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When you dream about your perfect backyard, you probably imagine a lush lawn, vegetable garden, and flowers galore… but sometimes, the grass isn’t actually greener. And these envy-inducing, grass-free landscapes (like this gorgeous one by Emily Henderson) are here to prove it. Gone are the days when large, grass-filled backyards were a must on the real estate checklist.

Whether it’s the size of your outdoor space, geographic location, eco-consciousness, or budget that makes the choice for you, there are a variety of reasons and ways to turn your grassless space into the best exterior on the block. Take some inspiration from these must-see landscapes.

Photography by AARON BENGOCHEA

Sustainable Vibes

If your conscience just can’t fathom the idea of wasting a ton of water on grass, bare is the way to go. But that doesn’t mean this style is boring at all: Just take some notes from this sustainable Nevada retreat. The roof of the home was designed to accommodate solar panels, and the tiled outside flooring also adds an element of rustic charm.


It’s Always Better With a Pool

Instead of using your backyard space to create an outdoor garden, use the area to add in a chic pool. In this San Francisco home, the architecture steals the show, so it makes sense that the outdoor area would be comparably simpler. A couple of lounge chairs and a few potted plants complete the look.

Photography by A HOUSE IN THE HILLS

Outdoor Dining

Just because a backyard is sans grass doesn’t mean it can’t be the ultimate spot for dining al fresco during when the weather is warm. Take some notes from this patio makeover from A House in the Hills, and transform any empty space into a stylish extension of the rest of your interior. Create a complete dining area that mimics your general design aesthetic in order to make any outdoor spot feel welcoming. Rugs, a stocked bar, and fresh flowers help turn a patio into the best hangout spot.


Desert Inspired

One of the best parts about having a

grassless backyard

is not having to worry about the upkeep of keeping grass green and healthy. This sandy approach from Almost Makes Perfect is ideal for anybody looking to achieve major desert vibes. It’s laidback, trendy, and affordable for anyone who is looking to make a drastic change. Play up the style by using furniture and decor with southwest flair to really nail this look.

Photography by SIMPLY GROVE

Concrete Floors

This modern look can work for just about any home. Simply Grove showcases a fantastic way to allow the interior to flow right outside. Arrange furniture just as you would within a living room, and you’ll have the perfect place to lounge for when the weather is too good to be inside.

Photography by CITY FARMHOUSE

Gravel Patio

Committing to a complete backyard overhaul can be expensive and time consuming. If you’re looking for a quick update that’ll make a huge difference without breaking the bank, this look from City Farmhouse is it. Gravel can cover up any lackluster area of an outdoor space and give it a beachy look. Style gravel flooring with traditional outdoor furniture to make a cozy section that everyone will enjoy.


Bring in Green

Just because a backyard isn’t filled with grass doesn’t mean there aren’t other ways to add in some greenery. This contemporary alternative from Falling Waters Landscape demonstrates the perfect way to add pops of life into any yard. No matter what grass alternative you opt for, make sure you save some room for planting. From beach grass to potted cacti, this hack will help liven up any exterior.

Photography by Robin Berkhuizen for MY SCANDINAVIAN HOME

Wood Planks

Wood flooring is often used for decks, but it can also be used to create a simple backyard landing pad. Keep wood natural, and bring in darker hued furniture and accents to really make a statement. This tiny seating area from designer and architect Robin Berkhuizen (featured on My Scandinavian Home) is giving us all the summery feels. A simple bench with oversized cushions and a rustic potted plant turn this outdoor space into the perfect spot to cozy up and relax.

Photography by ZEVY JOY

Lush Surroundings

When you have plenty of trees and shrubbery on the outskirts of a backyard, grass definitely isn’t necessary. This garden patio from Zevy Joy is giving off romantic vibes that’ll make any dinner party feel fabulous. Using tile as flooring is only made better thanks to the addition of farmhouse inspired furniture and lighting.  


Lots of Decor

Who needs a backyard full of grass when you can have a personality filled setup like this one from Designlovefest. Tons of seating options in different styles, textiles adding warmth, and abundant lighting make this space feel more comfortable.


Slabs of Stonework

Gravel backyards can be taken to the next level with big pieces of stone—as in this space designed by Nichol Naranjo and featured on The Glitter Guide. Spruce up the area with rattan furniture, throw pillows, and outdoor mirrors to make it feel styled and tied together.

Photography by A BEAUTIFUL MESS

Boho Oasis

The less grass the better when it comes to a boho oasis like this one from A Beautiful Mess. No matter the backyard situation, rugs give any area an instant stylish upgrade. They’re an easy way to to bring pops of color and texture to your setup. Complete the whole boho package by incorporating rattan accents and oversized plants, and then kick back and relax.


Tiles For the Win

This updated patio from Emily Henderson is a seriously swoon-worthy spot. Vibrant tiles will bring any outdoor space to life and give it a hint of European charm. Yes, please.

This post was originally published on June 14, 2017. It has been updated with new information.

See more beautiful backyards: 

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