DIY Network

Lawn Care

Replacing Your Lawn With Landscaping (page 2 of 3)

Trade in turf for groundcovers that bring low-maintenance beauty to landscapes.

More in Outdoors

Selecting a Lawn Alternative

When selecting a lawn alternative, consider your regional climate first and foremost. Stick with plants that survive in the typical weather conditions your area experiences. Take time to do a soil test to ensure you match the right type of plant with soil that will favor its growth. Also note the growing conditions your specific site offers: sun vs. shade and natural moisture levels. For instance, a slope tends to be drier than the base of that same slope, and a lawn area already plumbed for automatic irrigation has a ready moisture supply.

Native plants offer advantages over non-natives. They’re adapted to your region, and they’ll typically be able to withstand or even resist attacks by pests and diseases. Do your homework if you select a non-native lawn alternative. Make sure it’s not rated as invasive in your region. You don’t want to add a plant to your landscape that will overrun the turf areas you want to keep.

Words like “vigorous,” “aggressive” or “rapid” growth rate describe an advantage in a lawn alternative. It means the plant will fill in quickly and limit the time that surrounding soil is bare and open to weeds. Mat-forming lawn alternatives grow thick enough to keep weeds from gaining a foothold. Choose these types of groundcovers for spots in your yard that are highly visible.

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Give your entry a makeover by replacing part of a lawn with a groundcover like blue star creeper (Isotoma fluviatilis). A smaller lawn saves time and money on lawn-maintenance chores.