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I have a lawn, but I limit my mowing. Plants do not grow well in the sandy soil. Weeds grow extremely well.

The climate is moist, humid spring, summer and fall. Winter is snow and ice. There is lots of sunshine during the noon hours of the day.

Groundcover is an option. Expensive groundcover is not what I want. Evergreen trees surround the yard, and pine-needles and bare spots accent many locations.

I am not a gardener, but I would like to grow lavender and herbs.

  • What do you consider weeds? is there a difference with herbs for you? – LaurensP Apr 27 '14 at 6:18
  • Lavender, herbs, even groundcover will ask some work, so how often would you consider mowing the lawn, if that is all it takes? – LaurensP Apr 27 '14 at 6:21
  • Which one is the best answer? – Danger14 Apr 13 '15 at 7:13
  • Get sheep. Let them graze. – Ecnerwal Jan 24 '18 at 1:02
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I'll provide some suggestions and options but you'll need to dig into them further as not having a nice grass lawn is complete anathema to me. :)

A lot is going to depend on other factors like do you want the area available to walk through or to have kids or pets play on?

Infrequent mowing

Fine Fescues Fine fescues grow in many different types of soil and light conditions. They are frequently used in places like highway medians that don't get fertilized or mowed often. There may be some certain varieties that are better suited to no-mow than others. The grass doesn't need much fertilizing and can be mowed very infrequently. Once a month mowing is recommended but I've seen people just leave it and never mow it. It doesn't grow very tall and it lays over after a certain height.

Clover Some people consider this a weed but Dutch White Clover was frequently incorporated in grass seed mixes in the past because it helps fix nitrogen from the atmosphere into the soil which fertilizes itself and the grass around it. It tends to stay low to the ground but will need to be mowed from time to time. Very little maintenance. Bees are attracted to the flowers which may be a good or bad thing depending.

A mix of fine fescues and clover is also an option.

No Mow

Gravel you can cover the area with gravel and landscaping rock. Weeds may still grow up through the gravel which will need to be dealt with and this is a difficult option to reverse. You can make it decorative. Create some paths with pavers and edging and use different colors of gravel as fill to create visual interest.

Artificial Grass This is becoming more popular and I've even seen it available at a local home center. Looks kinda like grass and you can use it like grass but it doesn't need to be fertilized or mowed. Doesn't need to be "watered" per se but hosed off from time to time to keep it clean.

Moss Not sure if it will work in sandy soil but some people like a moss lawn. From a distance it looks like it might be grass but it requires no mowing. I've had moss in my lawn in shady areas that had poor drainage so it may not work for you but worth looking into.

Wild Flowers If you don't care about having a grassy area for walking through or playing you can just seed the entire with wild flowers and have a meadow look. Find flowers that are native to your area so they have no problem establishing themselves. Some home owner associations and even some local laws and codes (or just officials) may not like this and I've read of people being fined and/or have the governing body send landscapers in to clean up the mess. People are worried of how it looks when all the flowers have died after the season is over and what might be lurking underneath since you can't see where you're walking.

Do an image search and you'll see great examples that are taken at the perfect time of year from a low angle, close up which really flatters. Follow this link for more information and an example of what it looks like when nothing is in bloom at the bottom. It's not everyone's taste but more people are showing interest in it.

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If you want grass, there are several commercially available grasses that are advertized as "no mow." They are generally fine textured dwarf grasses that grow between 2 and 6 inches in height. There are also native grasses for warm areas, like Blue Grama and Buffalo Grass, that stay short. The most important thing is to find a species that does well in your area, and with the amount of water you intend to give it, or whatever rainfall your area provides. These are also available as seed, which takes longer to establish, but is a lot cheaper than trying to sod or plug a larger lawn.

Here is an example of a typical no mow dwarf grass mix, from High Country Gardens.

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