Lawn Alternatives in Australia

Written By:
Scott Carroll
Published On:
November 1, 2023
Lawn Alternatives

In the vast and diverse landscapes of Australia, the traditional green lawn has long been a symbol of suburban bliss. However, with changing environmental conditions and a growing awareness of sustainability, there’s a pressing need to rethink our gardening choices. 

This article delves deep into the world of lawn alternatives that not only reduce maintenance and costs but also contribute positively to our environment. From native Australian plants to innovative shade-loving ground covers, discover how to transform your outdoor space into an eco-friendly haven.

Why consider alternative options to traditional lawns

The obsession with maintaining the perfect ‘Green Carpet’ often takes its toll on homeowners’ wallets and leisure time. 

Regular watering, mowing, fertilising – the tasks are never-ending, not to mention the environmental impact! This situation necessitates the exploration of various lawn alternatives Australia can offer that require less maintenance yet blesses homes with appealing aesthetics.

Benefits of using lawn alternatives in Australia

Opting for unconventional grass replacements brings numerous benefits:

  • Traditional lawns consume vast amounts of water, while most alternative yard covers have lower irrigation requirements.
  • These options need scant mowing or no mowing at all.
  • Many plants used as lawn substitutes attract beneficial insects, promoting an eco-friendly ecosystem.
  • With these alternatives, there’s hardly a need for pesticides or artificial fertilisers.  

In short, lawn alternatives simplify yard management and contribute to environmental conservation.

Overview of different types of lawn alternatives

There’s a wide array of choices when seeking substitutes for standard turf. Native Australian plants offer an excellent way to celebrate local flora while providing ground cover options that flourish naturally. 

Dichondra lawns or No Mow Grass make impeccable soft walkways between pavers or stepping stones. Ground cover plants serve splendidly as dense weed-suppressing carpets. Those looking for an off-the-beaten-path approach might opt for flowering lawns like creepers and thyme yards. 

Lastly, synthetic turf is a convincingly real-looking substitute for natural grass with almost zero maintenance effort. Looking at this extensive selection, there are multiple ways to cover your backyard outside the conventional lawn norms.

Dichondra in pavement

1. Native Australian plants as lawn alternatives

Shifting our focus from traditional lawns into the magnificent realm of native Australian plants can present an array of benefits not just for your garden but also for local wildlife and the environment at large. Naturally adapted to Australia’s unique climate conditions, these plants serve as fantastic lawn alternatives worthy of consideration.

Benefits of using native plants in landscaping

When you choose to use native plants as lawn alternatives in your landscape, you pave the way for a host of advantages:

  • Hardy and low-maintenance: One striking advantage is their inherent hardiness. Being already acclimatised to local weather patterns means that they are often much more drought-tolerant than foreign plant species – a trait particularly favourable considering Australia’s penchant for dry spells!
  • Environmentally friendly: More so, with ecological concerns increasing worldwide, utilising these locals aids in maintaining biodiversity by providing necessary habitats for native fauna like birds and insects.
  • Aesthetic appeal: Apart from environmental impacts, Australian native grasses unleash an unparalleled aesthetic charm with their distinctive flowers and foliage – transforming your garden into a vibrant display of colours come blooming season!

In essence, implementing such grass replacement ground cover options proves equally beneficial for both nature and homeowners alike.

Tips for incorporating native plants into your landscape design

Adopting the likes of Kurapia or eco-lawns may seem challenging initially. But fear not; here are some easy-to-follow tips on getting started:

  • Start small: Instead of completely redoing your entire landscape overnight, begin with a small patch or corner yard. Experiment with native plants like Creeping Jenny, which do exceptionally well between pavers.
  • Research well: Do thorough internet reconnaissance on each potential species’ requirements regarding sunlight and moisture levels before deciding what to plant where.
  • Consult local nurseries: Seek advice from local nurseries when choosing your plants. With their extensive knowledge about what plant species are native to your specific region, they can effectively guide you in making informed decisions.
  • Diverse plantings: Try to use a variety of grass alternatives for a more vibrant and attractive design element – think flowering lawns or a bright green hue for driveways.

Armed with these guidelines and an open mind, the journey towards turning your garden into an eco-friendly nirvana using native Australian lawn alternatives becomes much less daunting – presenting an adventure ripe with learning and satisfaction.

