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The lawn is so over: Beautiful alternatives to consider.

Lawn Alternatives | Pacific Nurseries
Experts inform us that climate change and hot dry weather is the unfortunate future for the Bay Area.

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

There are many reasons for considering lawn replacement or alternative solutions because a lawn requires:

  • | Consumption of horrific amounts of water
  • | Unending maintenance + care
  • | Frequent need for chemical fertilizers
  • | Highly susceptible to weed + pest intrusion

And did we forget to mention that it has to always be mowed?

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 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.

Healthy, Practical, and Beautiful lawn alternatives

Consider ground covers or eco-lawn varieties that reduce or eliminate the need for mowing, heavy irrigation, or the use of toxic chemicals that can have ill effects on your client, pets, native wildlife, or others.

With ground cover plants, you can eliminate the dreaded chore of mowing the grass. These low-growing plants spread easily in even the toughest sites, providing thick coverage that will eventually benefit the soil beneath. Ground covers can also add appealing texture, with some varieties having seasonal blooms and colorful fall foliage.

Trifolium repens

Common Name | White Clove
Clover | Pacific Nurseries
Clover (Trifolium repens) | Pacific Nurseries
White clover | Trifolium repens is a low-growing, herbaceous, perennial plant that features three leaves on creeping stems with many small, whitish flowers that can have a tinge of pink as the plant ages. As a hardy lawn alternative, it prefers clay soils and is very effective in out-competing with weeds.

Isotoma fluviatillis

Common Name | Blue Star Creeper
Blue Star Creeper | Pacific Nurseries
Blue Star Creeper (Isotoma fluviatillis) | Pacific Nurseries
Surprisingly nearly as rugged as ordinary grass, Blue Star Creeper | Isotoma fluviatillis is a ground cover that’s fast-growing and can take heavy foot traffic. It creates a floral meadow in the spring and summer.

Herniaria glabra

Common Name | Smooth Rupturewort
Beautiful lawn alternatives | Pacific Nurseries
Rupturewort (Herniaria glabra) | Pacific Nurseries
Another good option is the Green Carpet Rupturewort | Herniaria glabra This beauty has an abundance of tiny leaves that grow in a very low flat manner to create a dense evergreen carpet. It turns a reddish color in winter and has a great undulating texture.

Matricaria chamomilla

Common Name | German Chamomile
Chamomile | Pacific Nurseries
Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla)| Pacific Nurseries
There are many easy-care varieties of aromatic plants that trigger their pleasant scents when exposed to foot traffic. Popular choices include Chamomile | Matricaria chamomilla and Pennyroyal | Hypnum.


Common Name | Sheet Moss
Beautiful lawn alternatives | Pacific Nurseries
Sheet Moss (Hypnum) | Pacific Nurseries
If your project or installation has a lot of shade and not much sun, consider Sheet Moss | Hypnum. It’s easy to cultivate and stands up to foot traffic. It forms a low dense mat, making it a favored lawn alternative.

Thymus serpyllum

Common Name | Creeping Elfin Thyme
Elfin Thyme | Pacific Nurseries
Elfin Thyme (Thymus Serphyllum) | Pacific Nurseries
A very drought tolerant option for lawn replacement is low-growing Elfin Thyme | Thymus serpyllum. 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 great for sunny areas.

Ajuga reptans

Common Name | Bugleweed
Ajuga| Pacific Nurseries
Ajuga reptans (Bugleweed) | Pacific Nurseries
Ajuga | Ajuga reptans  is a creeping evergreen that works well in both sun and shade. Varieties with purple foliage are also available.

Lysimachia nummularia

Common Name | Creeping Jenny
Creeping Jenny | Pacific Nurseries
Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia) | Pacific Nurseries
Creeping Jenny | Lysimachia nummularia 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 the lawn, especially in more shady areas.

Lamium maculatum

Common Name | Spotted Dead-nettle
Spotted Deadnettle | Pacific Nurseries
Spotted Deadnettle (Lamium maculatum)| Pacific Nurseries
Don’t let the name Dead Nettle | Lamium maculatum put you off. This is a very attractive ground cover with lovely variegated foliage and stunning spring blooms.

Open up to beautiful lawn alternatives

Dropping turf grass for various other plants is a grass replacement option that seems to be catching on. For projects that have perfectly good grass growing conditions, it makes sense to consider environmental and aesthetic alternatives.

Rather than scrap grass altogether, consider an eco-lawn mix of grasses and flowering plants. They offer a low-water, low-maintenance meadow-like lawn that can be left to grow with less frequent mowing.

Both Fescue | Festuca and ornamental grasses 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.

Native grasses are also low-maintenance plants that make great lawn alternatives. There are numerous types to choose from including fescue. Consider choosing a variety that is acclimated to your area because it will increase your chances of a successful installation.

Selective use of ornamental boulders, native rocks, colored mulches, and a wider variety of drought-tolerant plants all provide beautiful alternatives that require less care. The secret to success, as always, is using the right plant in the right place and our team is ready to help you with your selection.

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.

What’s your favorite turf alternative?

Have you recently installed a great lawn replacement alternative? Share your insights with our landscape pro community.

2 Responses

  1. I would be grateful if you would let me know if you have available seeds and whether you can deliver it to London:
    Trigolium repens
    Isotonic fluviatillis
    Hernia rip Glabra
    Matrix aria chamomile
    Thymus serpyllum
    Lysimachia nummularia
    Sagina subtula

  2. Thank you for this helpful article. I live in Yakima WA and we have hot summers and bitter cold winters. I have a red rock garden in front of our house and I absolutely detest it. I needed a different solution that was easy and not going to break the bank or my back. I was faced with either completely removing the vast quantities of red rock and replacing it. Or completely removing the faded red rock and trying to grow grass. I never knew there was a solution such as ground cover plants. I’ve already bought the seeds for rupture wort green carpet. 🙂

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