Do you also picture a yard with grass when you’re thinking about landscaping? Well, there are other ways to get creative when it comes to backyard landscaping. And, while some think that grass is cheaper, I’m going to show you some other cheap alternatives to grass.
Table of Contents
- What to Consider When Landscaping on a Budget?
- 19 Cheap No-Grass Backyard Landscaping Ideas
- 1. Hang String Lights Over Yard
- 2. Concrete Pavers
- 3. Pour Concrete
- 4. Fire Pit Focal Point
- 5. Brick Pavers
- 6. Artificial Grass
- 7. Get a Garden Arbor
- 8. Grow Plants!
- 9. DIY Rock Floor
- 10. Build a Playground
- 11. Gravel the Yard
- 12. Build a Wooden Deck
- 13. Add a Pergola
- 14. Swimming Pool
- 15. Mulch the Yard
- 16. Ground Covers
- 17. Plant Trees and Shrubs
- 18. Get Some Water Features
- 19. Yard Decorations
- Related Questions
- Final Thoughts
What to Consider When Landscaping on a Budget?
Size of the Yard
This is one of the logical approaches to this question. The larger the yard, the more your landscaping is going to cost. Any landscaping plan usually begins with a thorough site analysis that takes into consideration all of the important factors that will influence the design.
Consider the size and shape of your landscape and work your way up from there, taking care to take notice of distinguishing elements such as slopes or peaks along the process.
To decide where you can group plants based on their water requirements, analyze the drainage patterns, and evaluate the soil moisture levels.
Outside Style/Design of Your Home
Looking at your home’s architecture is a great place to start when choosing a theme for your garden. Having a guiding style or theme can help unite your landscape and direct the placement and selection of plants.
Work with a focal point, such as a new or old sculpture or a stunning plant or tree, to compliment the lines and style of your home’s architecture.
Decide on whether you want a lot of soft shapes or clean geometric lines and certain colors, or if you want an overall theme like an exotic or an oriental garden.
DIY or Hiring?
Choosing the DIY path for yard landscaping is going to save you money. There are no labor costs, no one suggesting what materials you have to buy and how fast you have to buy them.
However, unless you have extensive experience in landscape design, you are far better off at the very least consulting with a landscape design professional. Your landscape is much more than just a collection of plants; it is a way of life.
It’s a barrier between you and the outside world, but it also serves as an extension of your home and is a dynamic system that interacts with itself in a variety of complicated ways.
A competent landscape designer will most likely point out areas of your site or plan that you hadn’t considered before and may make recommendations that may save you money while boosting the quality of the results.
Most landscaping professionals will not charge you for an initial consultation, so why not take advantage of that free advice?
19 Cheap No-Grass Backyard Landscaping Ideas
1. Hang String Lights Over Yard
String lights are a cost-effective way to create a stunning backyard atmosphere at night without having to invest too much in outdoor light fixtures.
I’ll do you one better: how about opting for solar string lights if you want to save money?
Solar lights are an excellent approach to lessen the likelihood of an electrical disaster occurring. Because there is no requirement to connect to a power source with any of the products in our solar range, there are very few, if any, additional wires required.
If you have youngsters in and around your home and garden, this is a much safer choice to consider.
Everything appears to be more appealing when we know we are saving you money, don’t you think? These solar string lights look fantastic when they are stretched across your yard, adding a touch of elegance to your outdoor space.
The freedom provided by less wiring lines and greater versatility is excellent, and it allows you to create the ideal environment to put your feet up and relax.
Also, string lights are often most cost-effective than regular light fixtures. If you opt for solar string lights, you won’t be spending a dime until the lights reached the end of the road and it’s time to completely replace them.
2. Concrete Pavers
Concrete pavers are quite adaptable because they are available in a variety of shapes and colors. It is possible to build a unique patio, walkway, or driveway by combining and matching colors and shapes in different ways.
Many pavers are put on a bed of compacted sand and gravel, rather than in mortar or concrete, which is an option for some designs. Because of this method, pavers are a popular choice among do-it-yourselfers.
Pavers are less expensive to manufacture than poured concrete or asphalt because of the production process. When compared to equivalent pavers constructed of granite, sandstone, or clay (which are more expensive), concrete pavers are less expensive and more durable.
The cost of repairing pavers is far lower than the cost of repairing concrete because you often only have to remove the broken portions and replace them with new pavers.
