10 No-Grass Backyards You Can Pull Off Anywhere
No grass? No problem. Try concrete instead.
While we can all agree that a lush, green backyard looks gorgeous, grass just doesn’t work for everyone. And grass is definitely not a requirement for a chic and stylish outdoor space. Whether you skip the grass because of your climate, the care and upkeep reasons or simply because of your personal style, there are lots of great options for creating a fabulous grass-free outdoor space.
Contemporary Backyard With Low-Water Landscape
Square concrete paver walkways with Mexican pebble joints connect the studio with the house, fire pit area and nearby concrete patio, and pea gravel makes for a clean and budget-friendly mulch material. Minimal planting, modern details and exterior lighting complete the outdoor space with a polished look.
We've rounded up 10 of our favorite concrete backyard spaces to help get you inspired for your summer outdoor makeover.
Paula Ables Interiors created this shady outdoor dining space using a variety of textures and materials. The combo of gravel and concrete pavers, paired with the painted brick walls and overhead wood slats, helps bring a modern, fresh feel to this backyard.
Modern Concrete Fire Pit
A modern concrete fire pit surrounded by patio chairs with neutral cushions offers a place to enjoy the views. Durable, pebble stones and horizontal blue hardy boards serve as the base for this dynamic space.
This outdoor space by Baran Studio Architecture is an easy, inexpensive solution for unused space in your backyard. Instead of grass, use pea gravel to cover the ground. The homeowners have a built-in fire pit; however, you could easily add a portable fire pit or chiminea for a similar look.
Outdoor Living Room
Modern Seattle Courtyard with Outdoor Furniture
The homeowners, guests and pets can relax on outdoor furniture accented by throw pillows within the shady seclusion of a tall, wood privacy fence. The homeowner had a vision for transforming the space, which was already partially enclosed by a fence and concrete wall, into an outdoor courtyard for entertaining on warm summer evenings.
Coreen Schmidt Photography
If you’re lucky enough to live in a milder climate, you might want to create an outdoor living room like this one by Project Groundwork. With a couple of well-placed pieces of outdoor furniture, you can set up a hangout area. Using gravel and some plants and shrubs, this outdoor space feels super cozy and inviting.
Modern Backyard With L-Shaped Swimming Pool, Concrete Tile Walkway and Gray Cushioned Seating With Striped Throw Pillows
This small backyard takes full advantage of space with a swimming pool, seating areas and beautiful landscape details. Gray tile surrounds the L-shaped swimming pool and matching steps lead down to a tile concrete walkway. The walkway passes a row of gray cushioned seats with striped throw pillows to add cushion and color.
Chang Kyun Kim
Concrete and gravel are also a great choice of materials to use as a pool surround, like this one by Synthesis Builders. They used large concrete pavers to help create a visual distinction between the pool and seating area. The gravel provides a beautiful texture to the backyard.
Drought Resistant Plants in In-Ground Planters
Beach pebble separates the concrete patio from synthetic turf in this contemporary backyard space. In-ground planters break up the monotony of the solid concrete.
Here’s an example of a really clever way to break up a larger concrete outdoor space by landscape architect Angel Carrasco. These small cutouts in the ground filled with plants and shrubs create a break for your eyes and add beautiful pops of color and texture.
Contemporary Backyard Art Studio With Minimalist Landscaping
A concrete paver walkway with Mexican pebble joints leads from the main house to the backyard art studio. Pea gravel is used as a clean, budget-friendly mulch material, and plantings are kept to a minimal for an easy-to-maintain landscape.
If you have a larger backyard and want to add a studio, office or guest house, consider setting up your space like Landwell Design + Build Co. did here. Pea gravel is used as the main groundcover, along with concrete pavers that create the path to the studio. Larger rocks are used in-between the pavers to help better define the walkway.
Wood With Concrete
Modern Pool and Deck with Built-In Shade
A built-in, oversize umbrella offers shade above a modern ipe wood deck in this California backyard. The pool and hot tub are surrounded by planes of white concrete, and a cable rail system continues the space's clean horizontal lines.
Warwick P Hunt
Don’t be afraid to mix concrete with other materials. Here’s a gorgeous outdoor space by Studio H Landscape Architecture that combines a sleek, wood deck with a concrete pool surround. The open wooden fencing echoes the deck style without blocking the view.
