Non-grass lawn options?

mapgalOctober 19, 2006

I am an AZ newbie (from midwest) so I just don't know a lot about the AZ landscape. We are building a home and I am planning the yard. Most of it I hope to garden in but I do want an area (about 15x45) for recreation such as lawn bowling, frisbee, etc. I really want to xeriscape and want to avoid grass. What are my choices? Is decomposed granite the best choice? Can you actually sit on it, play games on it, etc? Are there other xeriscape options that provide a nice surface for playing?

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port_a_bella(z9 AZ)

the newest synthetic lawns are awesome. they're kid and pet friendly too... there's a couple diffrent retailers out here who specialize in synthetic lawns. i know one of the is call synlawn. good luck


    Bookmark   October 20, 2006 at 2:19AM
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Another option for a recreational area would be shredded mulch. It's used under playground equipment and creates a soft yet firm cushion to walk on and is even suitable for wheelchairs.

For help planning your yard, ask for the free brochures that your city water conservation office provides. This includes the Xeriscape Design Guide, Landscape Plants for the Arizona Desert, and Landscape Watering by the Numbers. Here's a link where you can access your city.

Here is a link that might be useful: Landscape publications

    Bookmark   October 20, 2006 at 1:57PM
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port_a_bella(z9 AZ)

i've heard that white clover can be used, in place of grass. does anyone know it white clover goes dormant out here? what are their water needs?


    Bookmark   November 2, 2006 at 5:37PM
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Your best choice would be to go with a lawn. None of the other choices are going to give you a soft place to walk (gravel) or provide you with a clean, dust free place to play (mulch). The best strategy for a lawn is to keep keep the bermuda alive-barely-during the summer, then as soon as it's cool enough plant the rye and that will take you until Memorial Day because lets face it, that's when you want to be outside and enjoy it. The rye doesn't take nearly as much water as grass in the summer and if we have a wet winter-as is predicted-you can sail by with little additional watering. If you're going to go this route PLANT NOW.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2006 at 6:56PM
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Perhaps aztreelvr was suggesting rubber mulch? This is a relatively new product that is kid-friendly and provides a soft surface for sitting and playing. It comes in different colors too.

Here is a link that might be useful: Rubber Mulch

    Bookmark   November 3, 2006 at 11:19AM
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Thanks for all the suggestions, I am looking into all of them!

    Bookmark   November 3, 2006 at 11:43AM
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Rubber Mulch-Yuck!!! Nothing like keeping it natural. Old tractor tires make great planters as well. Seriously, rubber mulch would be hotter than hell in the summer. Half dead bermuda would have more of a cooling look than a bunch of shredded rubber. I'm trying to imagine shredded rubber and all I can think of is the paving surface on the 101......

    Bookmark   November 4, 2006 at 1:04AM
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Read an interesting article.....trying to find it to post about the rubber mulches and possible problems. There are a whole slew of chemicals used to make the rubber. The study found that the chemicals leach out of the rubber as it oxidizes and enter the soil. I remember that one was arsenic. Even so, I tried it in one area and the smell of rubber just didn't fit well in the garden. Kind of reminded me of walking through an auto recycling yard. My neighbor just had the "faux grass" installed in his back yard. I have to admit it's pretty impressive. A little $$$ until you factor in the cost and labor of maintaining grass of which I have waaaaay too much. I'm waiting for summer to roll around to see what the temperatures are like with the artificial turf in place. They said it doesn't get hot and you just hose it down and it cools off the area it's in. I would think that it would turn the area into a sauna for a while though....

    Bookmark   November 4, 2006 at 11:36AM
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thor0(11? arizona)

you want zoysia ! its hardy in dry heat and needs little water and is inexpensive!look here:)
its guarnteed not to heat kill or they replace it :) mine is on order

    Bookmark   December 27, 2006 at 9:45PM
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Rather than zoysia, you might consider buffalograss. There are several good turf-type buffalograsses now, like Legacy, and they require very little water and grow only 4" tall, so it doesn't even need to be mowed that often.

Here is a link that might be useful: Legacy Buffalo grass

    Bookmark   January 8, 2007 at 3:04AM
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I took out our decomposed granite as it was a haven for weed seeds that germinated after the rains. It throws off a lot of heat and it is a much prettier color when it's wet than when it's dry and dusty looking. It's definately not something you want to sit or kneel on, as it gets very hard and hot.

Concrete is the best choice if you want to stay away from grass in a play area or a social area. Maybe what you want is a surface like pool decking that will reflect the heat off the surface . . . somewhat. Shuffle board court instead of lawn bowling? Badminton?


    Bookmark   January 28, 2007 at 6:52PM
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desert_baby(z9 AZ)

has anyone used the Legacy Buffalo Grass or anything similar to it? Would it hold up to two dogs?

    Bookmark   January 31, 2007 at 2:37PM
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