3 Alternatives to Grass in your Gainesville Landscape

There are few things prettier than a beautiful lush green front lawn—especially one that is stunningly green. Grass that is rich, thick, and well-maintained can make any yard look lush and inviting. However, there are just as many reasons for homeowners to not choose grass for Gainesville landscapes—most of which are practical, some of which are purely personal.

For example, some grasses consume a lot of irrigation water. Some grasses can also be a lot of work as well - mowing, fertilizing, pest control, etc.  Also, there are times when a grass-filled yard simply isn't practical or useful - shady areas with little sunlight where grass struggles, areas with heavy traffic from kids and/or pets that cause the grass to thin out, and areas that are too sloped to maintain with a mower are all great examples where alternatives become very appealing.

IAlterantives to Gainesville grass can help you conserve water—and consequently save on your GRU bill—eliminate the need for fertilizers, reduce the likelihood of a pests poulating your yard, and won’t demand too much of your time and resources for maintenance.

That being said, here are three great grass alternatives for front yard landscaping, and some important things to note about them.

Lawn Alternative #1: Synthetic Grass or Artificial Turf
Perhaps the best alternative to grass would be Gainesville synthetic or artificial grass—also known as astroturf. You get the same look and texture as natural grass without any of the extensive maintenance. One of the biggest selling points for turf is that it can’t grow or wither, which translates to a yard as fresh and perfectly manicured as the day it was installed. It is perfect for pets' play areas, backyards where dogs tend to dig up turf, and reducing the over-all maintenance of your landscape.

Pros: Literally no maintenance is needed. Get the same rich green look of a real lawn without the need to mow, fertilize, spray, trim, and edge every week.

Cons: Low-quality synthetic grass some of our competitors use can look fake from miles away, and can therefore come off as a little tacky. Make sure to always get high-quality turf. We use turf that is almost impossible to know is artificial. It even has brown strands of thatch to make it look even more realistic and not overly perfected.

Lawn Alternative #2: Gravel Walkways, Stone Pavers, and Outdoor Living Spaces
For spacious dirt yards, why not invest in permeable gravel and gorgeous stone paver entertainment areas? Plant some drought-resistant plants in the middle and then install pavers or stones to mark paths in and around your florida-friendly landscape. The initial investment may be a bit more costly than a simple planting design, but less foliage to take care of means more money saved on water and fertilizer. Permeable gravel will also keep rainwater from running off into the street—instead, it will allow it to soak into the ground, providing your shrubs with adequately moist soil.

Gainesville, Florida Paver Patios and Firepits extend the square footage of your home into the lawn and landscape to provide "outdoor rooms" to entertain in and enjoy. There's nothing better than enjoying grilling outside or a gathering of roasting smores over the firepit in the late fall, winter, and early spring. 

Pros: Maintaining stone walkways and paver patios is much easier and much less costly than maintaining grass lawns.

Cons: You will be substantially more for an outdoor entertaining area or stone walkway up front than installing plants or sod.

Lawn Alternative #3: Xeriscapes or Larger Mulch Beds Replacing grass

Xeriscaping (aka Gainesville Zeroscaping) is a landscaping philosophy that uses as many native, drought-resistant, Florida-friendly landscaping plants as possible and arranges them in efficient, water-saving ways. The Alachua County Turf Swap Program actually provides rebates for upgrading to Florida-Friednly landscaping (when combined with removing high-volume irrigation). Make sure to ask about this in 2020 as the program was recently extended!

As it turns out, Xeriscaping doesn't have to mean a bunch of tumbleweed from the southwest as some people envision it -- because it's open to the use of Florida-Friendly plants, a landscaper can select a myriad of plant varieties from his region. A Gainesville, Florida Xeriscape can look as attractive and colorful as a regular one.

Pros: The abundant beauty of multiple different plant textures, colors, heights, and shapes provide visual interests beyond any blanket of grass in any lawn. 

Cons: Maintenance is a bit extensive and can easily take up your morning or afternoon. Different plants as they mature take maintenance to keep from overgrowing their space and keeping weeds under control in the mulch beds can be a lot of work as well. 

Lawns are a lot of work and expense, but these three options provide alteratives to the typical cookie-cutter green carpet of lawn. At Master's, our #1 focus is helping you love your lawn again - and whether loving your lawn that is artificial turf, backyard entertaining areas, a Florida-friendly Xeriscape, or lush grass - we can help you get their. Just let us know how we can help! Call our team to schedule a consultant at (352)378-5296 or fill out the form at the top of the page.