Creeping Jenny

2. Low-maintenance ground covers as lawn alternatives

In the struggle to maintain immaculate, while also sustainable, lawns in Australia, it’s important not to overlook a secret weapon – low-maintenance ground cover plants. These humble, earth-loving plants are more than capable of providing stunning beauty and resilience underfoot without demanding the high care levels that traditional grassy lawns often do.


Benefits and characteristics of low-maintenance ground covers

When we refer to “low maintenance ground cover,” we’re looking at hardy little heroes like creeping thyme or microclover, floral delights such as wattle mat rush or combinations thereof. A well-selected choice of ground cover can be a lawn replacement decision you’ll thank yourself for years down the line.

Let me highlight some key benefits:

  • Less watering: Thanks to their efficient root systems, these plantings require far less water than traditional turf.
  • Weed prevention: Dense ground covers leave a few spots open for weeds to take root.
  • No mowing required: You can kiss your mower goodbye! The slow-growing nature of many ground cover species means they seldom need clipping.
  • Erosion control and soil health: Their sturdy construction makes them effective against slope erosion, improving soil health.

How to choose the right ground cover

I hear what you’re thinking – “How do I choose amongst all these fantastic options?” Let’s break it down. 

First, evaluate your specific needs and circumstances. Are you dealing with full sun exposure or considerable shade? Is the soil in the area sandy or clay-heavy and rich?

Next, consider the purpose of your lawn alternative — are you looking for a robust cover for backyard play areas? Or is a fragrant and flowering attraction for local wildlife more your jam?

Lastly, always remember to pick plants native to our beautiful country. After all, they’ve adapted perfectly to our unique conditions, so not only will Australian natives like dichondra lawns thrive here, but using them aids local ecology.

Once these answers are clear, you can enter the exciting world of ground cover alternatives to grass. The journey towards an aesthetically stunning yet sustainable and low-maintenance yard awaits! Trust me – it’s worth it for the karma points Mother Nature throws your way alone! It’s exactly why I’m such a fan of eco lawns myself.

3. Synthetic turf as a viable option for lawns in Australia

Stepping away from traditional grass options, synthetic turf is an impressive contender in the catalogue of lawn alternatives in Australia. Host to numerous benefits and variety, let’s explore why this faux greenery might just be the revamp your Australian yard needs.

Synthetic grass

Benefits of synthetic turf compared to natural grass lawns

Having a lush, maintenance-free lawn throughout the year is something many homeowners dream of. A reality that comes to fruition with synthetic turf. Not only does it maintain its appealing vibrancy through summer and winter, but it also withstands high foot traffic – making it ideal for households with children and pets.

While traditional lawns demand regular mowing, watering, and fertilising, fake grass bids farewell such demanding tasks. As a result, it’s not only time-saving but environmentally beneficial by conserving water resources.

Moreover, synthetic turf doesn’t host weeds or pests; say goodbye to arduous weeding sessions or grappling with garden pests. This artificial grass embodies stress-free gardening while delivering a visually pleasing aesthetic like flowering lawns.

Types and varieties of synthetic turf available in Australia

The market brims with different types of synthetic turf tailored to various needs and preferences – coined aptly as “fake grass cheap as chips”. For those seeking natural-looking options, high-quality variants mimic real grass blades’ colour variations very closely. These are perfect choices when trying to cover backyards seamlessly without losing the lush green aesthetics.

Undoubtedly much loved for its minimal upkeep requirements is Eco-Lawn varieties that feature thin blades offering softness underfoot compared to typical fake turf—“a no-mow lawn alternative” worthy of consideration.

Another popular pick among Australians is microclover seeds, which make robust bases for synthetic turfs due to their compact growth style and ability to endure foot traffic well—ideal for those looking to create play zones or entertainment areas in their yards.

Considerations when installing and maintaining synthetic turf

While synthetic turf presents an array of benefits, certain considerations should be kept in mind. A professional installation is often recommended to ensure proper drainage and longevity of the fake grass. This also helps prevent common issues such as wrinkles, poor adherence to the base, and seam separation that could occur over time with inexperienced installations.

Even though synthetic turf is largely maintenance-free compared to its natural counterpart, occasional grooming, like brushing against the grain for volume restoration, will help keep your lawn looking fresh. Also, quick cleaning routines – a simple hose-down once a week during dry weather or light detergent use (when necessary) can help maintain its pristine condition.

