10 Alternatives To Grass For Large Yards (Expert Advice)

Your yard isn’t a blank canvas. It’s a canvas that needs to be painted with the right colors and textures to complement your home, your style, and your budget. But what if you don’t have the money or time for grass? 

Is there any way to give your yard a makeover without spending thousands of dollars on sod? Yes! Take a look at these 10 alternatives to grass that are perfect for large yards:

LAWN SUBSTITUTES | Hard at First, Later Much Easier
Large yards can be challenging to maintain with traditional grass lawns.
There are many alternatives to grass that can be attractive, low-maintenance, and eco-friendly.
Groundcovers such as clover, thyme, and chamomile can provide a lush, green carpet without requiring mowing or watering.
Hardscaping options, from patios to gravel and stone paths, can create functional, beautiful outdoor spaces without any grass at all.
Artificial turf is a low-maintenance option that can provide the look and feel of real grass without the watering, mowing, or fertilizing.
Consider planting a wildflower meadow or prairie grasses for a low-maintenance, eco-friendly option that can attract pollinators and wildlife.
Consult with a landscaping professional to determine the best solution for your unique yard and lifestyle.

Artificial Turf

If you have a large yard, artificial turf is a great option. It can be installed quickly and easily, making it an affordable choice for people who want an attractive lawn but don’t have time to maintain it. 

Artificial turf requires no watering or fertilizing, so all you have to do is sweep the yard every once in a while and pick up after your pets. Unlike real grass, artificial turf doesn’t need mowing or trimming either!

Looking for alternative landscaping options for your backyard? Consider incorporating some of these landscape designs and ideas that don’t require traditional grass. From hardscaping to eco-friendly options, there are many ways to create a beautiful and functional backyard without relying on grass.

Tile, Stones, And Pavers

Tile, stone, and pavers are a great alternative to grass for any large yard. They’re easy to clean and tend not to get muddy, as they’re impervious to water. In fact, they can be hosed down after rain or use a pressure washer on them when they need it. 

However, these materials do not absorb heat as grass does, so in areas where summer heat is high (like Arizona), using these materials could actually make you more uncomfortable because of how hot it gets during the day!

Rubber Mulch

Rubber mulch is a great alternative to wood chips, and it’s made from recycled tires. You can buy rubber mulch in popular sizes such as 3/8″ or 1/2″. It’s a durable, long-lasting product that looks attractive when used around your yard or garden.

Rubber mulch has many uses, including landscaping, erosion control, and even playground material. Rubber mulch is available in different colors such as black, red, or gray to match the look of traditional wood chips while adding an element of durability and longevity that wood chips do not provide.

Thinking of adding some animals to your backyard farm? Our guide on 10 animals that can be raised in the backyard provides an overview of popular options such as chickens, rabbits, and bees. Learn about the benefits and considerations for each type of animal before making a decision.


Hardscape is a non-living material that you can use to create a path, patio or deck. It’s typically made up of concrete, brick, stone, and wood. You can also use it to create an outdoor room by bringing in furniture, plants, and other elements.

Pave With Gravel Or Pebbles

If you’re looking for a way to add some extra style to your yard, paving stones are one of the cheapest and most versatile ways to do so. Paving stones come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. 

You can use them to create an easy-to-maintain patio or walkway for entertaining guests outdoors. They can also be used to create seating areas where children will love playing at the park with their friends!

Paving stones are great because they are inexpensive compared with other materials like bricks or concrete pavers which cost significantly more money per square foot (depending on how large your yard is). 

In addition, paving stones don’t require any special tooling equipment since they’re just made out of recycled glass pieces pressed together into large blocks (similarly to how brick makers make bricks). 

This means that anyone can install these types of surfaces without having professional contractors come over first before doing so – even if they’ve never done this type of work before!

Want to be more sustainable in your use of backyard space? Raising chickens in your yard can be a great solution, and our article on the environmental benefits of backyard chickens explores some of the many ways backyard chickens can positively impact the planet.

