There are many areas of our yards that really do go unused for the purposes of why we have lawns. And the reason we have lawns is to have them be walked on, played on, picnicked on, having a family game of cricket on and so forth.
The other reason we have lawns is for their landscaping appeal and beauty. And for those of us who look deeper into the entire picture of lawns, we also know that they reduce the temperatures of our homes, and thereby reduce air conditioning costs to the home, as well as create massive amounts of clean fresh oxygen each and every day by cleaning and transforming the pollution from the air in the cities in which we live.
So let's look into some one great lawn, and some other lawn alternatives for those unused areas of the yard.
Zoysia Tenuifolia is real grass lawn which is suitable for tropical regions of Australia only.
This is a unique no mowing lawn. It is very tough, has a nice green coloured leaf, loves the full sun, is very drought tolerant has low water requirements, and very low or no fertiliser requirements.
Zoysia Tenuifolia forms a very unique clumping appearance when left alone. Zoysia Tenuifolia is a very slow growing lawn which will only ever reach a very minimum height which are the reasons this is a true no mow lawn. However, when left to grow in this natural state, it will not have that level appearance which most of us want from a lawn.
Alternatively, Zoysia Tenuifolia can be mowed once or twice a year to keep it's appearance more level like other lawns.
Dichondra is a very low growing, ground hugging plant which spreads freely and easily. Dichondra is a great lawn substitute and lawn companion which is suitable for shaded areas, and partially shaded areas only, and will not tolerate full sun areas.
Dichondra also produces beautiful small flowers through the warmer months.
Read more about Dichondra here.
This is another tight ground covering and very low growing Australian native plant which is very similar to Dichondra repens. It prefers partial shade, will not like to grow in full sunlight, and has lovely white and purple flowers through the warmer months.
Unfortunately, Viola hederacea does have high water requirements, and therefore is probably better suited for only smaller shaded areas, under trees, along pathways and between pavers, and will not be suitable as a full lawn substitute in larger sunny areas of the garden.
Once again, these are plants and not lawns, but the smaller varieties can be used as a lawn substitute where the plants will continue to spread and becoming more dense over time. Gaining overall heights of between 15 - 30 cm, Mondo and Liriope lawns can be mowed with a regular lawn mower once a year just before Spring and when the plants first show signs of new growth.
Mondo and Liriope will not really resemble a real lawn, but will instead be an alternative to lawn, to cover yard surfaces where lawns or gardens may not be wanted. These plants are very low maintenance, enjoy full sun and partial shade, and have low water and fertiliser requirements, many types are also frost and cold tolerant.
Read more about Mondo Grass and Liriope lawn substitutes here.
Corsican Mint (Mentha requienii) is a low growing and easily spreading ground cover with a tight leaf structure which can also be used as a lawn alternative, and produces a minty fragrance when walked across. The plant will die back in most Winters, and re-sprout once the warmer weather arrives again. Corsican Mint will also reseed itself, meaning it can spread into garden beds, but is really not a major issue.
While we have included this plant here, we do not generally recommend it as a lawn alternative in an environmentally conservative Australia. Corsican Mint requires a lot of water over Summer, and even in the cooler months or in shaded areas, this plant will still require some ongoing watering.
There are many other lawn substitutes which are constantly being experimented with and developed by the plant, turf and nursery industries, as well as homeowners.
We also encourage homeowners to continue to research, look into, and experiment with other lawn substitute options whenever they are faced with an area of lawn or garden which may no longer be needed as lawns.
Above Capricorn for supplying the Zoysia tenuifolia picture. Above Capricorn promotes and supplies Compadre Zoysia in Australia.