other Materials
Fill in your front yard with pavers or flagstone to make one big front patio. You can place potted plants all around or leave trees in the ground with the stone around them, then mulch the ground around the tree. Fill in your front yard with a thick layer of pea gravel, volcanic stone or mulch and place large boulders here and there in an artful arrangement. Make a dry river bed with river stone and mulch around that placing a few annuals here and there. You might incorporate it with a small, shallow pond in which water flowers and grasses grow. Gravel or decomposed granite can be compacted to make a nice surface for picnic tables and other lawn furnishings. Create a Zen garden with sand, mulch or colored gravels and build planter boxes filled with annuals that are situated all around the edges. You can even make these planters into seats.
Drought Resistant Yards
Instead of planting thirsty grass in a drought prone area, plant a plethora of drought resistant plants and fill the yard with just a few paths meandering through. Include stones and other whimsical items like fountains and statuary mixed in the plantings. Sunny yellow Black Eyed Susan’s are very drought resistant and look lovely in clumps in the yard. Many Sedum varieties do not require much water but look green in the summer and usually turn color closer to fall. Dwarf agave is a shrub that is very drought tolerant. Lavender, rosemary, sage and any other herb that comes from the Mediterranean is suitable for a water free garden. Yucca and cactus are good choices for a drought resistant garden as well.
If you have many trees in your front yard and have trouble growing grass, the answer might be to use ground cover instead. Ground cover plants do not grow tall and they tend to spread and fill in an area. They are more textural than anything else, and can look quite nice in a shady front yard. The first year a ground cover garden will need to be weeded, but as it fills in, no maintenance is required. Pachysandra is a green ground cover that tends to spread outside its area. You will need to contain it with a strong edging. Periwinkle is another nice ground cover that has dark clover-like leaves and pretty lavender flowers. Clover comes in several different colors including white, yellow and red and that is the leaves. Some other plants from other countries are making an appearance as ground cover in the US. Dymondia margaretae comes from South Africa and has gray leaves. Whatever ground cover you use, make sure to contain it and not let it grow beyond its boundaries as it can become invasive and hard to hold back. Your neighbors might not appreciate it escaping to their yard.
For those that live in a prairie setting, a meadow garden might be just the thing. A meadow garden is composed of all kinds of plants that usually grow in the wild. Ornamental Grasses are great in a meadow garden and most of them are drought tolerant and the grasses come in both hot tolerant and cold tolerant varieties. Ornamental grasses generally clump and can be as tall as 12 feet and as short as less than a foot. Some change color through the year. The grasses usually turn brown in winter and just need to be chopped down near the ground so they come back the next year. Some good grasses to consider are Blue Fescue, Mexican Feather, Sea oats, pampas grass, zebra grass, buffalo grass, hair grass and sedge. There are so many varieties it will make our head spin. Mix in some local wild flowers and you will create a meadow in no time.
Build some raised beds and separate them with pea gravel, mulch, sawdust or other natural substance. Make them as high or low as you wish, but the higher they are, the easier they are to take care of. Make sure to make them no wider than you can reach to get to the middle or the other side. Although raised gardens are usually filled with sterile potting soil, they still can get weeds, but it is unlikely they will get very many. Plant flowers, herbs and vegetables in raised gardens. You can plant a rose garden in a raised garden. The plants will grow very well because the soil is not compacted.
There are many alternatives to a Lawn Free Front Yard. Your yard can look green and lush, be filled with a rainbow of flowers, include some artful stones, look like a grassy meadow that doesn’t need to be cut, or be filled with a beautiful ground cover. You do not need grass to make a front lawn inviting.