To say that the traditional lawn may soon be a thing of the past is perhaps a huge understatement. People all over the U.S. are opting to ditch their lawns due to the gargantuan amount of water they use up. Meanwhile, some are figuring out that regular maintenance is just no longer worth the time, effort, and money. After all, it is estimated that an average American spends 70 hours each year tending to his garden. That’s a lot of time you could spend on more important matters instead.
Still, a green backyard has been staple in horticulture for so long that many homeowners are rather reluctant to part with their natural gardens. Fortunately, with artificial grass, you can still have a well-manicured lawn minus the mowing, watering, and fertilizing. You are essentially getting a low-maintenance yard that will last for decades.
If you want to take your synthetic lawn’s ease of maintenance up a notch, there are a few more things you can do. Keep these ideas in mind while you work with your artificial grass installation company.
Reduce Lawn Size
Minimalism doesn’t just work well for home interiors, but for the outdoors as well. You can reduce the size of your lawn to spend less time brushing up grass blades every week. Try creating a tiny area that will serve as the focal point of your yard. Lay down a small patch of artificial turf on a cleared space and surround it with other features like plant boxes, potted plants, and a water feature. Think of it as creating an oasis in your own backyard.
If you have the extra budget, you can also try adding a gazebo or pergola in the middle of all that. Add some more benches by the edges, a hammock at the center, a few outdoor furniture and perhaps some rustic lawn ornaments, and you’ll get a virtually maintenance-free entertaining area. This is perfect for lazy weekends or hosting brunch and tea parties.
Expand to the Outdoors
Ever feel like your place is too small when you have people over? Using all the open room right outside your back door can be a fantastic way to expand the liveable space of your house. Turn your garden into a functional outdoor kitchen by adding a built-in cook space, a grill, a fire place and a fire pit. With all that in place, all you’ll need are some tables, chairs, and a couple of patio umbrellas for shade. The artificial grass under your foot should provide a soft, velvety surface that children and pets could play on while you cook up a feast.
To really make the most of your outdoor kitchen, include edible plants when you plan out your layout. Greens like lettuces, arugula and kale require a lot of watering but they grow and spread very fast. You could also try your hand at planting herbs such as boxwood basil, oregano cleopatra and cha cha chives. These herbs are quite fragrant and can also look great as ornamentals when grown in plant boxes.
Add Hardscaping Elements
Aside from providing a great contrast to your greenery, hardscaping will also take care of those unused spaces in your yard. Stone-based materials are inexpensive, easily sourced and highly durable. They also don’t attract bugs to your garden, much like artificial turf.
Gravel is an ideal lawn alternative to use on those bare areas or to form a path leading to your front door. But if you’re looking for something with a different texture, you can try crushed granite, stone pebbles, and river rocks, too. Larger rocks, meanwhile, make stunning yard fixtures especially when they are incorporated with the overall design. Using some pavers on top of your synthetic lawn can create some interesting effects as well.
Your choice of stone features will largely depend on your preferences and the theme you are following. Work closely with your landscaper to know which options will suit your yard best.
Remove Messy Plants
Using natural plants and trees as part of your low-maintenance lawn design is a good idea to sell the effect, but consider how much mess they can make. Branches, twigs and leaves will fall when autumn comes, and that means more work for you. The surface of your artificial lawn still needs to be brushed or raked from time to time so debris doesn’t get packed onto the surface.
You can save yourself the trouble of powering up the noisy leaf blower or manually sweeping up the leaves if you cut back on the number of plants you have. Or at the very least, replace the most high maintenance plants like the olive tree or jacarandas in your yard with no-fuss garden plants. Drought-tolerant perennials such as the Arizona Yellow Bells, Beargrass, Banana Yucca, Creosote Bush and Paper Flower are excellent alternatives
Using only one or two kinds of plants will give your garden a cohesive appearance and further cut down time spent cleaning up. You also won’t have to prune or water them as much since these plants are widely self-sufficient.
Put Up Some Shade
Adding shade to your backyard not only shields it from the sun, but also helps keep your artificial lawn clear. You won’t have to worry about bird droppings, sticky tree sap, and leaf debris from staining the green surface. The shade will also provide protection from environmental wear so that you can extend the life of your new lawn.
Depending on how much area you want to cover, you can pitch a large tent, hang a colorful awning, put up a shade sail or sun shade, or install retractable canopies. All options allow just enough light and fresh air for your comfort during the day. If you want to use the area at night, you might want to invest in some low-voltage outdoor lighting and walkway lights. The lights can also be used to accentuate some of the best fixtures in your backyard.
Laying down artificial grass opens up a whole new world of possibilities to create a lawn any homeowner would take pride in. Make sure to work with professional artificial grass installation companies, such as Sunburst Landscaping, to bring your vision to life.
Pain in the Grass: Alternatives to High-Maintenance Lawns, TheGuardian.com
Alternatives to Grass Lawns, FamilyHandyman.com