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Every homeowner dreams of an outdoor space with lush, green grass. But the reality is that for many of us, that doesn’t exist. Maybe you haven’t quite found time for proper lawn care maintenance or there’s a patch of grass you can’t bring back to life. Dead grass reduces curb appeal and can simply be a reason not to spend time in your yard.
The good news is that there are other options besides grass as a ground cover. It’s time to get creative and replace that dead grass with something new. See a few ideas to landscape where grass simply will not grow.
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Reasons Why Grass Won't Grow
While grass seems to be everywhere, it’s not exactly the easiest ground cover to keep healthy. Regular maintenance is a key factor in healthy, growing grass. If you’re not watering regularly or cutting your grass too short, this can contribute to dead grass.
Soil nutrients are another factor in green grass. If you have a regular lawn maintenance schedule but the grass is still unhealthy, consider a soil test. This can detect if the grass is getting the right nourishment it needs or it can result in patchy, brown spots in the lawn. The average cost to test soil is $1,142, with most homeowners spending between $947 and $1,550. When the results come back, you can find the appropriate fertilizer to improve the nutrient levels in the soil.
Now, if you’ve tried it all, but grass simply won't grow, it’s likely due to not enough sunlight. Your lawn needs six hours of daily sunlight to truly thrive. If you have grass on the side of a house, under a tree or any other area of partial sunlight, it’s time to consider alternatives.
1. Create An Outdoor Living Area
If you’re ready to start enjoying your backyard again, an outdoor living area could be the fix you need. A patio takes much less regular maintenance and is there to enjoy whenever you want to relax outside. The average cost to install a patio is $2,844, but you could lower these costs by making it a DIY project.
A patio is great, but to really turn it into something for all to enjoy, you’ll need comfortable outdoor furniture to complete the look. Invest in quality items that are weather-resistant. An outdoor fireplace is also a great patio addition where all can gather. Whatever you choose, it will certainly give the backyard a new look you’ll love.
2. Install Turf
Some homeowners love the look of grass, but simply can’t grow it. As an alternative, turf can give the healthy grass look with far less maintenance. Since synthetic grass is designed to last a lifetime, the upfront cost will pay for itself in time. The average cost to install turf is $4,211.
3. Invest In Mulch
If your grass is patchier in some areas than others, mulch can be a great-looking alternative without removing the healthy chunks of the lawn. This is a great solution for grass in shady areas such as under trees or near a house. As mulch breaks down, it fertilizes plants as well, making it a great spot to grow flowers. Mulch is low maintenance, needing to be replaced only once a year, usually in spring.
4. Install A Pond
Water features are hot in landscape design and is a unique solution for almost any area, boosting curb appeal instantly. A small pond can be just what your backyard needs to make it a relaxing oasis. Pond liners in fiberglass or concrete are the best option for low-maintenance. The average cost to install a pond is $2,837, with most homeowners spending between $1,609and $3,462.
5. Plant Low Maintenance Ground Cover
Thinking outside the box, a no-mow lawn could be just what you need. Ground cover isn’t just limited to grass. There are many other plants that spread quickly for ground cover and add a pop of color. If you have a spot where grass won’t grow, this could be a great addition. Here are a few variations to consider:
- Creeping Thyme
- New Zealand Burr
6. Install A Play Area
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If you have children, this might be the best use of a space where grass can’t grow. A permanent area for playtime can help encourage your child to get outside more often and increase their creativity. What better way to do so than with a playground? Sand or rubber mulch is a safe choice for ground cover under a swing set or playground. It’s also low maintenance, just needing to be refilled as needed and cleaned of any debris. The average cost to install a playground or swing set is $574. This cost does not include the cost of swing set.
For families without children or are looking for a spot to entertain, consider adding a permanent spot in the backyard for horseshoes, bocce ball or another lawn game. A new ground cover or turf can replace the area where grass won’t grow and become the setting for an outdoor entertainment fixture.
While many homeowners struggle to find ways to grow their grass, you have solutions that can save you the time and hassle. Start enjoying your backyard again by trying one of these great alterative landscaping tips.
Looking for more ideas to improve your backyard? Read City Backyard Ideas That Will Create An Outdoor Oasis.