We promise, your neighbors will approve.

By Melissa Locker
April 27, 2021
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When we say "lazy lawns" we don't mean replacing your perfectly mowed grass with artificial emerald green turf. Rather, we mean it in the British sense, coming on the heels of the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) declaring "lazy lawns" might just be the next big thing in gardening.

In its predictions for 2021, the RHS opines that this year gardeners "will turn a blind eye to a bit of browning in summer" and perhaps even swap out grass in favor of embracing "lazy" fuss-free groundcovers. These "interesting and environmentally benign alternatives," not only stay green without fertilizer, but resist drought and can encourage more wildlife.

Unfortunately, while we've all learned to love grass, keeping those immaculate green lawns isn't great for the environment. That's because according to the Natural Resources Defense Council, "lawns consume nearly three trillion gallons of water a year, 200 million gallons of gas (for all that mowing), and 70 million pounds of pesticides."

So what could you use replace grass? The RHS suggests "small leaved clovers mixed with grasses." Of course, there are plenty of other options, too. Depending on your landscape design ideas and how sunny or shady your yard is, some favorites include moss, sweet woodruff, periwinkle, pink chintz, lantana, creeping ivy, creeping thyme, low-growing shrubs like dwarf myrtle, sedum, or any of the "creeps"—creeping ivy, creeping thyme, creeping jenny (moneywort), creeping Charlie, or creeping lilyturf.

Gardeners can also swap out a portion of the lawn for island flower beds or vegetable gardens. Herbs like rosemary, mint, oregano, and chamomile can be used as ground covers, too. If you're not quite ready to say farewell to grass, try beds filled with ornamental grasses that are both attractive and distinctive.

Replacing a grass lawn doesn't even require swapping plants. Laying walkways out of gravel or bark, building patios, creating a gathering place around a fire pit, or adding a gazebo also means less lawn and less lawn care. So this year consider a "lazy lawn" that will be easier for you, better for the planet, and just might make the neighbors jealous.