Goodbye Grass: 13 Inspiring Ideas for a "No Mow" Backyard

Americans love our lawns but let's face it: Creating a perfectly manicured yard is time-consuming. Just think about all the weekend hours you've spent cutting, watering, fertilizing, and weeding the grass. And even after all that hard work, it may still not be perfect. But we've got a little landscaping secret for you. Ditching the lawn doesn't mean giving up on your space. In fact, some of the most luxurious, green and well-designed yards don't have a single blade of grass. So what are you waiting for? Click through to find incredible no-mow ideas that could forever change your outlook—and your lawn.

  1. A Potted Garden

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    Container Garden

    What's a flat, manicured lawn next to an exciting and colorful container garden? Trade in your lawn mower and for a simple spade and watering can. Caring for a container garden is a cinch, and the options for plantings are endless. Be sure to position your colorful planters throughout the yard for welcoming cheer and color.


    Related: 6 Pro Tips for Successful Container Gardening

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  2. Tropical Canopy

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    Tropical Backyard

    Transform your flat landscape into a vertical oasis with trees that offer privacy and shade. Many trees will take years to mature to their full height so if you'd rather not wait, consider fully grown dwarf varieties of palms or evergreens—even large potted rubber trees or ficus plants. Whatever you choose, remember to check your hardiness zone before planting.


    Related: 11 Ideas for Better Backyard Privacy

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  3. Raise Your Yard to the Next Level

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    Raised Planter Boxes

    Converting a lawn into a garden with raised planters provides a variety of benefits. Because you're not planting directly into the ground, you'll reduce the need to weed and till. They require less water than container gardens and make harvesting vegetables a snap. They’re not just for vegetables, though. Perennials, annuals and ornamental grasses do extremely well in raised beds.


    Related: Landscape Edging—10 Easy Ways to Set Your Garden Beds Apart

    Zillow Digs home in Paoli, PA

  4. Much About Mulch

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    Ground Cover Mulch

    Organic mulches like cedar or pine bark chips can be used to replace grass quite easily for a rustic ground cover. Before you lay the mulch down, lay landscaping cloth on the bare soil to prevent weeds from growing to the surface. For dog owners, make sure to avoid Cocoa hull mulch—it’s lethal to pooches.


    Related: How To—Mulch Your Flower Beds

    flickr.com/via chris riebschlager

  5. Fake It

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    Artificial Lawn

    If you’ve been dreaming about a lush, green lawn but can't bear to uproot another dandelion, then artificial turf may be your perfect solution. The new fake grass is stain-resistant and offers excellent drainage. The best part is that it will always stay green without any maintenance.


    Related: The Invincible Yard—12 Ideas for Lazy Landscaping

    Zillow Digs home in San Clemente, CA

  6. Put in a Patio

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    Concrete Patio

    Turn your backyard into a concrete jungle with a lovely new patio. Stamped concrete, patio pavers, or natural stone will create a stunning and functional space. Surround the perimeter with lush ornamental grasses and colorful flowers. Or brighten the space with a few well-placed containers brimming with greenery. You won't even miss the lawn.


    Related: Cement Your Place in DIY History with These 9 Easy Concrete Projects

    flickr.com / via lovemaegan

  7. Keep It Simple

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    Ground Cover

    For some, a rainbow of blooms is a crowning achievement in the garden, but for others, simplicity is perfection. If no-nonsense greenery is your idea of great design, then replace the lawn with a low-growing perennial like creeping Jenny or thyme. Like grass, these ground covers can stand up to foot traffic but with the added advantage of being mow-free. Go ahead and celebrate.


    Related: The Best Low-Maintenance Ground Covers for Your Garden

    flickr.com / via patrickstandish

  8. Rock Out

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    Rock Garden

    To achieve a mix of colors and textures, create a rock garden with stones and flowers. The rugged simplicity of the rocks will contrast nicely with the vibrant blooms, creating a one-of-a-kind backyard feature. Plus, once the flowers fade off in the winter, you'll still enjoy the boulders scattered throughout your property. 


    Related: The Best Places to Buy Plants Online

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  9. Outdoor Living

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    Outdoor Living Space

    Want to make the most of your yard? Expand your living space to the outdoors! Whip up a second living room with patio furniture, install an outdoor kitchen, or build a dedicated bonfire pit — the options are endless!


    Related: 10 Outdoor Living Ideas to Steal from California

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  10. Make Room for Moss

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    Moss Lawn

    Another way to ensure your lawn stays lush year-round: planting a moss garden. Homeowners can simply pull out their grass and replace with a carpet of moss; in return, they get a yard that doesn't need weeding or watering. Plus, moss looks equally lovely in good and bad soil conditions!


    Related: 8 Plants You Can Grow Without Soil

    istockphoto.com

  11. Make a Splash

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    Backyard Water Feature

    Not only are water features easy to maintain, they also create an interesting focal point in your garden. Consider replacing some of your grass with fountains, ponds, super-sized bird baths, and more.


    Related: 11 Ways to Buy Your Garden on the Internet

    istockphoto.com

  12. Go Long

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    Ornamental Grass in Backyard

    If you're not ready to part with grass completely, make a show-stopping display with ornamental grasses. The long blades are a low-maintenance alternative to a traditional lawn, requiring only occasional trimming throughout the year. Homeowners will find countless varieties to choose from at home and garden centers. 


    Related: The 10 Best Things You Can Do for Your Lawn

    istockphoto.com

  13. Go for Gravel

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    Gravel Yard

    For a simple solution to neglected backyards, replace your grass with gravel. The tiny stones look modern and architectural, and when implemented properly, homeowners won't even miss the greenery. 


    Related: 12 Backyard Updates You Can Do in a Day

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  14. See the House of the Week

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    Discover and admire beautiful and innovative home architecture, from grand Victorians to quaint cabins and all the styles in between. Take a look at the latest images and inspiration!