Gravel, Mulch, and Other Ground Cover Options

Gravel, Mulch, and Other Ground Cover Options

A person’s lawn is often a great source of pride. Waking up in the morning and seeing the sun’s rays hit their luxuriant and lovely lawn can be a beautiful thing. The thing about lawns, though, is that if you don’t properly look after them, they kind of just give up. They either shrivel and die or grow totally out of control.

The desire to avoid lawn work is not the only reason to want to avoid having grass though. Many people avoid having lawns due to the cost, the environmental impact (the use of water and pesticides) and the fact that some people are just straight up allergic to grass. This article is for all the mow-hating, money-saving, allergy-having and environmentally conscious people out there because you all deserve yards that aren’t just dirt, too.


The first option we’ll explore is gravel. The beautiful thing about gravel is that you don’t have to do much to maintain it because, well, it’s a bunch of rocks. Gravel can come in many different varieties, such as stone pebbles, river rocks, pea gravel, crushed granite, and decomposed granite.

There is an abundance of colors and textures available, as well as various price ranges from relatively cheap to very high-quality and expensive. They don’t rot or bring bugs either. Really, the only concern one would have with gravel is that it will eventually begin to sink into the soil underneath.

Synthetic Grass

Many of you probably already knew that this one was coming, but regardless of whether you read our minds or not, it’s still a good choice if you don’t feel like spending your spare time mowing, watering or blowing all of your money on actual grass. Artificial grass looks and feels much like the real thing and there are different types to accommodate your needs.

If you’re looking for the closest to the genuine article, then polyethylene is the best way to go. it’s soft, brightly colored and strong. Nylon is stronger still, can handle high temperatures and always keeps its shape regardless of the beating it takes. If you live where it’s hot or have a lot of traffic in your area, nylon is your best bet. Polypropylene isn’t as expensive as the other two options, but it’s not as durable. Polypropylene is probably the best way to go if your main concern is having a gorgeous lawn without needing to do anything to keep it that way.


It’s in the title, so we kind of had to add it. Mulch does a marvelous job of controlling weeds, keeping in moisture, protecting your yard from erosion and ensuring the safety of your root system. If that wasn’t enough to convince you that it’s worth considering, then you should know that you can take your pick from different sorts of mulch too. There’s straw mulch, wood chips, shredded bark, sawdust, and pine needles; all of these different types can be great ways to cover your yard.

There’s also the option of rubber mulch, which is made of recycled tires. You can get it in different colors and it’s very low maintenance. Quite possibly the best use for rubber mulch is that it makes for a soft landing in young children’s play areas. Just about the only disadvantage it has, compared to regular mulch, is that it doesn’t contribute to keeping your soil healthy.

Outdoor Garden Features

If you’re looking to add some character to your yard, then it doesn’t hurt to think about adding some garden features. What we mean by this is things like koi ponds, water features (such as a fountain or waterfall), a fire pit or patio.

Although the term garden is in the name of this particular option, you don’t really have to have live plants. If you want, you can combine this option with artificial grass, mulch or gravel. Perhaps use the mulch as a walkway – the sky (and your budget, we would imagine) is pretty much the limit here.

Here are four options for a “plant-free” yard for anyone that’s interested in going that route. We hope that we’ve given you a good starting point to work from if you’re looking to go grassless. Are there any of these options that especially speak to any of you readers out there – or do you have other ideas? Let us know in the comments below!

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