Keeping all these in mind while embracing this grass alternative will ensure you enjoy an attractive, fuss-free green space throughout the year. As we continue our quest exploring top lawn alternatives Australia offers, synthetics have made their robust stand indeed!

Sustainable landscaping practices using lawn alternatives

Owing to Australia’s diverse climate and unique soils, sustainable landscaping plays a crucial role. Traditional lawns can be resource-intensive, gobbling up vast quantities of water, not to mention the frequent mowing, which contributes to atmospheric carbon emissions. This is where some viable grass replacements come into play.

Adopting sustainable practices ensures resilience as you adapt to environmental changes without disturbing local ecosystems or depleting resources overly. More specifically, by utilising appropriate lawn alternatives such as eco lawns and micro clover seeds, you can bring in beneficial insects & create balanced ecosystems right in your backyard.

Tips for creating an eco-friendly landscape with lawn alternatives

Creating a garden that successfully balances aesthetics with ecology calls for specific strategies. Here are a few tactics:

  • Choose Native Plants: Native Australian plants have naturally been adapted to survive within their respective local climates -dichondra lawns being a prime example.
  • Use Ground Covers: Instead of traditional turf grasses, consider employing ground cover alternatives such as Kurapia and low-maintenance ground covers.
  • Incorporate Mulch: Mulching aids soil moisture retention while preventing weed growth, serving as an often underappreciated lawn replacement strategy.

Remember that there’s no one-size-fits-all low-maintenance lawn alternative – it wholly depends on your region’s specific conditions and personal preferences.

Water-saving techniques for maintaining lawn alternatives

Even when using lawn alternatives built for drought-tolerant conditions, adopting effective water-saving strategies is a key departure from regular watering habits characterising traditional lawns. 

Here’s how to go about it:

  • Smart Irrigation: Water at dawn or dusk when evaporation rates are lowest and adapt watering frequency per seasonal changes.
  • Drip-Irrigation Systems: These provide an efficient, controlled water distribution directly to the plant roots while minimising wastage incurred through overspray or run-offs.
  • Retention of Rainwater: Harvesting and storing rainwater is another eco-friendly way to successfully water your landscaping without leaning on municipal supplies excessively.

Remember, sustainability doesn’t require completely sterilising green luxuries but rather the balance between aesthetic pleasure and ecological preservation. Now, that’s what I call smart gardening!


In Australia’s ever-evolving landscapes, the shift towards sustainable lawn alternatives is more than just a trend; it’s a testament to our commitment to harmonising with nature. Embracing these eco-friendly choices not only rejuvenates our gardens but also resonates with the core values of conservation and biodiversity. 

As we’ve journeyed through the myriad of options, from the vibrant native plants to the practicality of synthetic turf, it’s evident that the future of Australian gardening is both green and sustainable. It’s a future where our backyards become sanctuaries for local wildlife, water conservation is a norm, and the beauty of our gardens is matched only by their ecological significance.

 Let’s continue to cultivate gardens that are not just visually stunning but also echo the profound respect we hold for our unique Australian environment.


How do lawn alternatives impact local wildlife?

While traditional lawns often require pesticides that can harm local fauna, many lawn alternatives, especially native plants, provide natural habitats and food sources for local wildlife, enhancing biodiversity.

Can I mix traditional lawns with lawn alternatives for a hybrid approach?

Absolutely! Many homeowners choose a hybrid approach, incorporating patches of traditional grass with areas of ground cover or native plants. This allows for a diverse garden that benefits from both aesthetics and sustainability.

How do lawn alternatives fare in extreme weather conditions?

Many lawn alternatives, especially native Australian plants, are adapted to local weather extremes, making them more resilient to droughts, floods, or heat waves than traditional lawns.

Are there any financial incentives for adopting eco-friendly lawn alternatives in Australia?

Some local councils and environmental organisations offer rebates or incentives for homeowners who adopt water-saving or eco-friendly landscaping practices. It’s worth checking with your local authorities.

How can I ensure my lawn alternative remains vibrant during the non-growing seasons?

While some lawn alternatives might be dormant in colder months, proper care, mulching, and occasional watering can ensure they bounce back with vigour in the growing season. Additionally, choosing evergreen varieties can help maintain year-round greenery.