Lawn Substitutes: Throughout the land especially on summer weekends, the raucous roar of two-stroke engines shatters the peace and quiet as lawns are cut.
Lawns have their place. In public parks and in Australian backyards where they provide children’s play areas.
The front garden is one area where a conventional lawn may not be necessary. If there is little or no foot traffic then it is feasible to dispense with the lawn and plant a substitute that requires minimum maintenance and certainly no mowing.
One disadvantage with lawn substitutes is that they tend to wear rather thin if subjected to regular foot traffic. This problem may be overcome with the strategic placement of stepping-stones.
These three lawn substitutes have been used successfully at Yallaroo.
Viola hederacea is known as the Ivy Leaf Violet and will form a dense carpet of foliage with white and purple flowers, held on upright stems. Flowers appear for most of the year. The Ivy Leaf Violet does best in moist, shady areas. If you have a shaded area where it is hard to establish grass then Viola hederacea would be worth a try.
Myoporum parvifolium the Creeping Boobialla is our favourite lawn substitute. The Creeping Boobialla forms a dense, weed suppressing carpet. This species comes in a range of foliage shapes. There is also a form with purple foliage. Most forms have white flowers in spring and summer. There is also a form with attractive pink flowers. The Creeping Boobialla will tolerate some shade and is drought and frost tolerant.
Propagates easily from cuttings.
Finally we have Dichondra repens, known as the Kidney Weed. This dense, creeping, perennial herb occurs in all states. Stems root at the nodes. The leaves are kidney-shaped and carried on long petioles. The cream-green flowers are insignificant.
Propagate by division of clumps. Punnets of this lawn substitute are sometimes available from nurseries.