Sustainable Lawn Alternatives

Ready to abandon the clean, green square and create a yard that celebrates your unique point of view? Nothing against turfgrass, conventional lawns and the people who love them. Healthy grass is beautiful, but your world is about options. There are other, even more sustainable ways to work with Mother Nature, conserve resources and have an amazing yard.

Sustainable lawn alternatives that require less water, fertilizer, pest control and mowing encourage biodiversity and have environmental benefits that extend far beyond your yard. These options for sustainable unconventional lawns can get your imagination flowing and help you make your yard your own.

Clover Lawns

A lawn of clover mixed with grasses delivers the best of both worlds. You can still enjoy that barefoot feeling, but you'll have weekends free to do more than mow. Your taller, more natural-looking clover lawn only needs an occasional mow to look its best. Clover also naturally fertilizes itself by fixing soil nitrogen, meaning less fertilizer to leach into groundwater and lakes.

Our Pennington Smart Seed Clover + Grass Mix combines self-sustaining Durana clover with water-conserving grasses that use up to 30% less water than ordinary grass seed. You'll see quick results — even on slopes and hills — and a cloverly carpet that resists drought and disease and lasts for years. Added bonus: Pollinators and other wildlife love to feed on clover blooms.


Groundcover plants

Nature and nurseries are full of non-grass plants that like to lay low. Some types spread quickly. Others like to take it slow. But whatever their growth rate, they go sideways instead of up. That makes for great sustainable alternative lawns. Stick with one type of plant or create a living tapestry of low-growing foliage and blooms. When you have your own yard, the choice is yours.

Some top groundcover plants for nontraditional lawns include water-wise red-tinged creeping sedums, pink-flowered creeping thyme and chartreuse creeping Jenny. See a trend there? "Creeping" is the clue. Creeping groundcovers tend to outcompete other plants, including grasses and weeds. Mosses can be dramatic, low-maintenance groundcovers for yards with acidic soil and lots of shade.


Wildflower meadows

Nature's original no-mow landscape, wildflower meadows bring natural grace and movement to your yard. You'll get color, texture, beautiful flowers and pollinators coming to call. From miniature wildflower meadows and wildflower borders to large plantings with grassy walkways cut through, wildflowers let you nurture your roots and see vibrant blooms where grass once grew.

Our collection of Pennington wildflower seed + mulch mixes offers plenty of options to make your wildflower meadow happen this year. Simple, easy-to-use Pennington Wildflower Mix Garden Mixture and Pennington Wildflower Mix Hummingbird and Butterfly Mixture are great starting points. Then move on to our region-focused wildflower mixes designed for yards from north to south and east to west.


Drought-tolerant xeriscapes

It's been more than 40 years since someone coined the term "xeriscaping" to refer to landscaping designed for little or no supplemental irrigation, but you might have noticed a lot of people haven't gotten the memo yet. Xeriscaping replaces thirsty, fertilizer-dependent turfgrass with sustainable, low-maintenance alternatives that don't need extra water to thrive.

The key to good xeriscapes is understanding natural rainfall levels in your area, then choosing plants with that in mind. Ideally, xeriscapes get by on natural precipitation alone, except in times of extreme drought. Water-storing plants, like colorful succulents, are mainstays of drought-tolerant gardens, but any plant that matches your rainfall stats qualifies. Water-conscious mulches of pebbles or pea gravel add the finishing touch.



If growing your own food is high on your wish list, then you'll love this sustainable lawn alternative. Foodscaping, also known as edible landscaping, turns the idea of manicured lawns and restrained vegetable gardens upside down. Like traditional landscaping and gardening, foodscapes highlight color, texture, size and shapes, with one essential extra: FOOD!

Instead of green grass and purple petunias in your front yard, foodscapes heighten ornamental appeal with edibles like crinkly dinosaur kale, vibrant hot peppers or purple-black eggplant heirlooms. Your food's carbon footprint drops dramatically. Lawn mowers, lawn fertilizers and herbicides take a back seat to homegrown vegetables and fruits that look spectacular and feed your family, too.

By replacing some of your lawn — or all of it — with sustainable lawn alternatives, you can make a difference in your yard, your neighborhood and the world. Whatever you imagine, we're here to help make it happen. Have a question? We'd love to hear it. We're Pennington. Let us help your dream come true.

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