Landscaping comes in all forms and sizes. Many people like and prefer a perfectly manicured green lawn. They may have never considered planting anything else in their yard. However, alternatives do exist and many people are replacing all of that turf with other plants, shrubs, or possibly even vegetables.
Plans other than lawn grass tend to require less water, chemicals and energy than maintaining a lawn, so can be a much more eco-friendly option. It may seem hard to make this transition, especially if all of your neighbors are sporting the green lawn look. Replacing your green turf with good, high quality plants might not be intuitive. However, it will ultimately require less of your time, and can be much more attractive in the end.
If you do decide to switch to the turf-free landscaping, take some time to evaluate which plants you will want to have in your garden. Shallow rooted plants will require more watering. Annuals will need extra attention in the summer. It might be easiest to keep the high maintenance plants all in one section, separate from lower maintenance plants. That way, when you water the plants, it will be easier to remember which ones need more water.
Just as important as selecting the plants that go into your lawn is maintaining them. It’s important to avoid over-watering, both for the health of the plants and the environment (not to mention your water bill!). If you see water running off the surface, then you know that you are watering the plants too quickly. If there is rain in the forecast, then hold off on watering. It is best to water plants during the evening hours or in the early morning. Avoid watering plants during the hottest part of the day, as water will evaporate more quickly.