Not everyone has dreams of a yard full of green grass surrounding their home. Several viable and attractive alternatives exist that replace a traditional lawn for landscaping. Some are less expensive to implement, while others are more costly. Keeping a lawn green year round can require a significant investment, so you may end up spending less over time by using other ideas.
Many plants can cover large swaths of land for less cost. Plants known as groundcover plants grow out instead of up, making cutting the area a thing of the past. Strawberry plants, for example, cover large areas and produce edible berries. Clover covers large areas inexpensively and stays green all summer.
Flower and Herb Beds
Skip the lawn and create pathways, flower beds and herb garden patches all over your yard. Small hedges, raised beds and non-living garden features--like fountains, benches and paver stones--can connect the different sections of the yard.
Create a wooded area instead of a lawn in your yard. Use mulch or pine straw between the trees. Either deciduous trees or evergreens can work, but remember that having many deciduous trees in your yard can provide a lot of work in autumn when you will need to rake your entire yard.
Instead of settling on the flat yard, create a graded landscape featuring retaining walls made from pavers to form something akin to steps or terraces in your yard, with the lowest part of the yard being the central walkway leading to the front door of your home. In each of the graded paver areas, plant shrubs or flowers.
Although it may not sound like the most appealing option for a front yard, you can have the area filled with small pebbles, shells or stones. If the idea of a yardful of rocks sounds a bit too Spartan for your tastes, consider employing container plants to place in your front yard. One advantage of this is that you can change the arrangement of your yard and you can take the plants in if the weather turns too cold.
If it is the huge water use of the lawn that turns you off, you might want to try a xeriscaped yard, essentially a landscaping type that works with the natural plant life of a climate zone, making the need for additional water unnecessary. In arid climates, this may involve desert plants. In more temperate areas, more plant diversity is allowed. In hotter climates, tropical, full sun-loving plants may be the appropriate choices.