Small Area Grasses We Want to Run Across

Yes, small yards can have nice lawns!
Yes, small yards can have nice lawns! | Source

Can a Small Space Really Have a Nice Lawn Area?

Whether it is environmental motivations, time or physical considerations, or financial need, homeowners are rooting out ways to rethink caring for large lawns. Finding the perfect plants for downsizing can be thorny business unless we familiarize ourselves with the options.

Thinking outside the quadrangle is the way to uproot old habits when it comes to lawns. Introducing the following grasses to a compact area gives homeowners options for sprucing up outdoor areas. Check out how some familiar kinds can be used in unexpected ways and new ideas can be used as springboards.

Buffalograss Takes Its Job In Stride

As a strong native turf that is easily planted via plugs, seed, or sod, Buffalograss is an uncomplicated friend to small areas. A low grower, it can be left un-mowed, which is a snippet of news that lands it squarely in homeowners’ hearts. Any who are downsizing outdoor spaces in an effort to spend less time and resources caring for their lawns will also appreciate its drought tolerance.

Needing at least 6 hours of sun each day, buffalograss enjoys sunny places. Understanding its personality is important. Too much attention can kill it off. Too much water drowns it out. Too much mowing deprives its owner of one of its best features. Few needs make it ideal for lightweight gardeners.

Though not ideal for high traffic areas, it’s plain to see that it’s not the choice for a kids’ play space. Recent varieties are beginning to fill in around patio areas and between flower beds, especially on banks and hillsides.

Who Knew St. Augustine was so Diverse?

Floratine, one of the St. Augustine class of grasses, likes to amble along the ground, working out well for people who want an easy care green space. Thriving in hot climates, it does not tolerate wet feet or cold shoulders. It does, however, permit close cutting, which is ideal for a small high-traffic lawn. Floratine was not available before 1959, but its characteristics made it immediately popular.

Other St. Augustines are also high demand grasses due to their tuff turf. Floratam, Raleigh, and Seville have unique features that make them worth planting, and dwarf St. Augustines might be the preferred choice for cooler habitats because they are more grownup about brisker temps and shadier areas.

Choosing from the range of grasses offered in this saint’s group may be just what a turf grass specialist orders for their earth’s veneer. Why not yours?

Great grasses for small spaces!
Great grasses for small spaces! | Source

Fine Fescue Grasses with Refined Options

Fine fescue is a great pick for cooler, shadier regions. There are several family members to choose from–creeping red, Chewings, hard, and sheep–all having both similar and opposing traits. Vague enough?

Let’s clear it right up for our purposes. An almost no-care lawn choice can be found in the hard, the Chewings, and the sheep fescues since they do not creep.

Hard fescue tolerates heat a little better than its siblings and, with a little care after seeding, it can thrive in more basic soils. Chewings, also grown from seed, has rich green coloring for a dramatic but easy care lawn. The sheep variety is an excellent choice when switching to a naturalized lawn because left unmowed, it invites flowery guests to come and go freely as they play in the wind.

These grassy kinfolk can be employed in small areas with splendid success. Outcomes will likely be better than expected as they are reliable from the ground up.

The Distinct Zoysiagrass

This list would be incomplete without the high traffic grass that is a year-round winner. Though a regular schedule of care is recommended, the amount of time it takes is so minimal, especially for small areas, that anyone who wants to do a little showcase gardening falls in love with it.

Once established zoysiagrass is an enviable lawn, large or small. A gorgeous green late spring to summer and an awesome yellow-brown from late fall to winter, it offers luxury stomping grounds.

Adding elegant variety to a garden, it seems to want to help decorate the seasons. Presenting a whole new area to enjoy at different times of the year, one of the zoysiagrasses can be a matchless choice for smaller lawns.

It can be mowed short, creating a safer space for kids to play and for the elderly to walk. Though hot months may require regular trims depending on the lawn’s location and use, a real plus during busy, hot summertimes is that it is a fairly slow grower.

While I love my western neighbor’s zoysia lawn, my southern neighbor despises its winter coloring. So, it’s not for everyone, but remember, to each his own!

Perineal Ryegrass is Easily Satisfied (and a Little Witty)

Some of the grasses listed above may brown up in the cold season, but perineal ryegrass comes to the rescue. It can be seeded into other grasses to brighten up an otherwise drab several months of the year. I find its lively green color to be sun on a cloudy day, encouraging us that spring is on its way.

Planted by seed it is splendid for small lawns. It does not have time to spread since it dies out (in most areas) when summer comes. Of course, in areas that stay cool the entire year, it’s a magnificent choice. Some mowing may be required in the not so cold months, but it does not grow fast in really chilly weather so ryegrass is basically no-mow then.

It is quite cheery when established correctly and left to dance in the breeze, though trimming with a mower is acceptable for more formal locations. This grass also makes a patio pot a merry spot in wintertime. When ryegrass is happy, everybody’s happy!

A Mow Free Mix Frees Mankind

Freedom sums it all up. Compact lawns, less time, lower costs, fewer earthly resources all add up to freedom for homeowners to enjoy life more fully. Mow free spaces needing the least amount of care are very appealing and mow free grasses can also be used in pots for xeriscape outdoor areas.

