22+ Backyard Ideas on a Budget With No Grass
While planning your outdoor space you may find that your personal preferences lead you towards budget-friendly ideas that do not use grass. I know when you typically think about your front yard or back yard a natural grass lawn is what comes to mind but, that doesn’t mean it is the only option. You can have a gorgeous space without the use of green grass. Below are just a dozen or so of our favorite free-of-grass backyard ideas. Make sure you take the time to scroll through completely, who knows, maybe your next weekend project is on this list.
Let’s get started with this beautiful wooden deck. One great way to create a beautiful outdoor area without grass is to fill your yard with a wood deck. An affordable option to use in your own backyard would be pressure-treated wood. This is one way that homeowners who can not afford to build a composite deck are able to get their deck without spending a lot of money. A couple more reasons why you should consider using wood in your yard are the natural feel and look it gives, and the added benefit of needing less material to build. Popular wood choices for decks are cedar, redwood, and southern yellow pine. All three resist rot and insects and are easy to work with.
This backyard shows a simple solution to not wanting grass but wanting to have defined areas in the yard. This large concrete patio is surrounded by rock. Both these options are long-lasting and beautiful while being budget-friendly. Putting rocks down on top of landscape fabric are different ways to keep the weeds at bay. Adding outdoor lighting to this area will really make this outdoor space the perfect place to gather. All it would take is string lights hanging over this table to really seal the deal for me.
Natural Stone Patio
Using natural stone around your fire pit or as a patio can be more budget-friendly if you take the DIY approach. Other ways to save money would be to check local classifieds to see if anyone is getting rid of some shopping sales or cheaper natural stone options.
Just one of many small backyard ideas (or for those of you who don’t want a large cement pad poured) that include a landscape design without grass would be to fill your space with concrete pavers. When it comes to concrete pavers the possibilities are nearly endless. The dry garden above includes concrete pavers, small rocks in a couple of different colors, and stone borders. The addition of a handful of potted plants is an easy way to add color, height, and texture to the space.
A full-yard outdoor kitchen is another beautiful backyard design to consider. If your dream backyard is one with a full-yard kitchen (and who doesn’t feel the same way) but you want to make sure you don’t spend too much money you can work with reclaimed wood, recycled stone, and brick. Checking classifieds will help you know when someone around you has something you need at a reasonable price or possibly even free.
Backyard fire pit
This DIY backyard firepit is very budget-friendly and a simple focal point you can add to your yard. The supplies need to build this firepit are bricks for the fire pit wall, gravel, twine or string, a tape measure, stakes, a large shovel, a trowel, tamp, and level. You’ll use the string to measure and shape your firepit. Typically they are 4 to 5 feet in diameter. Next, you’ll shovel out the grass and tamp down the dirt. After making sure the circle is level, you will add a thick layer of gravel (this is typically a couple of inches deep) and then arrange the bricks in the circle to a height of 12 inches. That’s it! Another budget-friendly idea to add to your yard over the weekend.
Many great ideas that are grass alternatives are to include water features in your extra space.
You might be thinking that adding a swimming pool to your backyard isn’t possible to do on a tight budget. Though you won’t find yourself swimming laps in this particular type of pool, you can definitely put this to good use on hot summer days. Starting with a 10′ galvanized stock tank (these run about $750) and Pond Shield Epoxy Paint (running about $70 for 1.5 quarts) and some spray paint you are well on your way to having a beautiful family-friendly pool in your yard. Considering above-ground pools can cost up to $11,200, I would say there is a great advantage to using a stock tank in your yard.
Another great addition to your yard is a pond. Bet you didn’t think this look could be recreated using an old tire and heavy plastic. Start by digging a hole big enough for your tire to fit in and line it with the plastic and fill it with water. After that, you are ready to design and decorate it to create your perfect idyllic garden pond. This is when you’re able to use different stones, use sand, and use different rocks or other low-maintenance ground covers for your space. I still can not believe that this gorgeous water feature was made using an old tire, what a thrifty idea to use in your yard.
