Want to save water and create a gorgeous, eco-friendly landscape? Discover five reasons why replacing grass with low-water-use groundcovers and plants may be a good idea. Learn how this simple change can enhance your outdoor space and help the environment.
As we increasingly feel the impact of a warming climate, the need for sustainable landscaping practices becomes more critical. There may be times and areas where grass is a good option for a landscape. However, if the grass is not being utilized, it might be time to consider replacing unused grass lawns with low-water-use groundcovers.
Defining Low-Water-Use Groundcovers
Low-water-use groundcovers are plants that require minimal irrigation once established. These could include a variety of species, such as clover, succulents, creeping thyme, wildflowers, native perennials, or drought-resistant shrubs. They are especially beneficial in regions such as the desert southwest, where water is scarce or where conservation is a priority. The type of groundcovers to plant will vary, depending on your region.
Now, let’s delve into a few reasons why low-water-use groundcovers make an excellent alternative to traditional grass lawns.
Why Choose Low-Water-Use Groundcovers? The Advantages of Low-Water-Use Groundcovers Over Traditional Grass
1. Water Conservation
Traditional lawns require substantial amounts of water to maintain, especially during the summer in hot climate areas. In contrast, low-water-use groundcovers need less water. By choosing these plants, you can reduce outdoor water use, contributing to overall water conservation efforts.
According to the Arizona Department of Water Resources, “The largest use of potable water in Arizona is for landscaping, and as much as 70 percent of residential water use is outdoors.” Reducing our outdoor water use is a crucial goal to work towards.
2. Reduced Maintenance
Unlike traditional lawns that require regular mowing, fertilizing, and pest control, groundcovers are generally low-maintenance. If you put the right plant in the right location (sunlight exposure, size, soil type), it will require little maintenance or trimming.
3. Beauty and Enhanced Biodiversity
Groundcovers offer a wide range of textures, colors, and flowering times, providing visual interest throughout the year. Unlike grass, which tends to have a uniform appearance, groundcovers can be selected for their contrasting foliage, vibrant flowers, and unique growth habits.
Groundcovers provide shelter, food, and nesting sites for various wildlife, including birds, butterflies, beneficial insects, and pollinators. By creating a habitat for these creatures, groundcovers contribute to a healthier ecosystem.
4. Stronger and Healthier Trees
The water needs of turf lawns and trees are different. If trees are in grass areas, their roots often stay close to the surface and can compete with the grass for water.
Trees need deep, infrequent watering so that their roots reach down and establish a strong anchor in the soil. This helps them withstand adverse weather and windy conditions better than shallow-rooted trees planted too close to turf areas.
In addition, removing turf from around trees can help protect trees from being damaged by lawnmowers, string trimmers, and herbicides that may be used in grass areas.
5. Soil Improvement and Cooling
Groundcovers can improve soil quality by adding organic matter and preventing soil erosion1. Additionally, they can help cool the area, reducing the heat island effect common in urban landscapes. Use groundcovers to create attractive living mulches that reduce weed growth by providing a thick mat of vegetation over the ground.
In this article, learn more about using cover crops during summer to improve garden soil.
In our fight to conserve natural resources, each effort matters. Replacing unused grass with low-water-use groundcovers is one such step we can take in our own yards. Not only does this switch save water and reduce maintenance, but it also enhances biodiversity and improves soil health. As you plan your next landscaping project, consider incorporating low-water-use groundcovers.
Remember, the key to successful groundcover landscaping lies in choosing the right plants for your specific region and soil type, grouping plants according to similar water needs, and practicing efficient watering methods. With these tips in mind, you’re on your way to creating a beautiful, sustainable landscape.
Tired of your lawn’s high maintenance and water demands? Consider these low-water-use ground covers as lawn alternatives.
Read this post for more information about how to remove Bermuda grass without chemicals.