Front Yard Landscaping Options

Our front yard is mostly grass. Here’s a reminder:

Green Yard

That’s from a few months ago. It’s a little more uniformly green now, but otherwise it’s pretty much unchanged. It’s a pretty small yard though, so pretty much all I do with it is cut across it at the end of my daily walk. Oh and I have to water and mow it every week. There’s plenty of grass in the back yard for playing bocce and rolling around and whatnot, so I’m leaning towards getting rid of the front yard grass entirely and replacing it with something that’s hopefully low maintenance, especially when it comes to water needs.

Pretty much all of the homes in my greater neighborhood area are similarly sized with fairly small front yards, so on my daily walks I get a pretty broad view of the potential options for us. A LOT of homes still have grass in front, but here are a few of the common non-grass options that I see.

ice plant

This is an all-succulent ground cover. I believe this one is an ice plant, or at least something similar. I feel like this is probably the most ecologically responsible solution for our area if you really, really want a lot of “green”. I don’t think you’d want to walk on this at all though, so it’s pretty much just keeping the weeds at bay and keeping things green-looking. Also, to me kinda looks like an alien invasion or something.


Some people go with just a small amount of grass with rocks or mulch around it. This lawn is somewhat amusing to me because in this case it’s not even real grass, it’s artificial turf. It certainly saves on the watering and mowing! But it’s not like there’s enough of it to kick a soccer ball around or anything, so I guess it’s just once again the attachment to having a green flat space in front of your house. Not for me.


This front “yard” is pretty much all hardscaping, and quite clean and pretty. A lot of it would be considered “patio” rather than “yard”, though there are a few plants surrounded by small rocks. My problem with the “small rocks” solution is that I see a lot of yards with weeds growing up among the rocks, and it seems like it would be frustrating to keep the weeds at bay without using some sort of herbicide. And while quite a few of our immediate neighbors have converted at least part of their front yards into areas for entertaining, (with seating and such) I don’t really see us going that route.

citrus and roses

This is a nice functional yard. The trees are citrus (orange and lemon I believe) and right up against the fence are some rose bushes. I definitely don’t dig the chain link fence though, and I wish the citrus trees were closer to the sidewalk so I could grab some fruit while walking by. 😉 It would be nice to have some sort of tree in our front yard since our big picture window gives a nice clear view of our living room from the sidewalk, especially at nighttime. So we tend to always keep the blinds down, which pretty much negates the point of a picture window. On the flip side, our neighbors are awesome and watch out for each other, so I like that they have a clear unobstructed view of the entire front of our house in the event that a suspicious person is lurking around. So I guess that’s a “no” for the front yard trees for us. (Back yard is a whole different story!)


This is probably my favorite yard that I’ve seen on my walks. I wish I had gotten a better picture, and I wish I had gotten it in the spring when it’s completely in bloom, but even in the middle of summer it still looks nice. I believe pretty much all of these plants are purple african daisies. I see one or two of these plants (and sometimes yellow ones)  in a lot of yards, but I love how this entire yard is filled with them. I feel like once a yard like this was established, I would hopefully just have to spread a thick layer of mulch maybe once or twice a year, and occasionally walk around and pull some weeds.

I don’t think I’m ready to start killing our grass quite yet, but I like talking through the possibilities and ruminating on what I think I’d like the best. Maybe someday we’ll actually make the change.


Posted on September 18, 2013, in outdoors and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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