Beautiful lawn alternatives | Pacific Nurseries

The lawn is so over.
Beautiful alternatives to consider.

As a Landscape Professional, you should be doing all that you can to encourage beautiful lawn alternatives for your customer’s landscape project.

Why?
Because experts inform us that climate change and hot dry weather is the unfortunate future for the Bay Area.

Top priorities = water conservation + reduced use

According to the Marin Water District | MMWD there are many ways to reduce landscape water use and conserve precious water resources. They include:

  • | Use water-smart plants—especially CA natives
  • | Add mulch to retain soil moisture
  • | Water based on weekly weather conditions
  • | Perform an irrigation system check-up + repair leaks
  • | Install a rain barrel or cistern for rainwater collection
  • | Integrate a laundry-to-landscape gray-water system

But if you want to make the biggest impact on water waste in the landscape, follow the guidance below.
Experts recommend the number one way to reduce water consumption in a Bay Area landscape is lawn replacement.
MMWD and other leading agencies are discouraging new installations of purely decorative grass in residences and around commercial real estate by restricting the use of water supplies for grass care and maintenance.

In fact, MMWD now prohibits the use of water for irrigating any new ornamental lawn in commercial or municipal landscapes.

There is a high price to be paid for installing a lawn of any size in a landscape. As a result, the reasons for considering alternatives continue to increase because lawns require:
Consumption of horrific amounts of water
Unending maintenance + care
Frequent need for chemical fertilizers
Highly susceptible to weed + pest intrusion
Persistent mowing+ trimming
“ It’s probable that severe dry conditions will recur in the Bay Area and continue to threaten our water supply. As a result, eliminating water waste wherever possible to help preserve this precious resource is essential.”
Marin Municipal Water District | MMWD

Time to let your turf mindset go

So what’s a landscape pro to do when their client can’t see anything but freshly mowed turf in their project?

Fortunately, there’s a wide variety of alternatives that can accommodate foot traffic, pets, and plenty of romping on the green. A more thoughtful landscape installation strategy should also include plants that are better adapted to our local conditions and are less demanding on resources.

For those addicted to the turf, you don’t have to go through withdrawal pain by removing every spec of grass from a project.

If your project includes some lawn areas that currently look great in some places but not so great in others, it makes sense to consider replacing only the grass areas in need of improvement.
Beautiful lawn alternatives | Pacific Nurseries
Lawn alternatives offer reduced water use, elimination of toxic chemicals, and less maintenance | Pacific Nurseries

Healthy, practical, and beautiful lawn alternatives

Consider replacing a lawn with ground covers or California native grasses that reduce or eliminate the need for heavy irrigation or the use of toxic chemicals that can have ill effects on your client, pets, and native wildlife.

You can also remove the dreaded chore of grass mowing with ground cover plants. These low-growing plants spread easily in even the toughest sites. They also provide thick coverage that over time will benefit and enrich the soil beneath. Ground covers can also add attractive textures with some varieties that feature seasonal blooms and colorful fall foliage.

