You know how people say "the grass isn't always greener" to discourage wanting for what you don't have? That always seemed like a weird expression to me. I never covet people who have lawns to mow and yards to weed. The truth is you can have a beautiful, lush and, yes, totally lusted-after yard without a patch of grass anywhere in sight.
Here are 10 beautiful outdoor spaces that get everything right, making sure you never missed the grass in the first place. You can use these inspiration images in a few ways, depending on your current status:
- Apartment dwellers with tiny balconies can use this as inspiration to add some greenery in unexpected ways, like a small box garden. And yes, you can gravel-scape a small balcony, too.
- People in townhomes who have small, shaded yards can find comfort in knowing that you don't need high-maintenance grass to landscape beautifully. Gravel and pavers can go a long way.
- Anyone with a big house on a big lot might want to reconsider their current lawn-heavy landscape in favor of one of these low-maintenance ideas.
Above, and at top: A backyard cottage's low-water yard, designed by the team at Sunset magazine for their annual Celebration Weekend and featured in the September 2015 issue (and online, here).
A playful, modern Brooklyn Heights backyard, designed by New Eco Landscapes.
There's plenty of grassland around this urban farmhouse, designed by Urban Agriculture Inc. for Fox Network's Home Free, but there's also plenty of grass-free landscaping scenes and ideas.
A modern patio in San Francisco, from Kerman Morris Architects.
A midcentury modern makeover in California, from Outer Space Landscape Architecture.
The EDDIE house and its urban garden in San Francisco, from Three Legged Pig Designs.
Having no grass doesn't limit the possibilities of a playground, as seen in this San Francisco backyard from Urban Botanics.
A gravel courtyard highlights this outdoor living room in Nashville, from House Beautiful.
An alternative ground cover featured in this Toronto home, from Duncan Consultants.