3. Pour Concrete
With a beautiful new patio, you may transform your backyard into a concrete jungle. Natural stone or stamped concrete will contribute to the creation of a visually appealing and practical environment.
Plant lush decorative grasses and vibrant flowers around the edge of the garden. Alternatively, a few strategically placed containers loaded with greenery can enliven the environment. Even the grass will be a thing of the past.
A concrete patio on the exterior of a house is a beautiful way to bring the interior of the house outside. A patio can be designed around a pool, or it can be used as a gathering space with tables, seating, and an outdoor barbecue for the entire family to enjoy.
In addition, concrete is one of the most cost-effective and low-maintenance building materials for a patio since it is visually flexible while still being economical.
4. Fire Pit Focal Point
From holes in the ground, you can dig yourself to firepit tables that can heat a large area, a backyard firepit is the kind of addition you can’t go wrong with if you love being outside in chilly weather.
When picturing a backyard fire pit, the first thing I think of is probably something sleek and futuristic, such as a gas-burning fire table that emits colored flames.
Fire pits, on the other hand, have been around for almost as long as people have been lighting fires. Food could be cooked in the early fire pits, and they also served as a deterrent for wild animals, as well as a gathering area for the community.
While we no longer use fire pits for protection or preparing meals, one aspect of their function has stayed unchanged: they continue to serve as a gathering place for people. This is just one advantage of having a fire pit in your backyard. There are other others as well.
A fire pit, in addition to giving some additional warmth as the sun sets, may completely transform the appearance of your garden.
We’re not only referring to the fact that you’ll have a new feature in your yard to look forward to. A beautiful glow emanates from your fireplace when it is in full flame, illuminating the exterior of your residence.
5. Brick Pavers
There are numerous advantages to using brick pavers that make them the most cost-effective option when compared to other options such as stamped concrete, cobblestone, or travertine. Feel free to choose from several surface shapes, colors, and finishes as well as a variety of laying patterns.
Brick pavers are the most cost-effective option in the long run. The amount of maintenance required is negligible, and the durability outlasts anything else on the market, including poured concrete, which has a proclivity to crack. In most cases, they require little upkeep and may be counted on to live for some generations.
6. Artificial Grass
Sure, having natural grass is good for many reasons, but have you ever considered how many benefits you have if you choose its artificial counterpart?
Not only does it look good but it saves a lot of money in terms of maintenance and it requires way less upkeep. With artificial grass, no watering is needed, you don’t have to invest in a lawnmower, there will be no patchy spots because of uneven direct sunlight distribution, and you get an attractive lawn all year round.
7. Get a Garden Arbor
Plants or no plants, a garden arbor is a very visually-appealing addition to your backyard landscape. These structures have slatted roofing and four or two posts, depending on the design. Tweak the designs to suit the needs of the landscape and the personal preferences of those who will be using them.
Garden arbors are popular among homeowners who want to improve the appearance of their exterior. These buildings are visually appealing and provide a variety of advantages.
Because arbors are available in a variety of styles and materials, you can select one that complements the other elements of your garden design. If your landscape is designed in a modern style, you might add a rusting-looking structure to make it more visually appealing.
When it comes to color, arbors can be painted to match or contrast with other designs to guarantee that they are a perfect match for a new environment.
8. Grow Plants!
When it comes to landscaping, plants are a solution that you can’t go wrong with. Also, you’re going to have to research what plants grow best in your area and consider that some of them cost more and require greater upkeep when compared to others.
While going into detail on this topic would take me pages, I’m going to focus on why you should opt for plants for landscaping.
You see, while plants add aesthetic value and appeal to your backyard, they are also healthy for us from different perspectives. When you think about gardening and what it implies, you might think it’s a terrible activity.
However, gardening helps protect your memory as you grow older, gives you a reason to spend more time outdoors, and helps you build strength. Growing plants promotes your exposure to vitamin D, which is something we could all use a little bit more.
9. DIY Rock Floor
Stone floors are unquestionably the most beautiful flooring material available, both indoors and out. In addition, stone flooring is a fantastic option if you are looking for outdoor flooring that is natural, sturdy, and long-lasting.
Unlike other materials, stone does not have a limited life span; with proper maintenance, stone can last for more than 30 years. Outdoor conditions can be tough; floors are subjected to high winds, high humidity, and direct sunshine.
The majority of flooring types are unable to withstand these changes and are readily harmed, but stone flooring, being a natural material, is resistant to the majority of these changes.
