White Flowers In Green Grass
Chamomile lawn
(Image credit: VIDOK)

These days there's a lot of controversy surrounding using grass in your lawn, especially in areas where water is restricted. Grass can also cause problems for busy or older people who may not have the time or the desire to maintain a lawn that needs to be cut and watered frequently. Or maybe you just want to be more environmentally responsible. Whatever your reasons are for wanting to replace your lawn's grass with something else, you have many options when looking at lawn substitutes.

Using Chamomile for the Lawn

One option is to replace your grass with chamomile. Chamomile is an aromatic herb that is quite pretty to look at. Chamomile has feathery leaves and during the summer it has a white and daisy-like flower. For centuries, Chamomile has been used all around the world as a ground cover. It can take a medium amount of wear and when you walk on the chamomile it releases a lovely smell. Chamomile is best used in lawns that are not high-traffic areas.

Using Thyme for the Lawn

Another choice is thyme. Thyme is another aromatic herb. If you would like to use thyme as a lawn substitute, you'll need to make sure that you choose the correct kind of thyme. The kind of thyme that you normally use to cook with will grow too tall to be used as a lawn substitute. You'll need to choose either creeping thyme or woolly thyme. Both of these thymes are low-growing and work best as lawn substitutes. Thyme will also release in a nice scent when it is walk on. Thyme is a medium wear ground cover. Thyme should not be used for high-traffic lawn areas.

Using White Clover for the Lawn

Another option for a lawn substitute is white clover. Many grass fans consider white clover a weed but, in fact, white clover makes a great lawn substitute. White clover can hold up to high traffic better than many other ground covers and is low-growing. It makes a good lawn substitute for areas like children's play areas and high traffic walkways. That being said, in areas like these, you may want to be mindful of the blooms, which attract pollinating bees. Additionally, while it can handle foot traffic fairly well, mixing the white clover in with grass will provide even more stability. It also will grow in many places where you may have trouble growing grass. Not to mention your children will spend hours hunting through your lawn for the elusive four-leaf clover.

Creating a Nonliving Lawn

Another option for a lawn substitute is a nonliving lawn substitute. Some people are beginning to use either pea gravel or recycled tumbled glass. Both of these options are considerably more expensive but once the initial investment is made, your lawn becomes relatively maintenance-free. There are no further expenses related to watering, mowing, or fertilizing the lawn. The long-term cost savings of using a nonliving lawn substitute will eventually make up for your initial investment.

Benefits to Using Lawn Substitutes

Using a lawn substitute is more environmentally friendly. Lawn substitutes typically require less water. Lawn substitutes also need little or no mowing which reduces the number of greenhouse gases that are released into the air. If you live in an area that requires you to restrict your water usage or an area that has frequent ozone alerts, a lawn substitute may be your best option. You should not feel pressured into going with the typical grass lawn. The fact of the matter is a "typical" grass lawn may not be the best option for where you live or your lifestyle. A lawn substitute may really be the best choice for your yard.

Heather Rhoades
Founder of Gardening Know How

Heather Rhoades founded Gardening Know How in 2007. She holds degrees from Cleveland State University and Northern Kentucky University. She is an avid gardener with a passion for community, and is a recipient of the Master Gardeners of Ohio Lifetime Achievement Award.