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Alternative to Lawn

Written by: Glenice Buck

Dichondra Repens
Dichondra Repens

Do you have an area of lawn where the grass just doesn’t grow?

Grass can struggle in areas where there is heavy soil compaction, too much water, not enough water, not enough organic matter or too much shade or sun or maybe you just hate mowing!

Sometimes it’s best to consider another idea for the space.

If it’s a high use area and the grass just doesn’t grow due to compaction and wear and tear, then a hard surface cover might work better – a pathway or even a line of steppers through the space could be enough to reduce the compaction to the area of lawn and allow it to regenerate.

Maybe it’s an area where it’s too shady for grass so it could be better to create a garden bed which is planted out with shade tolerant plants. If the area is always wet and muddy, you could create a garden bed filled with plants that like boggy conditions. If you still need access through this area, you could use a raised walkway made from timber similar to a deck.

If you still want the look of a massed area filled with green ground cover and you can’t get lawn species to grow, then you could select a ground cover and plant this out on mass. Some groundcover plants I would suggest as an alternative to lawn for your garden (depending on conditions), would be Mondo Grass, Mini Mondo Grass, Black Mondo Grass, Dwarf varieties of Liriopes, Dichondria repens or Dichondria “Silver Falls”, Pratia species, Native Violets, Corsican Mint, Chamomile, Creeping Thyme or Groundcover species of Sedums (Stonecrop).

Some of these plants such as the Dwarf Liriopes and Mondo Grass can even be mowed a few times a year to keep them compact and tidy.

Always ensure you know your conditions so that you can select the correct plant for the location.

Glenice Buck Designs

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