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 Replacing your lawn with pavers

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. Depending on the size and shape of the space, set pavers between 6 and 18 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. 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.

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 the exterior color of your home. Ask the staff your local home improvement center how to do this.

We also suggest that you do not used pavers from one edge of your property line to the other. It looks a bit strange. Create wide borders on both sides of your front garden and install drought tolerant shrubs or perennials in the borders.

Replacing Part of Your Lawn

One variation on pavers as a lawn replacement is to remove squares the same size of the pavers from the grass in your front yard along the sidewalk to your front door. Then install pavers in the square areas, leaving your lawn in between. We are not certain, however, that this will make your water bills smaller. 

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 ground covers

Replacing your lawn with mazes and knot gardens

Replacing the lawn in your parking strip

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