No-Grass Backyard Ideas for Easy Maintenance in Any Season

Sophisticated and Savvy
Photo: Photography Ralph Anderson

Maintenance, sustainability, personal style–there are plenty of reasons to consider an alternative to the traditional grass backyard . Maybe you want to permanently strike "mow the lawn" off your to-do list or maybe you love the enchanted, earthy look of sprawling moss across your backyard . If you've got low-mow, no-maintenance yards on your mind, you're not alone. According to the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) , "lazy lawns" might just be the next big thing thanks to their host of benefits: less maintenance, more wildlife, lower water bills. Starting to sound like a fairytale? With a little planning and some imagination, you can create your own no-mow , easy-maintenance backyard. (No fake stuff required!) Here are no-grass backyard ideas that make maintenance a snap in any season.

01 of 10

Design for Drought

What's Growing
Photo: Ryann Ford

This idyllic Austin property was designed with Texas heat in mind. Hardy, drought-tolerant plants and pea gravel replace thirsty turf (and look good too!).

02 of 10

Moss is Boss

Moss Lawn
Ralph Anderson

At this North Carolina home, David Spain and Ken Gergle of Moss and Stone Gardens in Raleigh used 15 different types of moss to create a lush forest landscape. The guiding principle was to "work with nature, not against it."

03 of 10

Copy Courtyard Style

Formal Charleston Garden Courtyard
Hector Manuel Sanchez; Styling: Frances Bailey

Without any groundcover, this Charleston courtyard still feels more than lush thanks to seasonally rotated planters, sculptural shrubs and elegant arching trees for shade.

04 of 10

Cover it in Crops

Ramsey Vegetable Garden
Hector Manuel Sanchez

Take a cue from this North Carolina garden and swap out long stretches of grass for rows of raised beds. While this certainly won't eliminate your to-do list, it will make the payoff a whole lot sweeter.

05 of 10

Try a Landscape That's Made for Shade

Shade Loving Plants
Photo by: Ralph Anderson

At this Virginia home , a dreamy shade garden occupies what would be the backyard space. The key to keeping it looking tidy is a strategic mix of pathways, evergreens, walls, hedges, edging, small trees, and ponds.

06 of 10

Remember That Small Is Mighty

Cottage Garden Courtyard
Photo: Ralph Lee Anderson

In the courtyard of this Atlanta cottage , there's not a square inch of sod in sight. Shape and scale take center stage in the 600-square-foot garden, proving a little strategy is all you need to create a verdant landscape.

07 of 10

Go for Ground Cover

Gibson Cottage in South Carolina
Laurey W. Glenn

Asian star jasmine proves just how good-looking ground cover can be in place of a traditional lawn at this charming South Carolina cottage . Find even more ideas for a for no-fuss favorites here .

08 of 10

Add a Little Flavor

Sophisticated and Savvy
Photography Ralph Anderson

If you're going to have to put in some yardwork, it might as well give you something in return. Raised beds with herbs and easy-to-grow fruits and veggies strike just the right balance.

09 of 10

Make Do with Mondo

Lawn-Free Yard
Ralph Anderson

No-mow dwarf mondo grass creates the illusion of a lush lawn at this Atlanta home , without all the maintenance. Stones, shrubs and structural elements help define the space and reduce the square footage needing coverage.

10 of 10

Create Something Custom

Tudor Cottage
Photo: Van Chaplin

The owner of this Birmingham Tudor swapped a standard swath of turf for a far-more-enchanting cottage garden filled with a " tapestry of shrubs, roses, natives, herbs, and vines ."

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