12 Ideas for Landscaping Without Grass

No grass? No problem with these landscaping designs from around the country.

Photo By: Photo courtesy of Serenbe

Photo By: Photo courtesy of Jeffrey Gordon Smith Landscape Architecture

Photo By: Photo courtesy of Miriam's River House Designs

Photo By: Photo courtesy of the Atlanta Botanical Garden/Brian Gassel

Photo By: Photo courtesy of Folia Horticultural + Design

Photo By: Photo courtesy of Renewal Design Build

Photo By: Photo courtesy of Ahmed Hassan

Photo By: Photo courtesy of Miriam's River House Designs

Photo By: Photo courtesy of Courtenay Vanderbilt

Photo By: Photo courtesy of Courtenay Vanderbilt

Photo By: Photo courtesy of Pinnacle Lighting Group

Photo By: Photo courtesy of Grady McWhorter

Elegant Elements

The terrace garden of an English-inspired cottage offers a number of distinctive design ideas. Missy Madden & H. Todd Yeager of Bellweather Landscape Architects created a parterre using low-growing plants - blue star creeper and dwarf mondo grass - for its Cotswold-style courtyard and garden. Ferns and lamb's ears are among plantings beyond the gravel pathway. Emerald arborvitae screen the property, in Georgia's Serenbe community.

Contemporary Courtyard

The courtyard of a California beach home lacked a strong connection to the entryway. For an update that maintained the modern look, Jeffrey Gordon Smith Landscape Architecture created a unique area with a narrow, staggered pavers and pebbles in gray tones, plus a custom water feature and tall planters.

Solar System

Circles are repeated using different materials and textured in the "Sun and Moon Garden" planned by Miriam's River House Designs, based in Ohio. The garden is pattered after the solar system, with the "sun and moon being closely related as the two bodies that constantly reflect light upon earth," as described by designers Nancy and Cliff Drobnick.

Charming Courtyard

A urn-shaped fountain centers the courtyard of a country-style manor home in Atlanta. Landscape architect Alec Michaelides of Land Plus Associates extended the covered outdoor spaces into the garden, using materials such as stone and rock, and planting 'Annabelle' hydrangeas and boxwoods.

Circles and Squares

Folia Horticultural + Design began with a flat surface, poured in the square slabs and hand-placed every stone (black flat Mexican river rock) to create the contemporary garden. The granite orbs - weighing at least a couple hundred pounds - are aligned with Pittosporum shrubs


Water Feature

Adding a waterfall with natural stone can be a creative use of a space lacking grass. For this home in a historic Atlanta neighborhood, the existing stone steps lead to a new deck that was part of an award-winning whole house renovation by Renewal Design Build.

Instant Appeal

For a side yard on a hill in California, landscape designer Ahmed Hassan, who has hosted HGTV and DIY Network shows, brought in mulch and stone pavers, instead of covering it with sod. Plants of various sizes soften the look of the space without blocking the views.

Lawn Substitute

Moss and herb wreaths are embedded in a stone floor designed by Ohio-based Miriam's River House Designs.  The stones are surrounded by thyme and coarse blue star creeper, a fast-growing ground cover.

Walk This Way

Having a woodland garden with no grass gave Master Gardener Courtenay Vanderbilt a huge opportunity to learn how to work within her environment. A mulch path lined with rocks leads through an arbor and alongside plants she added, such as Madison star jasmine, hosta 'Minuteman' and frost-proof gardenia.

Into the Woodland

Master gardener Courtenay Vanderbilt worked with the lack of grass in her shady Georgia garden to bring in stone, foliage plants such as hostas, and flowering plants of various heights (including pink 'George Taber' azaleas and Viburnum ‘Shasta’). She focused on adding texture and color to her woodland garden.

Dive Into Stone

Some in-ground pools have grass around them, partly to add texture and soften the space. For this property, stone creates a cohesive look from the home to the hot tub.

Scenic Walkway

A concrete walkway accented with brick pavers leads to a stone waterfall and down to a creek. The homeowner, Master Gardener Grady McWhorter, also carved out areas for flowers that bring pinks, yellows and other hues to the wooded Georgia property.

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