If a front garden of yellow Lantana or a boxwood maze sounds a bit over the top for you, consider using pavers to replace your lawn and space them widely enough to allow drought tolerant plantings in between. Or let some of your existing lawn peek through.
Depending on the size and shape of the space, set pavers between 6 and 8 inches apart. If they are set close together, it ends up looking like a front yard patio — which is, of course, another alternative for you, but a very hot hot one. Pavers, like stone mulch, can reach temperatures of 150 degrees Fahrenheit on hot summer days.
In the spaces between pavers, plant fragrant herbs such as Woolly Thyme (Thymus lanuginosus) or Creeping Thyme (Thymus drucei).
Two other durable plants to install between pavers are the dark green Mondo grass (Ophiopogon japonicus) or the Great Plains native Buffalo Grass (Buchloe dactyloides.) Dwarf Mondo grass is, in fact, a lily and stays green year ’round. Buffalo Grass, a fine grass that is very drought-tolerant, grows from 5 to 10 inches high and dies back in cold weather. Some people are now using it as a total replacement for their thirsty fescue lawns. One historic note: Buffalo Grass sod was used by pioneers for their sod houses.
Consider the architectural style and color of your home when selecting pavers for this project. Price can also be an issue. Red sandstone pavers are expensive but quite beautiful, particularly with a single story ranch style home. You should be aware that red sandstone erodes fairly rapidly especially if water is sprayed on it regularly. The sandstone that looks fabulous when installed, may appear quite worn in a very few years. Some people, however, find that worn look appealing.
More durable and less expensive concrete pavers can be an excellent choice. Some now have textured surfaces so realistic that they look like stone. If you choose gray concrete pavers they can be stained in a variety of colors fairly easily and quickly to match or contrast with the exterior color of your home. Ask the staff your local home improvement center how to do this.
Replacing your lawn — read this for what NOT to do
Replacing your lawn with perennials
Replacing your lawn with ornamental grasses
Replacing your lawn with pavers
Replacing your lawn with mazes and knot gardens
Replacing the lawn in your parking median
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