Drought-Tolerant Grasses And Plants

Drought-tolerant grasses and plants can be a great alternative to traditional lawns, which are often more water-intensive. These options are also easier to care for than a typical lawn.

Here are some of the most popular drought-tolerant varieties:

Buffalo grass is one of the most durable types of turfgrass, requiring little maintenance once it’s established (though you will need an occasional trim). It can survive in even the sunniest climates, making it ideal for larger yards that get plenty of direct sunlight.

Zoysia grass grows well alongside other grasses but will choke out weeds if left alone. It needs little watering or fertilizer and is known for its resilience against heat, cold temperatures, and drought conditions overall—though some varieties tend toward red or yellow colors instead of green ones!

Fescue is another type that’s easy enough to maintain on its own; it requires less regular mowing than other kinds because its blades grow slowly over time while retaining their shape well after being cut back by clipping them short at regular intervals throughout each year’s growing season (typically spring through fall).

Native Plants And Wildflowers

The first thing to consider when choosing an alternative to grass is your climate. Some grasses are better suited to certain climates than others, so it’s important to do some research on which grasses will thrive in your area. 

If you live in a desert climate, for example, Bermuda grass might not be the best option since it doesn’t handle heat very well and will require constant watering. Instead, look into species like Buffalograss or Fescue which are more drought-resistant.

Of course, another benefit of native plants is that they are better at attracting native insects and birds than non-native species–a win-win situation! 

Native plants also tend to be more resistant to pests and diseases than non-natives because there aren’t any pests or diseases common enough in these areas where they can build up resistance like they would need if introduced from another region.

Alternative Lawn Options by Climate

Climate TypeAlternative Lawn Options
Hot and AridOptions such as buffalo grass, Bermuda grass, and blue grama thrive in hot, dry conditions and require little water compared to traditional grass lawns.
CoastalCoastal and maritime climates call for salt-tolerant options such as seashore paspalum, beachgrass, and zoysiagrass.
Cooler ClimatesFescues, ryegrass, and bentgrass are great alternatives for cooler climates due to their resistance to low temperatures and excessive moisture.
Wet and HumidIn wet and humid conditions, consider using moisture-tolerant groundcovers such as moss, clover, and sweet woodruff.
Drought-ProneLow-water options such as clover, thyme, and sedges can help keep lawns looking lush even in drought-prone regions.

Are you considering breeding animals in your backyard? Make sure to read our article on why backyard breeders can be harmful before making a decision. From ethical concerns to potential legal issues, breeding without proper knowledge and resources can have serious consequences.

Herbs And Other Edibles

When you’re looking for alternatives to grass for large yards, herbs can be a great option. Many herbs are easy to grow and provide color and interest with little maintenance or watering. 

Additionally, many herbs are useful in cooking, so you can easily grow them in containers on your patio or deck. The containers need to be large enough that the roots have room to spread out (about 18 inches deep).

The best types of herb gardens include perennial herbs such as sage and rosemary that will last more than one growing season. Some other good options are parsley, thyme, oregano and dill; their leaves can be harvested all summer long!


If you’re looking for the look of real grass, but don’t want to deal with the maintenance and upkeep, AstroTurf is a good option.

It’s durable and requires little maintenance to keep it looking nice. The synthetic grass is easy to keep clean, which means you won’t spend hours cleaning your yard or paying someone else to do it for you.

Elm trees can be a great addition to any yard, but it’s important to understand both the benefits and drawbacks. Our guide on are elm trees good for yard landscaping explores these in detail, from the beauty of the tree to potential issues with pests and disease.

Rock, Gravel, Or Lava Rocks

Rock, gravel, or lava rocks are another alternative to grass. They can be used to create a natural look that is easy to maintain and will last for years without requiring much work.

Rock gardens are also an option for you if you want something that requires less upkeep than grass but still provides some texture, color, and interest in your yard. This is especially true if you live near a stream or lake because there’s no need for irrigation systems or mowing equipment either!

