The Q&A Archives: Lawn Alternatives

Question: My husband doesn't like to mow grass, but all our neighbors have it, so it doesn't seem appropriate to cover the property in green cement! We are thinking of planting Dwarf Mondo Grass on our lot. I've read that it's a good groundcover (esp. between stepping stones & around trees) but I don't know how much of it to plant so that it will take over the lawn, or whether that's even feasible. Will it grow under our Black Walnut tree? Does it come in 'seed' or will I have to buy a truckload of those little 4" pots?

Answer: Dwarf Mondo Grass (Ophiopogon japonicus) only gets about 4-6 inches high and should be planted about that far apart in beds. However, if you are planting a large area, it will get expensive. You'll have to buy plants which cost $5 each. A better idea maybe to look at other non-lawn alternatives. There are a number of seed mixes on the market that include a mixture of herbs, flowers, and low-growing grasses. These still look green, but take less mowing and are "different". Your county extension service should be able to offer you some regionally specific alternatives. Good luck!

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