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One note about some mow free grass seed mixes is that they have an herbicidal effect, meaning that they naturally deal with undesirable undergrowth. If a simple-to-care-for green lawn is preferred, no mow options should be considered.

A motivated mastermind become entrepreneur has developed a brand of no mow grass seed that continues to receive rave reviews. He named it after his mother and many say it is a Pearl of a product. Considered a jewel in freedom fighters for lawns it has become a gem in the string of options that the little lawn movement brags about.

Choose the right grass for small lawns!
Choose the right grass for small lawns! | Source

Dwarf Mondo is Something Worth Monkeying With

How does mowing once a year sound? With some neat varieties to choose from dwarf mondos are a super-duper choice for replacing a lawn area that must be mowed frequently. Its usefulness for health issues is a neat study, but its use in borders, pots, and to fill in lawns is better known.

Evergreen, the dwarf mondo’s name speaks for its size. Its varieties grow in compact clumps that will intertwine and choke out weeds, seeding itself profusely. It can be a very economical choice for homeowners who already have a pot or a stand because it transplants so easily.

Limiting care for outdoor areas in some cases translates into using only potted plants. Mondo grasses are easy but show-off stand-alones in decorative containers or they can be combined with other hardy green things in large planters. Varied foliage sizes and colors add greatly to their desirability.

Sweet Flag

For the coldest regions this colonizing sweetie is a wetlands plant saluted for its use in small spaces. Though found growing in the wild in the best and worst that marshlands have to offer, sweet flag greets buyers with a bright assortment for mixing and matching in small damp yards and even in xeriscapes with a water feature.

Celebrated for its grass-like foliage, in bloom it has been described as a miniature cattail. Sweet flag is actually an old favorite across the world. Its aroma is part of the reason, but being deer resistant and having medicinal properties does not hurt its popularity. Doing well in potted plantings this ornamental ground cover is also distinctive in rock gardens with adequate moisture.

Its long history provides much reading for those interested. Today, the plant’s allure has not flagged. From historians to perfumers, sweet flag remains in high demand.

Dymondia is a Diamond in the World of Grasses

Beautiful coloring is only one reason to embrace dymondia for a small lawn area. Commonly called silver carpet, this pretty princess is not a delicate damsel. A soft grayish green carpet is the effect it radiates across a little yard. Stepping stones throughout a planting help protect the carpeting, but this choice is probably not the best for children’s jousting about–um, make that jostling about.

Water conservation in distressed areas is a huge concern. The concept is a stumper for those who do not understand the earth’s closed water system, but those in need of the resource focus on water conservation with a single-mindedness that leads them to plants like dymondia. Proven to require a mere 10% of the water that a typical lawn calls for means it a refreshing option.

This little plant also works hard for those who go to a zero lawn alternative because it is another grass that is pretty in pots. Homeowners and renters can enjoy its charms even in cold areas if the plantings are in containers that can be brought indoors during frosty seasons.

Living large is very often accomplished by going small!

Asters are Stars in Small Yards

It’s no wonder that asters are making star appearances in small space gardens. They are a downsizing gardener’s dream come true. With a wide range of bloom colors, they may have broad or thin petals, are enjoyed by butterflies and birds, and many endure drought well, so, what’s not to applaud?

As a perennial, the old-fashioned aster makes gardening easy in border areas, rock gardens, or in potted arrangements. A lawn filled with aster plants allows meadowy flowers to flourish seasonally.

Taller asters can be used in tighter spaces, but shorter, more compact varieties will most often be used in lawns. Disease resistant varieties would obviously be a good choice for those who want to keep their gardening to a minimum.

The 1819 Aster Revolution is remembered as such because protesters wore the flower. Today, the aster is joining a different kind of revolution, one that is helping people create outdoor living spaces that are more natural and easier to maintain. This star is becoming a lead player in a major drama.

Which Will You Choose?

Transitioning from wide open high-maintenance lawns to naturalized spaces divided into smaller sections suitable for interest and sustainability is well worth the effort. The rewards go beyond the benefits for homeowners and the advantages for neighborhoods.

These days, achieving the dream of living large is often accomplished by going small. Do it in small steps and see where it takes you!

Are you considering a hardy grass for a small lawn space? 9 comments

Kaili Bisson profile image

Kaili Bisson 5 months ago from Canada

Hi RTalloni, what an informative hub. There were a couple here I had not heard of before; they might not survive our winters. My hubby is lawn-obsessed, so some hardy, low-growing stuff might be just the answer.

Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 5 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

Great article. I am looking into Pearl's Premium it may be just the ticket. Thanks

Carb Diva profile image

Carb Diva 5 months ago

This could not have come at a better time. My lawn of 20+ years has become almost non-existent. It is now more moss and weed than actual grass. My climate "used to be" quite wet, but in the past 2 years we have had an unusually dry and hot summer. I have heard that this year, #3, will be more of the same. It's time to re-examine the type of grass that we typically use in my corner of the world--usually a mix of fine fescue and perennial rye. Thank you for all of the information--you have put all of the research in one handy place for me.

RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 5 months ago from the short journey Author

Kaili Bisson:

Thanks bunches for letting me know you found this interesting and (hopefully) useful! :)

RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 5 months ago from the short journey Author


Thanks for stopping in and letting me know that this gave you some direction!

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