While it can be very expensive to purchase natural stone and hire a professional to make the floor for you, it’s also very possible to do this yourself. You are going to have to find your rocks (from authorized locations, of course) and you can make a paver-style floor using them.
How to Install a Natural Stone Patio – Do It Yourself:
10. Build a Playground
Whenever I get to talk about toys, I go back to the idea that the pandemic has forced our children to spend more and more time indoors.
While there are plenty of indoor activities to engage in, children need time outside too. It’s just good for their health. And there’s no better way to get them to do that than building a backyard playground.
We all know that a playground would look amazing simply because it’s a space that will be filled with children’s smiles and laughter. I don’t think there’s a need to go into detail when it comes to landscaping with a playground.
I want, however, to show you the benefits that might not be so obvious. First of all, parents also have an excuse to spend more time outside, even if it’s just to build the playground. Hopefully, they’ll like staying outside to supervise their kids while they’re playing.
Building a backyard playground also incentives people to invite the neighboring kids over to play. In America, communities have always been valued and interaction between children should be valued just as much.
11. Gravel the Yard
Landscape gravel is an excellent alternative to more typical landscaping materials. You can use the gravel to accent other components of your landscape design, or you can use it as a standalone piece of landscape decor.
Gravel, in contrast to certain other forms of landscaping stones, is quite simple to install. All that is required is to clean the area where the gravel will be placed, pour the stones, and scatter them uniformly.
If the area has previously been cleared, you should be able to complete the task in under an hour (assuming it is a moderately big space).
The amount of difficulty in clearing space will be determined by what is already in the way. A tiller can be used to quickly and easily clean grass and other low-lying vegetation.
To get rid of items like stumps or deeply rooted plants, such as shrubs or small trees, you’ll need to put in more effort or utilize more specialist tools.
Because landscaping gravel is quite simple to install, it will be less expensive than some other ornamental landscaping solutions due to the ease with which it can be done. By using gravel instead of concrete, you can save a significant amount of money.
12. Build a Wooden Deck
Not only are wooden decks a great addition to your backyard landscape but they also increase the resale value of your home.
Many people choose to utilize wood when creating their decks since it has a very natural and appealing appearance. Wood does not require any additional embellishment or enhancement because it is naturally gorgeous, colorful, and appealing.
Regardless of whether you choose conventional wood or timber decking, you can rest assured that it won’t need a great deal of maintenance. This is because wood requires very little care throughout its lifetime.
All that is required is a light polishing of the frame once or twice a year to keep the wood appearing new and vivid. A shade structure for the deck is also recommended to keep the deck protected from direct sunlight when possible. This will also help to protect the wood from moisture caused by precipitation.
In addition to the aforementioned benefits, you should think about choosing hardwood decking because it is economical and will fit comfortably into your financial budget.
Keep in mind, however, that the price will be largely determined by the type of wood you choose, as different materials have varying pricing. Nonetheless, this is a reasonable price, especially because you will be remodeling your property.
How To Build A Deck :
13. Add a Pergola
For those who enjoy their outdoor living space but find that it is not as useful on hot summer afternoons when the sun is pounding down, or for those who prefer to be protected from inclement weather, a pergola may be the solution for you.
A pergola enhances the amount of time you can spend outside while simultaneously expanding your living area. When properly designed and positioned on your property, a pergola may provide enough light shade to make even a hot afternoon enjoyable.
As usual, you can buy a pergola, have a professional build it for you, or built it yourself!
14. Swimming Pool
Just out of curiosity, if I mention the idea of adding a swimming pool to the backyard, how many of you are intimidated by the costs implied? That’s because when I say, “swimming pool”, a lot of people imagine these giant in-ground pools that cost a fortune to install.
Since this article is all about backyard landscaping on a budget, know that you can always opt for an inflatable swimming pool and not go with the more expensive option.
I’m pretty sure I don’t have to mention all of the advantages of getting an inflatable swimming pool. Granted, they are not usually large enough to allow a family of four to all go swimming at the same time.
However, they will still cool you down, are great for those who need more sunlight and serotonin in their lives, and can be deflated and stored when not in use for days on end.
15. Mulch the Yard
Mulch is often referred to as the gardener’s best friend, and with good cause. Mulch protects bare soil in the winter, reduces erosion, and shields plants from the elements. Mulch helps to retain moisture, reduce weeds, and provide nutrients to the soil in the spring.
To create a rustic ground cover, organic mulches such as pine or cedar bark chips can be utilized to simply replace grass in a variety of situations.
