While a classic, green lawn is certainly beautiful, more and more people are considering alternative options. An increasing number of home buyers are turning away from high-maintenance lawns and searching for something that’s both easier and more eco-friendly in terms of water usage. If you’re of a similar mindset but aren’t sure where to start, then check out these 5 great landscape alternatives to lawns.

1. Patios

You’d be hard-pressed to find a lawn alternative that’s easier to maintain than a patio--or one that’s better suited for cookouts and get-togethers. In order to maximize the potential of your yard as far as enjoyment is concerned, make sure you include a shady spot where you can set up your patio furniture and recline safely.

To bring some life back into your patio, install a fountain to give off the sound of running water and accent the edges with a couple of hardy shrubs.

2. Flower Gardens

If you want to take your eco-friendliness to the next level, then fill your yard with a flower garden. Not only will it look aesthetically pleasing, but it’ll give you the opportunity to support beneficial insect and bird species with a variety of pollinator plants.

To ensure that your yard will look nice during multiple seasons, don’t forget to include a blend of annual and perennial plants that will bloom at different points throughout the year.

3. Succulents

If you’re not ready to give up plants entirely but lack a green thumb when it comes to delicate grasses and complex garden layouts of flowers, then succulents might be the ideal replacement for your lawn.

A succulent garden looks best when you mulch it with gravel and will thrive in a hot, dry climate. There are plenty of succulent varieties that will help pollinators as well, such as Pink Sedum stonecrop, propeller plants, and yucca plants.

4. Stone Gardens

When your primary aim in finding a lawn alternative is to cut down on maintenance but you want something more natural and organic than a patio, then you might want to consider a stone garden.

Contrasting stacks of stone or boulders with a gravel or slate pathway can provide plenty of contrast, and you can always push some aside and add decorative grass clumps or shrubs later on. Just like with patios, the splashing water of a fountain will also help accent the beauty of your outdoor space while keeping things from feeling too stark or barren.

5. Ground Cover

Ground cover plants such as Creeping Jenny, lantana, and evergreen moss can provide the perfect, low-impact alternative to lawns. They provide all the gentle greenery that grasses do, but with much lower maintenance and far better water retention.

Mosses are an especially great choice if you have a few trees in your yard since they prefer shadier locations. For full sun, opt for something that’s more light-resistant such as Yellow Alyssum or a creeping juniper.

With an increasing focus on eco-friendly living and a low-maintenance lifestyle, many people are seeking alternatives to traditional lawns. If you prefer to preserve as much greenery as possible and simply want to use less water, then ground cover plants or succulents might be ideal.

To assist local pollinators, even more, try growing a flower garden with a blend of annuals and perennials that will produce through most or all seasons. Lastly, if you’d prefer an entirely different look, opt for a stone garden or a patio instead.

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