A rock garden can give a natural look to your yard with the added benefit of being considered low-maintenance landscaping. Using river rocks and other things that are given to us by mother nature, you can create any design you’d like for your beautiful garden. Rock gardens are also known as dry stream beds or dry creek beds. This particular one was created using a variety of rocks, boulders, river rocks, gravel, mulch, and for a pop of color, some ornamental grasses.
For those of you with a green thumb on a budget, an inexpensive way to garden is to use a pallet for your garden bed. The best part of this DIY project is you can often find these pallets for free. Other options to consider are having an edible garden, fruit garden, or vegetable garden. Consider buying these plants smaller or even starting from seeds to save money. Or, when buying fruit trees find small trees instead of more mature trees. If you want to consider the future in your budget, think of the money you will save if you are growing your own food instead of going to the store or farm stands to buy them.
If you have limited space, you might consider a vertical garden. This one in particular was created with pallets as well. Choosing a vertical garden allows you to maximize your space, think about how much more you’ll be able to grow in less space. These types of gardens are easier to maintain and can get more sun exposure and better airflow all while adding beauty and privacy to your yard.
If pallets are not what you have in mind when you picture your perfect backyard, consider a container garden. With the right plants, soil, and water you can make almost any container work for you. While in your house look for old furniture you could use for this project. Drawers, desks, chairs, sinks, you name it, and it’s most likely been used as a container in someone’s garden somewhere. If you can’t find the right thing around your house check out local classifieds or discount (thrift) stores for items that fit your fancy and budget. For a beautiful modern look consider containers that have sharp, smooth clean edges and colors.
Flower beds are one of the best ways to add a pop of color to your yard. To keep it budget-friendly we recommend starting with smaller plants from your local garden centers or even seeding. Choose plants that are drought resistant, this will help keep your water bill from going up. By choosing perennial plants or native plants you’ll also find yourself saving money. Perennial plants are cold hardy plants that will return again, whereas annual plants you will need to plant every year. Don’t forget to add ornamental grasses to your flower gardens to give height, texture, and movement to your space.
Window boxes are another low-maintenance idea to keep in mind when planning your yard. Easy to DIY or available premade with many options in various styles and price ranges you’re bound to find one you love. Fill with different plants or decor to have beautiful window boxes year-round without using up much backyard space. Sometimes good things are very easy to find and create, even when you don’t have a large area to use.
Some people find that they need extra parking and the right place for that might just be their backyard. Using gravel you can have a beautiful parking area or driveway is not very much time. With the right ground prep, your driveway is just another low-maintenance area of your yard.
Now that you have a plan for your plants you’ll want to start considering ground coverings or mulches for your garden beds.
Organic mulches can be easily created by collecting fallen leaves that are shredded to help them quickly decompose in your garden. A quick woodchip mulch is another option if you’re able to borrow (or maybe you already have your own) wood chipper. Mixing fresh grass clippings with wood pieces is a longer-lasting mulch. Finally, you can DIY compost mulch for your garden. This is a project that will take more time but will have many added benefits for your garden. Create a compost pile or bin consisting of, fruit and veggie peels, egg shells, coffee grounds, grass clippings, shredded newspapers, and dry leaves.
This yard looks like it has grass when in fact it actually has artificial turf. Some people might find that while they don’t want the grass they need to maintain in their yard they either like the appearance of the green lawn or they want a space for their pets to enjoy or use. You’re able to find artificial grass for under $2 a linear foot if you look hard enough. The best thing about this type of grass is that you are able to place this patch of grass where you want with ease.
This pathway was made from wood chips. Wood chips are a cost-friendly way to add color to your yard, define a path, or use them as ground cover. Check local dumps, and classifieds for cheap (and sometimes free) wood chips or mulch to use in your yard.
Now that you have seen just a handful of the many ideas (that’s right there are so many more cheap landscaping ideas floating around) for a low maintenance grass-free yard, what are you going to do next?