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Alternatives to grass

Hi, I would like to take away the Astro turf I have and put a lawn in, however I do not want grass. Does anyone know of an alternative I could use instead of grass that it low maintenance and can be played on by children? Thank you 
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  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 9,590
    You could take a look at chamomile maybe 
    https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?pid=281
    The problem with a lot of grass alternatives such as wildflower and sedum lawns is l'm not sure how conducive they are to children playing on them.
    One of my old neighbours got so fed up with the state of his lawn after the children playing on it with bikes, footballs etc , he laid some weed membrane and covered the lot with bark chippings for a few years. It worked for him, even though it looked like large adventure playground (which l suppose it was).
  • thank you for your help
  • Whatever you do, please put something living in there! Nature needs all the green space and habitat it can get! If it has to be very low maintenance , maybe shale with lots of wild flowers/grasses poking through? Chamomile isn't very hardy if it's walked on.
  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 9,590
    This is what makes it so difficult, personally for me grass is the best thing for children when it comes to playing. All the alternatives just won't withstand the pounding ! 

  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 4,452
    edited March 2021
    I would say play bark. If you want a non-astroturf lawn, but not grass, that can be played on by children.... you don't really actually want a lawn.

    Maybe scrap the lawn notion and have hoggin paths leading between paved areas, surrounded by lovely thick jungly planting? You could have raised timber walkways like this - how much fun would that be for a child?

    See the source image
  • Loxley said:
    I would say play bark. If you want a non-astroturf lawn, but not grass, that can be played on by children.... you don't really actually want a lawn.

    Maybe scrap the lawn notion and have hoggin paths leading between paved areas, surrounded by lovely thick jungly planting? You could have raised timber walkways like this - how much fun would that be for a child?

    See the source image
    Loxley said:
    I would say play bark. If you want a non-astroturf lawn, but not grass, that can be played on by children.... you don't really actually want a lawn.

    Maybe scrap the lawn notion and have hoggin paths leading between paved areas, surrounded by lovely thick jungly planting? You could have raised timber walkways likes this - how much fun would that be for a child?

    See the source image
    Thank you. This is a lovely idea. 
  • Whatever you do, please put something living in there! Nature needs all the green space and habitat it can get! If it has to be very low maintenance , maybe shale with lots of wild flowers/grasses poking through? Chamomile isn't very hardy if it's walked on.

     said:
    Whatever you do, please put something living in there! Nature needs all the green space and habitat it can get! If it has to be very low maintenance , maybe shale with lots of wild flowers/grasses poking through? Chamomile isn't very hardy if it's walked on.
    Whatever you do, please put something living in there! Nature needs all the green space and habitat it can get! If it has to be very low maintenance , maybe shale with lots of wild flowers/grasses poking through? Chamomile isn't very hardy if it's walked on.
    Whatever you do, please put something living in there! Nature needs all the green space and habitat it can get! If it has to be very low maintenance , maybe shale with lots of wild flowers/grasses poking through? Chamomile isn't very hardy if it's walked on.
    Yes, I definitely what something living. Looks like it will have to be grass so the kids can still play on it. Thank you
  • Loxley said:
    I would say play bark. If you want a non-astroturf lawn, but not grass, that can be played on by children.... you don't really actually want a lawn.

    Maybe scrap the lawn notion and have hoggin paths leading between paved areas, surrounded by lovely thick jungly planting? You could have raised timber walkways like this - how much fun would that be for a child?

    See the source image

    We have made something like this in one corner of the garden and the children love it.

    It depends what sort of play you expect. Young children will just as happily play chase and hide and seek round bushes and along paths as they will on grass. In fact, I'd say paths through bushes and shrubs would be much more fun for hide and seek, water pistols, laser tag etc than a big patch of grass

    If you have older children who want space for football or badminton or something grass really is about all there is.


  • Hello, similarly to Liz above I want to create an area of non-lawn. I would like to be able to sit on it occasionally or put a lawn chair on it. I have a cat so Chamomile isn’t an option. It’s only a small area 2m by 1.5m, and I don’t have the storage space for a mower. It’s in a sunny position and ideally something evergreen but this isn’t a deal breaker. Thanks in advance. 
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 27,581
    Cats will nibble grass to help with their digestion.  I have grown chamomile before and have wild chamomile in the wilder part of this plot and have never had a sick cat.  They really have to ingest a lot for it to be a problem and they are generally clever enough to avoid problem plants.  We've also always had foxgloves, aconitum and many more "dangerous" plants along with cats, dogs and offspring.

    Grass really is the best play surface for children - no spiky or rough bits.  If you prepare the soil well and sow a tougher grass mix for sport it should be fine and will have time, in autumn, to recover once they go back to school.   

    You can also buy play grade chipped bark which would allow for natural drainage of the soil and life for micro-organisms but I would be worried about cats or foxes using it as a convenient toilet.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
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