Paths With Pavers
Backyard Garden With Walkway and Wall
The visual interest in this home's yard comes from the interesting mix of materials and textures: gravel, concrete planters, a stucco wall, wood fencing. Green and yellow plants fill the space with life.
Here’s another killer example of how great your backyard can look when you're open to mixing materials. This yard by Landwell Design + Build Co. uses larger concrete pavers to establish a path. The low stucco wall helps to further define the space along with all of the drought tolerant landscaping.
You’ve heard of garden beds and flower beds, but what about gravel beds? This beautiful yard by Serquis + Associates Landscape Architecture uses the same idea to establish various spaces and levels throughout the outdoor space. Along with the concrete stairs and thoughtful landscaping, the gravel beds help to create a truly unique outdoor oasis.
Concrete Back Porch
Ranch Style Back Porch With Shade Sail and Yellow Door
Subtle hints of color liven up this chic ranch-style back porch and yard. Neutral shade sails pop against the white exterior and gravel, and one wing of the home features a yellow double door.
The Ranch Mine
Here’s a stylish concrete back porch by The Ranch Mine. Sun sails are used to create shade, while concrete defines the porch area. Surrounded by gravel, trees and green shrubs, the large outdoor space feels completely open and modern.
Cobbles and Pavers
How do you make a drainage easement look beautiful? Luciole Design Inc. found a way to do it by using simple broom finished concrete pavers and installed them over an area that had to be both walkable and fast draining.
Bluestone and Thyme
A walkway created from bluestone steps across a ground cover sea of bright green thyme looks like it was created by nature. An additional color accent comes from the red sedum along the stone wall in this organic design by Exteriorscapes.
Limestone Tile and Irish Moss
If you have a semi-shady area with good drainage in your yard, you might consider this type of walkway (designed by AMS Landscape Design Studios) as an attractive architectural addition. The paving material is Limestone Tile Beaumaniere Light and the green ground cover is Irish moss, which grows well in fairly cool weather.
Crushed Rock and Redwood
Two different style walkways make a striking contrast in this landscape design by Luciole Design. The ground path is crushed rock over a layer of weed barrier fabric. The deck walkway is made out of redwood recycled from an old deck and treated with Superdeck Transparent Stain, 1904 Century Redwood (for the darker sections) and Thompson’s WaterSeal Advanced clear for the remainder.
Crab Orchard Flagstone and Tennessee Fieldstone
There is a rustic simplicity to this garden design by Eric King Landscaping that has Tennessee Fieldstone step stones leading to a garden rest area with a Crab Orchard Flagstone base resting on compacted soil.
A walkway doesn’t have to be perfectly symmetrical or composed of straight lines to draw your eye to the front door. Sometimes employing subtle curves and turns in the design make it more visually interesting as in this pathway from Horizon Landscape Company that is composed of StoneMakers stamped concrete.
The Mediterranean Effect
A delightful alfresco design by Ancient Surfaces generates a seductive Mediterranean vibe in this outdoor space that is highlighted by a grape arbor pathway that leads to an open courtyard of crushed stone and Oolitic Limestone foundation slabs.
Garden Pathway in Perth
It might look like an outdoor setting in the American Southwest but this is actually a residence in Perth, Australia and the stunning walkway by SolScapes is Jarrah timber over a bed of SouthWest Natural River Stone.
Brick and Marble
For the walkway to the entry gate of this Duluth, Georgia residence, brick pavers set in a bed of sand border a stylish marble centerpiece creating a look that is suggestive of an architectural style prevalent in classic southern homes in Charleston, South Carolina.
This long, visually appealing walkway to the front door looks like cobblestone pavers but are actually concrete pavers. To create a smooth separation between the path and front door area, the size and pattern of the pavers change to denote a stylistic transition in this design by Think Architecture.
Boulder Steps and Pea Gravel
For a rustic backyard garden effect, Landscape Studio Group created this natural looking pathway of Tennessee fieldstone boulder steps and Chattahoochee pea gravel with a black locust timber railing.
Cottage Garden Pathway
A wild, almost untamed natural landscape and its many shades of green are complimented by an irregular flagstone walkway that blends naturally into the overall composition created by Dear Garden Associates, Inc.
A gently twisting walkway that sinuously snakes its way to the front door is part of the appeal of this natural flowing design from Horizon Landscape Company using StoneMakers stamped concrete.
Antique granite cobble pavers are used for walkways with a millstone as the central focus to mark the intersecting paths in this vegetable garden design from Dear Garden Associates Inc.