15 Interesting Ideas for Landscaping Without Grass

Back garden

Everybody has dreamed of the perfect garden decorated with all kinds of exquisite designs. Most of the time, we think that garden decorations have to include grass. Unfortunately for some of us, we aren’t always so lucky, and we don’t have enough grass to play with. Landscaping without grass is still possible, and the results are often more breathtaking than the classic ones. Here are a few tips on how you can achieve this majestic look in a gravel courtyard.

Front garden with gravel and small patches of land covered in plants

1. Use Plants That Don’t Require Much Water

The first impediment against a grassy garden is the soil, more precisely the lack of it. If you have a backyard covered in gravel with few patches available for planting, you can still take advantage of it. Choose several low-growing plants which don’t require much to thrive.

Then, use your imagination to decorate the concrete and the gravel. You can also use other decorative elements, such as bricks, to create geometrical formations with the help of the plants.

2. Create Patterns Using Granite

Even grey surfaces can be made pretty. To spice up your yard, find some granite tiles and shape them into the desired form. For a better effect, try being creative and flexible, and choose wacky shapes and figures. Then, arrange them in a pathway formation over the concrete. Again, you can be as creative as you like, and form circles, crisscrosses, and intricate patterns.

3. Aim for a Contemporary Look

Sometimes, your backyard might be only a patch of land behind your house as big as a balcony. Instead of being an impediment, this allows to play with modern elements and create a fancy look. Since it’s so close to the house, you can include tables and chairs in the landscape, and maybe add some interior plants.

If you have the means, you can add an artificial water source. For this, you can create some flowing pathways bounded by tiles and pavers. Landscaping without grass can help you make the outdoors more cozy and warm, so you can also consider some heating systems perfect for chilly nights.

4. Design the Sun and Moon Garden

When people had no means to tell the time, they often created megalithic formations and used them as solar clocks. This idea of landscaping without grass allows you to play with the light and create your own natural clocks.

All you need are some blocks of stone you can carve in any shape you want so that they shed light on the ground. Then, look at how the sunlight and moonlight falls on your backyard, and arrange them after that. You can have your own sun corner and moon corner, where you can hide from the scorching daylight or spend a romantic evening.

Fountain in a garden surrounded by pavement

5. Add a Fountain

This landscaping without grass idea fits perfectly imposes courtyards of houses in the colonial style. However, you shouldn’t treat the fountain as a luxury. Find some tiles and stones which match the color of your walls, and build a little pool. There, you can place any fountain you like.

Be careful not to mix the styles up. If your house is more classical, you can opt for an urn-shaped fountain or something that reminds you of antiquity. If the house is modern, you can get creative and pick something more avantgarde.

6. Go Mediterranean

A grassless garden can easily get the arid look typical for Mediterranean countries. Stone is essential here, which you can use to create a small porch, fence, or maybe a bench. Then, replace the bulky gravel with something softer which resembles sand and acquire that beach look you wanted. Here and there, you can add some pot plants, succulents, and maybe even a cactus or two.

7. Create a Refuge from the World

Your backyard should be a place where you feel comfortable and where you can hide from everything that’s going on in the streets. For this landscaping without grass design, you don’t need anything sophisticated. In fact, anything that makes you feel good works.

You can add a table, some chairs, and an umbrella to keep you cool when the sun is burning outside. If you want to allow others in your private refuge, you can add a fireplace. If you have trees or a place with hooks, you can even add a hammock.

Grassless backyard with chairs, a table, an umbrella, and a chaise-longue

8. Embrace Minimalism

To amaze everyone with your backyard, choose a geometrical minimalist design. You can combine square tiles arranged orderly on the ground, with spherical formations as decorations. Here and there, you can add some low-growing plants, and cover any ugly-looking patch of soil with pretty stones.

9. Add a Lawn Substitute

If you are still dreaming about a lawn, there’s still a solution. Maybe grass is not growing in your yard, but you can replace it with herbs and moss. This will give the illusion of abundant vegetation, but there are a few things you have to keep in mind.

The surface you choose needs to be quite small, as moss, for instance, can’t cover a big patch of land. Also, it’s better for these plants to add some stone designs and elements among them. This helps them grow by offering a place where they should get attached.

10. Turn Your Garden into a Fairy Land

This landscaping without grass idea is perfect for a bigger yard with lots of trees. Here, grass might not be growing, and the barren ground might be covered only by several plants. You can always make the best of it by taking advantage of the trees.

Create an alley between these plants, which you can border either with dry vegetation or with stones. You can hang beautiful fairy houses in the trees, and have garden dwarfs guard your path. The landscape is complete with an archway made of iron placed above the alley, and maybe some solar lights sprinkled on the ground.

Sand garden with low-maintenance plants

11. Add Low-Maintenance Plants and Materials

We all know that cutting grass and tending for the garden can take a lot of time and effort. Even if the backyard remains barren, it might still be difficult to make it look presentable. However, by covering it in easy-to-clean flooring, sprinkled with tough plants which do not require a lot of tending, you can get a pretty landscape in no time.

The flooring can be made of wood or similar materials, where you can put tables, chairs, and any kind of garden furniture you like.

12. Include a Luxurious Water Feature

Bringing rivers to your backyard can be easier than you expected. You first need to develop a functional water system, which circulates the liquid from an artificial source. If you have a small pond or brook nearby to feed the system, all the better.

Then, you can create a spectacular formation where water can flow. By arranging stones of different sizes one on top of the other, you can create a waterfall. Adding some moss and water plants will make everything look more natural. For the effect to be complete, you can place this waterfall somewhere near some stairs.

13. Add as Much Color as Possible

There’s nothing better than colors to revive a mundane grey backyard. If you’re feeling creative, all you can do is take a can of paint and go crazy, by splashing any fence, wall, and stone with bursts of color. If you are more conservative, you can achieve the same effect with flowering plants growing in pots which can decorate your house and fence.

Gazebo on a wooden patio

14. Take Advantage of the Space

If your backyard is vast, you can go big with the decorations. First of all, a gazebo would be the perfect place for you to rest and to organize parties and get-togethers. If there’s still enough place left, you can build small bridges and connect them to little islands of stone. This is already spectacular enough, but you can add an artificial water source to complete the effect.

15. Pamper Yourself with a Pool

The simplest and most widespread landscaping without grass idea is to add a pool in your backyard. This can easily fit into an all-concrete landscape, adding a touch of exquisiteness to an otherwise bland yard. In fact, a pool sits better on such a surface. If it’s surrounded by concrete, unwanted water plants or insects have it harder to get into the water.

Getting a pool might not be as creative and unique as other ideas, but it’s the most widespread. Also, it can benefit you directly. You can use the pool whenever it’s too hot outside, when you want to relax, or when you want to have some friends over. Also, you don’t have to apply many design tricks to make it look good.

Pool in front of a house surrounded by marble tiles


Landscaping without grass is a simple way to make any sad garden look great. You don’t have to be afraid if you can’t grow grass in your backyard. Even a grey patch of concrete can be decorated and made pretty with a few design tricks. Let your imagination flow and don’t refrain from adopting unconventional elements in your garden.

Image sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.

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