Planting landscaping fabric over bare soil before applying mulch will help to prevent weeds from growing to the surface of the mulch layer. Cocoa hull mulch should be avoided at all costs by dog owners because it is harmful to canines.
16. Ground Covers
Ground cover is a word that refers to low-growing plants other than turfgrasses that are utilized to cover large portions of the landscape with their foliage.
The most frequently encountered plants are perennial, evergreen plants with a sprawling or spreading nature. Ground coverings are typically one foot or less, but taller growing plants can be employed in some landscape circumstances where they would be more suited.
Ground covers have a variety of utilitarian use in addition to the aesthetic value they bring. Some varieties are particularly good at preventing erosion. Ground coverings reduce landscape upkeep since they do not require mowing.
They are particularly beneficial in tough-to-mow situations. As a bonus, they are an excellent solution for spaces under trees that have become too shady for grass to thrive.
17. Plant Trees and Shrubs
I also feel like I don’t need to talk too much about why trees are a great addition to your backyard. They are not only planet-savers, but they also increase curb appeal and provide comfort and shade for your small patch of Heaven.
Shrubs play a critical role in the ecosystem of any garden, providing shade and protection. They can improve air quality, soil stability, and serve as habitats for a variety of species and other organisms.
In addition to being aesthetically pleasing, small trees and shrubs are also useful in the landscape, especially when you choose kinds that provide seasonal interest.
When it comes to protecting you from an unsightly view, the aesthetic value of bushes is one advantage. Using bushes to their full potential will ensure that your neighbor’s junkyard will no longer exist when you’re sipping your morning coffee on the terrace.
Shrubs can also create a living privacy boundary and divide one region of your yard from another, according to your preferences.
18. Get Some Water Features
It doesn’t matter if you choose a gently meandering waterfall or an attractive backyard pond; either of these features will provide soothing, sensory benefits to your landscape.
They also don’t have to be prohibitively expensive, especially if you make them yourself. If you have the necessary room, you can dig them directly into the ground and line them with a liner. Make use of a lot of plants and pebbles on either side of the path to give it an organic feel.
If you don’t have that much backyard space to spare, a huge container can be used to make a more compact display. With the addition of a pump, you may also enjoy the trickling noises while you relax close.
19. Yard Decorations
This. This is yet another section that would leave me talking for hours if I wasn’t afraid I might bore you. When it comes to decorating your backyard, things get personal, and imagination is the only real variable here.
It’s not even about money, it’s about choosing the décor elements that help create the perfect backyard for you and your family.
You can get creative when it comes to backyard decorations, so I’m just joining to list some ideas to help you get started:
- Colorful bird tree houses.
- Privacy screen and fences.
- Potted plants.
- Repurposed furniture.
- Mosaic bistro-style table.
- Old nightstands are used as flower planters.
- Vertical gardens.
- Garden gnomes.
- Solar in-ground lights.
- Recycled and repurposed logs.
How to Get Rid of Grass in Yard?
To get rid of grass naturally, you can use a variety of different forms of power equipment to dig up a lawn. Investing in a tiller will make the job easier, but you’ll need to go for a heavy-duty, rear-tine type to do the job properly.
Alternatively, you can rent a more powerful grass removal gear, such as a sod cutter, which will cut beneath the lawn and slice it into strips of varying sizes.
What Are Some Kid-Friendly No Grass Options?
If you want to ditch the grass and add something kid-friendly, you can consider rubber mulch (made with recycled rubber), wooden decks, sandboxes, or artificial turf.
How To Dry Up a Wet and Muddy Yard?
Building a French drain is the most effective method of drying off a wet or muddy yard. It is a pipe that is installed in the ground to drain rainwater from your yard. It is a simple and cost-effective solution that you can implement on your own to limit the amount of water that runs through your yard.
As you can see, beautiful backyard landscaping isn’t all about grass. The world doesn’t revolve around it. You can still have patches of natural grass astound the yard and implement the ideas you read here today to create a perfect getaway right in the comfort of your own home.
Read our related articles:
- 19 Horizontal Fence Ideas for Your Backyard
- 10 Simple Backyard Ideas for Small Yards
- 10 Screening Ideas to Block Out Neighbors View of Your Yard
Jamie is the founder of The Backyard Pros. When he was 15 years old he started working at a garden centre helping people buy plants, gardening products, and lawn care products. He has real estate experience and he is a home owner. Jamie loves backyard projects, refinishing furniture, and enjoys sharing his knowledge online.