Plants to Use in Lawn ReplacementsBy: Roxanne Nichols
About Lawn Replacements
Lawn replacements are when you remove typical turfgrass and replace it with groundcover plants, mulch, or other garden plants. It is commonly done in areas where water restrictions have prevented homeowners from keeping their current lawn, which may consume high levels of water.
In addition to saving on water bills, lawn replacements use fewer chemicals and take less energy to maintain once the new lawn or garden is established. Homeowners may also find better enjoyment in having a garden around their home instead of an open, grassy space.
However, not all plants are ideal for doing lawn replacements with, so it helps to know how you should go about choosing the plants that are most likely to accomplish your goals in replacing your lawn.
Choosing Plants for Lawn Replacement
Plant choice depends largely on where you live, what the growing conditions of your soil are, and of course, what type of look you want to achieve.
If you want to enhance the appearance of height on your lawn, consider turning your lawn into a garden. Use taller plants and flowers that add dimension to the exterior of your property.
If you're looking to keep your lawn covered in grass but with a different grass type, overseed the ground during the off season to add a new type of grass to your lawn. For example, if you want grass that can handle growing in the shade, try lirope or sedges. For a more ornamental variety of grass, try blue fescue or little bluestem.
Other grass-like plants that can be used for a lawn replacement include:
- Gold dew tufted hairgrass
- Tufted fescue
- Blue meadow grass
- Velebit sedge grass
If you want groundcovers, remove the grass and plants and add mulch or pine straws to the ground. This adds color to your lawn while protecting the soil. Other non-grasslike groundcovers you can use in the sun and shade include:
- Ajuga (part sun, shade)
- Sweet woodruff (part sun, shade)
- Creeping thyme (sun)
- Spotted deadnettle (part sun)
- Armeria (sun)
- Chamomile (sun)
- Lysmachia (part sun, shade)
Additional low plants that can withstand foot traffic include:
- Creeping thyme
- Dwarf woolly yarrow
- Corsican sandwort
- Dwarf chamomile
- Alpine mouse ear
- Dwarf mondo grass
Lawn replacements should be done after careful planning has taken place. You should decide on which plants you want to replace your lawn with beforehand, and budget your time and resource adequately. Some lawn replacements can take place over multiple seasons as plants take the time to root and flourish.