Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Lawnless front yard: how can that look good?

Before: plain and unattractive
Taking out your front lawn and replacing it with colorful flowering (and drought tolerant) plants is the single most prevalent trend in landscape design right now.  But, so many of my clients are nervous about what that could look like. "How can a front yard have curb appeal without at least some lawn?" is a question I hear all of the time.
After: Loads of color and interest!

Just so that my bias is laid out clearly: I am all for taking out front lawns left and right. I think they a) take a lot more water than we should feel okay about, b) are rarely ever used, and c) often don't really look that great to begin with. For an urban or suburban garden where space is tight, I tend to delegate only one role to lawn: playing with small children. Small children actually sit in the grass and play, but when was the last time the rest of us actually did that?

So,  jettison your lawn! Eliminate your grass! Lose the turf! There are beautiful ways to design a front yard without lawn that have way way more curb appeal. Today's example is from Eden Maker's blog. She made this unexceptional house really pop with a few small changes to the house itself (ie the shutter color) and a lovely and simple low water garden. What do you think? Is the lower (after) photo an improvement on the before (upper) photo? Please know, if you say "no" I'll think you are a little crazy.


  1. Good post. I hope the trend continues. I've found it very difficult for people to understand the concept of a front yard without turf. The best way to change their mind though is to show them just how good a lawnless front yard can look when done right.

  2. I have to agree with Jared. I live in the northeastern segment of the country (western NY) and I've been looking at my front yard wondering why I elect to continue with the lawn. My current front yard, for me, represents conformity, an eco UNfriendly persona, and a gross lack of imagination.