The green gardening movement is also highlighting the negative ecological impact of grass lawns and providing eco-friendly, sustainable alternatives as recommended by a landscape architect in Orange County.

Xeriscaping, on the other hand, is getting a lot of attention in Southern California. It is landscaping designed to reduce or eliminate the need for irrigation. It’s the perfect solution for people in drought-prone areas who want a gorgeous front garden for curb appeal and a relaxing backyard for personal enjoyment.

A Landscape Architect Improves Your Carbon Footprint

There are many reasons why a lush lawn is bad for the environment. For instance, mowing the lawn for an hour produces as much pollution as driving 100 miles. Lawns release nitrous oxide (N2O), and just one gram of N2O is nearly 300 times worse than the same CO2 emission.

US homeowners use 9 billion gallons of water on their lawns every day! What could be worse is that lawn care in dry climates and arid regions adds up to 60% of household water use. Think of the environmental difference you can make by simply removing or reducing your lawn and introducing creative, alternative landscaping ideas instead.

There are grass types that are low-mow or no-mow, so you needn’t give up your lawn entirely, but there are so many other options available that you can let your imagination run free.

Eco-Friendly Lawn Replacements

Your eco-friendly choices for lawn alternatives include anything from artificial grass and decking to mulch gardens and ground cover.

Ground Cover

You have the option to use ground-covering plants as complete lawn replacements or reduce lawn by creating fairy circles and other little floral patterns in the grass. It’s always a good idea to use a ground cover that is native to your area and to be aware of which groundcovers are an invasive species in your state.

Safe ground cover generally includes:

  • Carpet sedum or stonecrop – An evergreen pollinator succulent that is drought- and heat-resistant and thrives in poor soil.
  • Creeping thyme – Perennial pollinators with beautiful little purple flowers that are low-maintenance.
  • Corsican mint – Rich ground cover that does well in the shade and pops with lilac blossoms. It still requires fertilizer and water, but it needs virtually no mowing, and you can use it in cooking and baking.

Native Plants

Native plants grow naturally in the area and require little in the way of maintenance. A native plant garden also encourages the presence of native birds, bees, and butterflies, which are great for the local ecosystem.

You can find native plants for your area on the National Wildlife Federation’s native plant finder.

Wildflower Meadows

Wildflower meadow grass alternatives consist of native wildflowers that are low-maintenance—and only need to be mowed once a year—with low watering requirements and are fertilizer, and herbicide-free. 

Contact a landscape architect to help you plan and plant your meadow to get the right balance of flowers, colors, and grasses for your backyard.

Examples of wildflowers include:

  • Black-eyed Susan
  • Yarrow
  • Purple cornflower
  • Aster
  • Golden Alexander

Low-Mow and No-Mow Grasses

In addition to reducing pollution from lawnmowers, these grasses don’t need much water or fertilizer. As a rule, cooler climates work best for hard fescue and fescue mixed grasses. In warmer climates, planting buffalograss and centipedegrass works best. 

  • Fescue grass types need to be mowed once, maybe twice a year.
  • Buffalograss only needs to be mowed once a year in springtime, although it still needs some watering and fertilization.
  • Centipedegrass requires more mowing than the other two types of grass, but still not as much as a typical lawn. It needs to be watered, but not often.

Rain Gardens

Rain gardens save water and filter rainwater so that chemicals aren’t dumped into the local water sources. They need a lot of planning because they have to be laid out in a way that maximizes their efficiency.

A landscape architect can help you establish a beautiful and efficient rain garden.

Rock Gardens

Rock gardens are perfect for hot, dry climates. In addition to a range of rocks, pebbles, stepping stones, gravel, and even boulders, you can include some succulents, a water feature, and ground covers, such as clover or moss. 

You can experiment with colors, textures, and shapes, just be sure to edge them properly, so they don’t spill over onto walkways. 

Mulch Gardens

Mulch doesn’t have to be reserved for enriching the soil for plants to grow. It can be used as a standalone garden feature. Include a lot of bark, wood chips, and gravel to bulk it out, edge out some flower beds or herb and vegetable gardens for focal points and lay down pavers for an interesting landscaping effect. 

Talk to a landscape designer for more ideas on using mulch as a lawn alternative


Hardscaping is a great way to reduce lawns and replace them with beautiful features, practical space, and areas of interest.

Hardscaping options include:

  • Patios and decks
  • Water features and feature walls
  • Outdoor kitchens and fire pits
  • Pavers and boundary walls


Xeriscaping has become especially popular in Southern California due to its drought resistance and low water requirements. The whole idea is to use native plants and shrubs to create interesting and eye-catching garden spaces. 

Cacti feature strongly, but plants like agave, juniper, and lavender are also drought-resistant and add splashes of color. You can create a little herb garden in an edged-out section and grow thyme, sage, and oregano. So, xeriscaping is not as limited as you might think.

Xeriscaping can be included in hardscaping, mulch gardens, and rock gardens to enhance the look of the designs. In California, xeriscaping can cut daily household water use by 120 gallons per day. Xeriscaped gardens are said to reduce water consumption by up to 75%.

Leave the Lawn and Get Creative With Landscape Architects in Orange County

There are so many ways in which you can replace your environmentally-unfriendly grass lawn. Our team of landscape architect professionals has been providing landscaping services and designing lovely outdoor living areas in Orange County for more than 20 years.

For your Orange County property, our team offers all facets of premium landscaping plans and landscape architect services. We are an established landscape architect company servicing the people of Orange County because we deliver the knowledge, skill, workmanship, and magnificent landscape design that your house deserves.

Write down your ideas and contact us at 714-235-3294 Calimingo Pools today!

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