If your yard has steep sloping areas where water tends to run off quickly then consider using rocks as part of your landscaping plan. 

They can help control erosion by slowing down the flow of water on hillsides so it doesn’t damage any structures below them in time periods like after heavy rains during springtime months when snow melt occurs quickly resulting in increased runoff rates which increase erosion rates as well (accordingly).

Your Yard Doesn’t Have To Be All Green To Be Beautiful

Your yard doesn’t have to be all green to be beautiful. There are many alternatives you can use for your lawn, and they will still give you the natural look you want—without the hassle of mowing and watering. You can still have a lawn if you want, but there are also some other materials that could work just as well (or even better).

One alternative is artificial turf. This material looks like real grass, but it doesn’t need watering or mowing. It’s durable enough to stand up against wear and tear from pets and children running around in it all day, so it’s perfect if kids come over often or if you have dogs that like to play outside with their human companions. 

Another option is planting flowers instead of grass; this will give more color than plain old green grass would do alone!

Alternative Landscaping Options Beyond the Green Lawn

Landscaping OptionsTakeaways
HardscapingHardscaping options such as patios, pavers, and decorative stones provide sturdy and long-lasting surfaces that require little-to-no maintenance or water.
Gravel or Stone GardensGravel or stone gardens can provide a sophisticated and elegant look to your yard. They also improve drainage, keeping the yard’s soil healthy.
Wildflower and Rock GardensWildflower and rock gardens are less maintenance and a great alternative that adds texture, color, and variety to your landscape design.
Vegetable or Herb GardensVegetable or herb gardens are a functional option for homeowners looking for an edible landscape providing them with fresh produce while reducing household food waste.
Water FeaturesWater features in a yard such as ponds, streams, or fountains, can create a peaceful oasis within your property, attracting wildlife and providing a relaxing sound background.


There are so many options available when it comes to landscaping your yard. You should never feel limited by what you think is possible or cost-effective. 

If there’s a vision in your mind of how you want your outdoor space to look, there’s probably someone out there who can help make it come true! Just remember that when choosing an alternative to grass, your goal should always be beauty and functionality—even if those terms don’t always go hand-in-hand.

Further Reading

Here are some additional resources to help you explore alternatives to traditional grass lawns:

10 Alternatives to Grass for a Lush, Low-Maintenance Backyard: This article from ANGI Homeservices provides a comprehensive overview of alternative lawn options, including low-maintenance groundcovers, artificial turf, and more.

Alternatives to Laying a Lawn: Real Homes offers a range of suggestions for alternatives to grass, including wildflower meadows, gravel gardens, and even decking.

10 Low-Maintenance Lawn Alternatives: This article from Elemental.Green explores a variety of low-maintenance lawn alternatives, including clover, moss, and chamomile.


What are alternative lawn options?

Alternative lawn options are a range of landscaping solutions that can be used in place of traditional grass lawns. These may include groundcovers, wildflower meadows, artificial turf, or even no lawn at all.

What are some low-maintenance lawn alternatives?

Some low-maintenance lawn alternatives include clover, moss, chamomile, and thyme. These options require less watering, mowing, and maintenance than traditional grass lawns.

Are wildflower meadows a good lawn alternative?

Wildflower meadows can be a beautiful and low-maintenance lawn alternative, but they require careful planning to establish properly. They are best suited for larger areas where they can thrive without being disturbed.

How do I choose the best lawn alternative for my yard?

Choosing the best lawn alternative for your yard depends on a variety of factors, including your climate, soil type, and how the space will be used. Consider working with a landscaping professional to find the best solution for your unique needs.

Are some lawn alternatives better for the environment than others?

Yes, some lawn alternatives are more environmentally friendly than others. Options such as clover, moss, and prairie grasses are low-maintenance and require less watering and pesticides, making them a more eco-friendly choice than traditional lawns.