Grass is a beautiful and enjoyable part of the garden but it is also where most of the problems lie. Grasses should be selected according to functional and horticultural requirements. Consider active use, sun exposure, watering requirements, surface appearance, and winter color.
Watering lawns accounts for an incredible 40 to 60 percent of residential water consumption during the summer months, making lawn maintenance not only a chore but also a drain on the pocketbook and water supply.
Consider reducing the size of your lawn. Most homeowners are living with the lawn configuration that was established by the builder, or that was in place when they purchased the property. In the past, large lawns were the rule in many areas. Now, because of less time and diminishing landfills, replacing part of the lawn with a low-maintenance ground cover may be desirable. The addition of patios, decks, or flower beds would serve to replace lawn as well. In arid regions, a limited water supply is another compelling reason to replace a section of lawn with a drought-resistant planting.
Trees and shrubs grow better when the soil over their roots is covered with a mulch or ground cover rather than lawn. Grass competes for nutrients and water, and passing lawn mowers can injure stems and trunks. Ground covers are especially useful for filling in areas where maneuvering a mower is difficult or where grass doesn’t thrive, such as under dense shade trees.
Study how the rainwater flows across your yard and plant lawn grass or dense groundcover downhill from the patio to slow down and filter runoff. Direct rainfall from roofs onto grass or groundcover as well.
You can also learn about Alternative Non-Grass Groundcover options.