Answer: To some extent this will depend on the level of gardening experience you already have. In general, I would suggest you look at some books about garden and landscape design, then determine your needs for the landscape in terms of practical needs for both use and design. You will identify spots where trees, shrubs, open areas, paved areas and so on are required. Next, select plants based on the growing conditions in your yard so that they will thrive with a minimum of care. In areas where you need a groundcover instead of grass, you will select lower growing plants that are well suited to the natural conditions. You may also end up using hard surfacing such as gravel or flagstone or brick to create useable, open, no-maintenance areas. To begin, you might look at Landscaping for Dummies (available at most libraries and many bookstores) and possibly also pick up a book or two about xeriscaping since lawns are so often associated with thirsty landscapes, the xeriscapers concentrate quite a bit on how to avoid, minimize or replace lawn in the landscape. Your county extension may also have some suggestions or even publications to help you get started in your planning. Finally, you might also want to consult with a professionally trained and licensed landscape architect to help guide your planning. Good luck with your lawn-free landscape!
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