New homeowners often find themselves having bitten off more than they can chew. What seems like something as simple as a lawn turns out to require hours of maintenance each week: constantly watching for weeds, mowing, edging, treating for insects, fertilizing and filling in dead patches. Growing grass from seed is a dirty, time consuming process that can take up to a year before any significant results are seen. Thankfully, there are alternatives.
Instead of placing seed evenly across the lawn, you can use sprigs. By cutting parallel furrows across the lawn and then filling them with seed, you maximize the chances of them spouting. Once they're grown, they begin to spread outward to fill in the blank spots. Rather than use seed, why not use grass that's already well underway in its lifecycle? You can use plugs of grass bought commercially or homegrown in pots and then placed in the lawn in a grid. Just as with sprigs, the plugs will extend their root systems outward to cover the lawn. Plant nurseries and garden stores sell pallets of sod as well, which is placed across the bare ground and then watered thoroughly. Over the course of a week, the sod's roots will extend down into the soil and make them part of the lawn.
Professional Lawn Seed Alternatives
Hydroseeding works best on large empty patches or entirely bare lawns. The process starts with a slurry of mulch, fertilizer and grass seeds, which is then blown out across the lawn with an air compressor. The mulch and fertilizer hardens into a surface that can be walked on, providing the grass seeds with protection, warmth and the nutrients they need to grow abundantly. All that need be done is provide frequent watering, and over the course of a month, the seeds will sprout. This generally has a greater success rate than hand seeding.
Alternative Ground Covers
If you don't want to deal with seeding of any kind, why not try a different ground covering altogether? Polished river rocks, gravel, ground slate and other types of stone all inhibit weed growth and prove financially beneficial in very dry climates. What's more, it allows for the opportunity to extend garden beds into the lawn itself as a front door showcase.
Then there are some plants that can take the place of grass entirely. Dutch white, yellow blossom and red clover all make a low, stable ground covering that naturally deters weeds. Night blooming jasmine, when not attached to a trellis or given other support, becomes a voracious ground-creeping vine that can quickly advance to cover a lawn from a single row of first generation plants.