10 Homeowners Who Decided to Rip Out Their Lawns—and Why

To mow or not to mow? This question is at the heart of a nationwide movement against lawns and in favor of more sustainable landscapes. These ten homeowners and garden enthusiasts created unique, beautiful lawnless yards—and you can too.

  1. Choose a New Way

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    Reasons to rip out lawn

    Perfect lawns are an American past-time, but Jennifer Chesak chose a new way. In her article for The Washington Post, Chesak bucks tradition and instead chooses hardscaping, with thyme and sedum growing through the pavers. She even managed to impress her lawn-loving Dad.

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  2. Begin with a Goal

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    Goals fot a lawn-free yard

    Start by setting an intention. According to Susan Morrison, an avid landscaper and blogger, it’s important to have a clear idea of why you want a no-lawn yard. Get plenty of inspiration with these 10 grass-free alternatives to traditional lawn, including succulents, creeping ground cover, wildflowers, and moss.

    Related: The Dos and Don'ts of Planting Ground Cover

    istockphoto.com

  3. Help Save Water

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    Xeriscaped yard

    We can all learn how to be better at water conservancy from citizens like Jeff Collins, who lives in the drought-prone state of California. Choosing to xeriscape is one step toward lessening the amount of water you use to care for your outdoor space, which the Environmental Protection Agency estimates as 1/3 of all residential water use in America.

    istockphoto.com

  4. Love Native Plants

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    Native plants yard

    In Lansing, Michigan and Denver, Colorado, some residents are replacing their labor-intensive lawns with native plants and wildflowers, promoting biodiversity. Planting native flora is also a good way to support honeybee and songbird populations, which rely on the nectar and seeds for food.

    istockphoto.com

  5. Plant Your Food

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    Food garden in front yard

    Ivette Soler loved her lawn-less garden so much, she wrote a book about it. In "The Edible Front Yard," Soler shows that organic food can co-exist with curb-appeal. The key is to find ornamental and edible plants that work well together. Check out Food Not Lawns for another great online resource.

    istockphoto.com

  6. Make Space to Create

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    No-mow yard

    If the thought of gardening seems daunting, take heart. Evelyn Hadden’s "Beautiful No-Mow Yards" provides 50 lawn alternatives that are easy to install and maintain. She reminds us that gardening is a true creative endeavor—freeing and fulfilling.

    Related: 20 Things You Should Never Leave Out in the Yard

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  7. Make Time for Fun

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    Fun yard

    Mowing the lawn can be a big chore. Grassy lawns can also be “boring,” according to Saxon Holt, a member of the Lawn Reform Coalition. His approach to landscaping goes beyond plant choice and sustainability. He calls on us to exercise our “sense of fun” and “our American sense of individuality.”

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  8. Grow Community

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    Community building yard

    Artist Fritz Haeg founded Edible Estates to build community—locally and globally. His gardens are collaborative projects, with regional plant lists published online. So whether you live in Minnesota, Maryland, or Israel, you can recreate an edible estate in your own front yard.

    Related: The Best Things You Can Do for Your Lawn and Garden in Under a Minute

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  9. Embrace Your Wild Side

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    Wildflowers yard

    For a magical, storybook feel, nothing compares to a yard full of wildflowers. That’s what William and Ellen Grickis wanted to achieve when they moved into their 18th century farmhouse in Rhode Island. Their colorful sea of regional wildflowers is also low-water and low-maintenance.

    istockphoto.com

  10. Find Balance

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    Natural pest prevention

    When Starre Varten moved onto 40 acres of land in Oregon’s Coast Range, she realized that pest-control can be achieved without pesticides or herbicides. “Between the birds and the bats, pounds of insects are devoured each day… I've found that I have fewer pests, because it is a balanced system.”

    istockphoto.com

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