22 Cheap No Grass Backyard Ideas For Low-Maintenance Garden

Is it time to get rid of the grass because getting rid of your grass clippings is getting too expensive?

You want your backyard to look great, but you don’t have a lot of money to spend. If you’re like most people, you might not be able to afford a landscape designer.

Best No Grass Backyard Ideas. These cheap no-grass backyard ideas are just what you need if you're after an affordable makeover that requires minimal upkeep. #decorhomeideas

However, there are a lot of ways to improve your backyard without spending a lot of money. We’ve collected twenty-two cheap no grass backyard ideas to encourage you.

  • What is the cheapest way to cover a backyard?

It depends on how much yard you have and if you have access to any materials. A groundcover is a good option as it’s easy to find and works as a native plant. If you have access to gravel or bricks, make a seating area or even a patio. Mulch is a solid choice but will require more maintenance over time, as it will eventually break down.

  • What to do with a yard that has no grass?

Avoid the mindset of “real homes have grass.” Instead, think of your outdoor space as a blank canvas. Grab a blank sheet of paper and make a wish list. Do you want a patio? Fire pit? Hot tub? Then, take a look at the list below. There are large and small backyard ideas that may inspire you to create the backyard of your dreams.

1. River Rocks and Mulch Mask a Lot of Problems

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The easiest way to start cleaning out the grass in your yard is at the edge of your home. Your downspout can create a problem with water pooling near your foundation. Add river rocks to redirect the rain runoff.

Mulch is another excellent way to decorate your landscape without grass. If you like black mulch, try rubber mulch. It won’t fade the way dyed mulch will. This dark brown wood mulch makes the flowers on the spirea plant pop.

2. Set Up a Trellis Fence and Potted Plants

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This patio, made from red brick, shows how great your backyard space can look without real or artificial grass.

The trellis creates a private gardening workspace for tools, soil, and fertilizer. For lots of color and convenience, a raised brick garden bed uses potted plants to create a layered garden.

3. River Rock Landscaping Idea

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Rock gardens are one of the most popular cheap no grass backyard ideas.

This home shows a combination of designs using river rocks and wood mulch. Using this combo eliminates grass between the home and the walkway.

4. Pavers and Turf

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Two common means of eliminating a live grass lawn are the use of patio pavers and the use of artificial turf. Here we see them being used brilliantly to create an outdoor setting that mimics interior design.

This home decor design is a standout among popular small backyard ideas.

5. Affordable Desert Landscaping Idea

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Gravel is an easy way to eliminate the need for grass in your backyard. Here, take a look at the way it rolls around the pool and fire pit.

This is a good solution if you live in a dry area like southern California and are researching backyard landscaping ideas that include drought-tolerant plants.

6. Hardscape and Cacti

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Use patio pavers or stamped concrete to create the right angles common to a modern space like this. The small divider mimics the pavers on the walkway.

Decomposed granite and glass were used in the plant bed. California native plants, such as the Aloe polypylla pictured, add texture and color.

7. Water Wise Garden

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This rock garden does a great job of imitating a pond. Large rocks create texture and visual interest.

River rocks are dotted along the ground, imitating lily pads. Soft mosses and grasses bring this hardscape to life.

8. Firepit and Wide Walkways

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There are several things going on in this backyard. The walkway was created using small pebbles.

An edged entrance to the fire pit area uses larger rocks to define the space. Wood mulch covers the garden beds, keeping weeds and unwanted growth at bay.

9. Cacti on a Slope

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Homes in dry climates would do well to avoid grass altogether. We can see color added to the use of ground cover and drought-tolerant plants in this small sloped yard.

The landscaping takes advantage of the slope by creating a winding dry river bed that acts as the path around the home.

10. Southwestern Courtyard Transformation

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A long, narrow side yard of this Tucson home becomes an interesting walkway. The brick’s basket weave pattern avoids making the narrow path feel claustrophobic.

The trellises on the side add color and texture without adding maintenance. Crushed gravel is set on both sides of the path.

The side of this home connects seamlessly with the courtyard in the back, bringing cohesiveness to the outdoor landscape.

11. River Rock Raised Garden Bed

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An undulating yard gets a makeover. The walkway was formed using stamped concrete and retaining walls.

Colorful, smooth river rocks and mulch join forces to fill in the kidney shaped spaces raised garden beds. Long blade grasses need little trimming throughout the year.

12. Use Native Plants

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Because they already feel at home, native plants will easily thrive in any garden.

Extend the garden away from the home and add colorful plants that may grow wild in your neighborhood. This idea works whether you live in England, Guatemala, or North Carolina.

13. Tall Trees and Gravel Paths

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You could add a path that mimics a dry riverbed. Pea gravel is used here. The river’s edge is set with large black rocks.

The area near a living, running river is called the riparian zone. It’s reimagined here using low maintenance foliage.

14. Add a Second Patio

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The homeowners took advantage of the retaining wall used to hold back erosion from the slope in their yard.

They put in a large patio area which is used for entertaining and as another seating area in their backyard.

A French drain is set around alongside covered with river rocks. A few ornamental plants add color without increasing maintenance.

15. Plant Multiple Garden Beds

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While many people only plant a single garden bed in their backyard, if you’re looking to eliminate grass, set up several garden beds.

Raised garden beds add color without the need for natural grass. Include a vegetable garden or two and cut down on your grocery bill. Use mulch in between as the path.

Dropping cardboard underneath the mulch is an effective means for preventing weed growth.

16. Rock Garden and Water Feature

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Rock gardens don’t have to be all about crushed stone. Take this example of a raised rock garden bed with a lower level edged in gray pavers. The water fountain’s materials hold the garden’s natural look.

Flagstone pavers used as edging create the look of a natural looking path. Palm trees and ornamental grasses add color.

17. White River Rock Garden

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Here’s a garden that’s all about directing water and drainage. The stamped concrete driveway has a drain runoff on the edge.

The white rocks and dry river bed help direct rain into the gutter. Native plants dot in and out of the rocks. It has a more suburban feel by using all white rocks.

Edging the garden with mulch prevents lawn mower blades from using gravel as projectiles.

18. Paver Pathway

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Flagstone pavers are used as stepping stones that crisscross a dry river bed.

The grass that grows in-between the steps is easily cut back using a weed wacker.

19. Native Plants on a Rocky Slope

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When you have a lawn with a slope, try a layered rock garden with cacti or native plants set in-between larger rocks.

A dry river bed works as a rain runoff, forcing water away from the foundation of the home.

20. Dry Riverbed Walkway

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A dry river bed is an easy way to create a secondary path to an entrance leading to the backyard.

Your options for surrounding it include rubber mulch, wood mulch, or even small pebbles. It keeps people on the path and is very easy to maintain.

21. Extend the Welcome Mat

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The awkward space between the walk and garage is easily solved when using rocks, mulch,and small shrubs. It’s mirrored on the other side of the walkway.

Stamped concrete is the easiest way to get a curve in a large walk up to the porch.

22. Red Mulch in an Edged Garden Bed

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Adding mulch to the side doesn’t have to be level with the grass. Raise the garden bed using precast brick. Add mulch to the garden and some low maintenance flowers.

Photo of author

Ivo Iv

Ivo is the owner of Decorhomeideas.com – he started the site back in 2013, when he was still working in a Home Decor company, but the passion for interior design and decorations lead to creating the site and following his own dream of creating a great Home Decor, DIY and Gardening online-magazine. EXPERTISE: Landscaping, Interior Design, Gardening, DIYer, Home Decor, Engineering, LOCATION: New York, USA TITLE: Chief Editor FOLLOW IVO IV on LinkedIn