With the help of some local Bay Area Landscape Pros, we’ve assembled a group of attractive and water-efficient lawn alternatives worth considering for your project. Check them out below.
“There are so many better alternatives to a lawn. With planning and a thoughtful approach to landscape design, most of our clients come to recognize that the high water requirements of a lawn just don’t make sense today.”
Suzanne Arca | Arca Design Group
Soleirolia soleirolii
Common Name | Baby Tears
Soleirolia soleirolii | Pacific Nurseries
Soleirolia soleirolii | Pacific Nurseries
Soleirolia soleirolii | Baby Tears is a beautiful creeping herb with a delicate appearance that features bright green or yellow leaves and multitudes of tiny white flowers. It grows close to the ground in mats and it prefers shade and moderate moisture. It can die back in winter, but it returns with lush growth as temperatures rise in warmer seasons. It can be aggressive and may need to be cut back to ensure that it does not overwhelm nearby plants.
Isotoma fluviatilis
Common Name | Blue Star Creeper
Isotoma fluviatilis | Pacific Nurseries
Isotoma fluviatilis | Pacific Nurseries
Surprisingly nearly as rugged as ordinary grass, Isotoma fluviatilis | Blue Star Creeper is a ground cover that’s fast-growing and can take heavy foot traffic. It also creates a beautiful floral meadow in the spring and summer.
Herniaria glabra
Common Name | Green Carpet Rupturewort
Beautiful lawn alternatives | Pacific Nurseries
Herniaria glabra | Pacific Nurseries
Herniaria glabra | Green Carpet Rupturewort is an excellent option for replacing a lawn. This beauty has an abundance of tiny leaves that grow very low in a flat manner to create a dense evergreen carpet. It turns a reddish color in winter and has an attractive undulating texture.
Dymondia margaretae
Common Name | Silver Carpet
Dymondia margaretae | Pacific Nurseries
Dymondia margaretae | Pacific Nurseries
Dymondia margaretae | Silver Carpet is a flat, very drought-tolerant ground cover and a great lawn replacement choice. This attractive plant takes heavy foot traffic and works well as a filler between flagstone, pavers, or other confined areas. It normally appears green/silver in color, but when it is dry, the leaves curl and their silver undersides are exposed. It prefers full sun to part shade in sandy soil. It also does well on slopes and grades because of its’ deep root system.
Dichondra repens
Common Name | Lawn Leaf
Dichondra repens | Pacific Nurseries
Dichondra repens | Pacific Nurseries
Dichondra repens | Lawn Leaf is a perennial herb and great lawn substitute that has a creeping and spreading habit. With small kidney and circular shaped leaves, they are covered in fine hair. Tiny yellowish-green flowers can appear on this ground cover at any time of the year and tend to be more pronounced from September to February. It grows well in clay and in shady areas.
“We always guide our clients to sustainable landscapes that require lower water use. This is done by educated plant selection and the elimination or reduction of lawns in their project.”
Daniel Hart | Gachina Landscape Management
Thymus serpyllum
Common Name | Creeping Elfin Thyme
Thymus serpyllum | Pacific Nurseries
Thymus serpyllum | Pacific Nurseries
A very drought tolerant option for lawn replacement is low-growing  Thymus serpyllum | Creeping Elfin Thyme. This fragrant alternative forms a tight solid mat of green foliage that blooms with light pink flowers in summer. It’s a vigorous creeper that stands up well to foot traffic and is perfect for Bay Area locations with lots of sun.
Ajuga reptans
Common Name | Bugleweed
Ajuga reptans | Pacific Nurseries
Ajuga reptans (Bugleweed) | Pacific Nurseries
Ajuga reptans | Ajuga is a low, spreading and dense ground cover. As a lawn alternative in the mint family, it’s evergreen and works well in both sun and shade. It features attractive dark green leaves with purple highlights. Because it spreads so easily, in the wrong location, it can become invasive.
Lysimachia nummularia
Common Name | Creeping Jenny
Lysimachia nummularia | Pacific Nurseries
Lysimachia nummularia | Pacific Nurseries
Lysimachia nummularia | Creeping Jenny is sometimes considered an invasive weed in the yard.  However, this plant will make a great ground cover to replace a lawn. With its yellow blooms and coin-looking foliage, creeping Jenny will easily brighten up shady areas that receive little sun.
Lamium maculatum
Common Name | Spotted Dead-nettle
Lamium maculatum | Pacific Nurseries
Lamium maculatum | Pacific Nurseries
Don’t let the common name Dead Nettle put you off. Lamium maculatum is a very attractive spreading herbaceous perennial ground cover with lovely variegated foliage and stunning spring blooms. It tends to grow higher in spring while during the colder fall and winter seasons, it clings closer to the ground. As a great blooming alternative to mowed turf, this easy to care for plant is one of our favorites.

Open up to beautiful lawn alternatives

For Bay Area landscapes that have perfectly good grass-growing conditions, it makes sense to consider environmental and aesthetic alternatives.

For example, an eco-lawn mix of grasses and flowering plants is a more sustainable approach to a water-efficient landscape.  This combination of plants offers a low-water, low-maintenance meadow-like lawn that can be left to grow with no mowing.
Beautiful lawn alternatives | Pacific Nurseries
Many grasses—including CA natives—require no mowing and are excellent, water-wise lawn replacement choices | Pacific Nurseries
Both Festuca | Fescue and California native grass provide another alternative to the traditional lawn. Fescue grasses are tolerant of everyday wear and tear and can thrive in a variety of conditions throughout the Bay Area.

CA native grasses are also low-maintenance plants that support native wildlife and ecosystems with minimal care. Some popular and attractive choices include Festuca californica, Muhlenbergia rigens, and Carex pansa.

Selective use of ornamental boulders, native rocks, colored mulches, and a wider variety of drought-tolerant plants all provide beautiful alternatives that eliminate the persistent chore of mowing. The secret to success, as always, is using a thoughtful approach to selecting the right plants for the right location in a landscape.

Easier to know what it is

As a Bay Area Landscape Pro, we recognize that you’re familiar with and can identify many plant varieties. But every once in a while, if you find something interesting in our wholesale nursery and you’re unsure of the plant specimen name, you can now instantly know what it is.

We’ve recently updated our plant labels with an easy-to-read design that has been rolled out throughout our Colma Growing grounds.

Lawn replacement help is within reach

If you want to discuss or learn more about lawn replacement alternatives, feel free to contact any of our experts at Pacific Nurseries.

As both a grower and a plant broker, we’re ready to work with you to provide just the right plants that will make your project a water-wise success. It’s one of the many qualities that makes us different from just an ordinary nursery.

Contact us online or just give us a call at 650.755.2330. And if you need a plant material Estimate or would like to place an Order, just click the button below to use our convenient ONLINE ESTIMATE | ORDER FORM.

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