Consider a "no lawn" backyard design to maximize the use of a small yard and create outdoor living areas!
Take a look at how I was able to "stretch" the use of my client, Larry Solomon's tiny backyard into three distinct areas.
Trust me, you won't miss the lawn when you are enjoying every square inch of your precious outdoor real estate as Larry does!
Take a moment to visit the other blogger's sites noted at the end of this post for more lawn alternative ideas.
Before the Backyard Makeover
Before: Left side of backyard- future dining area
What a mess!
My client, Larry inherited this construction-worn backyard and was trusting in me to create miracles.
Larry's idea of the perfect backyard included a spot to lounge, an outdoor dining area to entertain guests, a relaxing fountain and a beautiful garden.
While his tiny plot measured only 45 feet wide by 30 feet deep, I was able to envision Larry's future outdoor living sanctuary with all of his details almost immediately!
Before: I marked the future dining, garden and lounge areas with landscaping paint. Great visual aide.
Larry's future landscape design did not include a lawn area and I was confident that he would be open to the idea.
My arguments were:
- No lawn, no mowing. Less maintenance.
- No lawn, no heavy watering. Smaller watering bill.
- No lawn, no boring "tract lot" backyard!
Far right corner of the backyard- future lounge area
Doors leading to backyard. Notice no solid outdoor floors.
The Garden Makeover Plan
- Create an outdoor dining area large enough for their antique table and chairs using recycled concrete for the patio floor.
- Design a small, year-round perennial garden with fountain that divides the eating area from the new lounge area.
- Install a small patio for two chaise lounges. Recycled concrete floors.
- Create a new "landing area" for the french doors leading from the house to the backyard.
- Small pad for portable BBQ
- Decomposed granite and recycled concrete "flagstone" meandering footpath leading to each space.
- Water-wise plants throughout.
Let's see how we did.
We measured the table and bench to the patio to make sure there was enough space to walk around and sit down.
After: Dining area. We removed two small palm trees to make room for the new dining furniture.
After: The small fountain and garden bed separates the dining from the lounge areas.
After: Ornamental grasses and low water perennials provide year round color in the garden.
After: New double chaise lounge feels intimate and inviting!
After: Affordable decomposed granite and recycled concrete "flagstone" footpath is softened by velvety, ground-hugging Thyme!
After- We installed recycled concrete pieces for the landing outside of the french doors and created a pad for the portable BBQ unit as well.
After: Another view of the dining area.
The pathway leads to a narrow side yard that I also made over.
Read "Narrow Side Yard Makeover" for a complete story of this yard.
View of new dining area from the narrow side yard leading to back yard
Garden Design Details
Dwarf citrus trees are planted in containers placed in small, narrow garden beds to maximize space.
Festuca glauca softens the edges of the cobble stone
The intimate lounge area is surrounded by fragrance and water
Small, No-Lawn Backyard in Video!
My client Larry was such a good sport to let us tape in his yard, he even appeared in the TV show!
Although we have fun and act a little goofy in the video, we offer solid advice about Mediterranean plants and cold damage!
Don't limit the use of your yard by thinking that a lawn is a "must have."
If you have small children, a dog or truly enjoy the use of a lawn, then by all means, plant a lawn if it makes you happy.
I like the Eco-Lawn or UC Verde lawn because they need less water to thrive than other conventional lawns, no fertilizing and require less mowing.
Maximize the use of your yard for YOUR needs, don't just lay wall to wall sod without considering the alternatives!
Hungry for more "lawn less" garden designs?
Posts About Lawn-Less Landscapes
I'm Not Finished….
Now check out posts about lawn replacement from these Lawn Reform Coalition members:
- Evelyn Hadden in Saint Paul, MN
- Saxon Holt in Novato, CA
- Ginny Stibolt in Green Cove Springs, FL
- Susan Morrison in East Bay, CA
- Shirley Bovshow in Los Angeles, CA
- Susan Harris in Takoma Park, MD
And these members of the Garden Designers Roundtable:
- Scott Hokunson in Granby, CT
- Rochelle Greayer in Boston, MA
- Rebecca Sweet in Los Altos, CA
- Pam Penick in Austin, TX
- Lesley Hegarty & Robert Webber in Bristol, UK
- Laura Liven Good Schaub in San Jose, CA
- Jocelyn Chilvers in Denver, CO
- Ivette Soler in Los Angeles, CA
- Genevieve Schmidt in Arcata, CA
- Douglas Owens-Pike in Minneapolis, MN
- Debbie Roberts in Stamford, CT