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Beautiful No-Mow Yards: 50 Amazing Lawn Alternatives

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  193 Ratings  ·  49 Reviews
In this ultimate guide to rethinking one's yard, Hadden showcases dozens of inspiring, eco-friendly alternatives to that demanding (and dare we say boring?) green turf. From a lively prairie to a runoff-reducing rain garden, award-winning author Hadden shows readers how to convert their yards.
Paperback, 249 pages
Published July 2nd 2012 by Timber Press (first published May 17th 2012)
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Jan 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
The carefree look of many of these gardens gives the reader a calm, peaceful feeling. The natural biodiversity of a garden that isn't full of artificial turf grass and chemicals is, to me, a no-brainer. I haven't wasted much time on fertilizing and watering lawns, nor have I sown much grass seed, but I have retained and mowed wide swaths of green that do not give as much interest as gardens. On each of my properties I have limited the grass lawns with patios, decks, and gardens, but this concept ...more
Mar 16, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Some good ideas. I would have loved even more pictures, maybe before and after, with clearer help on what does well in different regions.
Apr 15, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: growing, 2012
I hate lawn grasses with a passion and I'm always looking for ways to get rid of mine. This book is great inspiration for anti-lawn yards, including photos from over 50 different yards in different climates from homeowners with different needs and taste. All of the yards look beautiful, and it's great to see how people craft outdoor living spaces without the conventional American Lawn.

The chapters include design inspirations from different styles of gardens (shade gardens, prairie gardens, play
Sarah Gustafson
May 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: garden
If someone asked how to subtitle this book, I'd say:
A Philosophical Companion to your Eco-yard.

As other readers noted, this book lacks any practical diagrams. And the plant list is just a tasting menu. Instead the author gives us a lovely, leisurely manifesto on why you should shrink your lawn - with several bulbs of wisdom on design --

Here's a design principle that I found especially winning:

Many gardeners fall in love with new plants and start out by planting one of these and one of those…

Mar 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult
I didn't read this completely, but skimmed and read the chapters that were most interesting to me. The great reasons for switching part or all of your turf to other options are convincing. There are lots of great ideas and photographs. I do wish the last chapters of ground cover examples had photos of each one. Olbrich Gardens in Madison were featured a few times (On, Wisconsin!).

We're now planning to convert a patch of mostly weeds in our front yard to ground cover with a cherry tree in the mi
Jul 04, 2014 rated it liked it
My sister let me borrow this book. I read and flipped through a lot of it. I don't want to convert my grass into other plants, but it did give me good ideas for areas that don't get our sprinklers what to plant, instead of just having rocks. And does make me think twice about landscaping more of my grass into winding paths, or places my kids can play and discover. I really enjoyed the chapter for kids play areas.
Mar 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gardening
A great inspiration for reducing or eliminating the American lawn. I thought some of the plant combinations were inspired, and I found some plants I had not previously considered. This book is best accessed as a gallery of design ideas, rather than a practical, DIY book. I'm planning to add this one to my garden design bookshelf.
Mar 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Great ideas for inspiration, though the write-ups frequently gloss over the maintenance these yards will require. (And I'd love to find a book about wildlife-friendly landscapes that dares to mention ticks or deer.) Once I have the time and money to implement major changes to my yard I'll be coming back to this.
Jun 24, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2017
The book contained a few pictures of houses with yards and many pictures of mounds of grass, ground covers, and plants.I would have enjoyed this book more if it had included more pictures of the houses with the yards to show how the no-mow yards look.
Jan 24, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: gardening
This book is a treasure trove of ideas, but the "honesty in photogoraphy" didn't lend itself well to selling the "beautiful" idea. A lot of it made me shudder to think what the village's code enforcement officer would have to say. As the book points out, not all things are appropriate for all places, and a lot of things in the book won't jibe with some people's municipal ordinances and HOA rules,and the inspiration pieces bear out how incongruent many of the ideas are.

It is likely that this just
Jun 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is the first how-to gardening book I've read cover to cover. Full of practical ideas for not only lawn alternatives, but for rain gardens, xeriscaping, shade islands under trees, and more, Beautiful No Mow Lawns takes you step by step through the work of replacing grass with plants that don't need as much mowing, watering, or fertilizing. The photographs are gorgeous and the author even references local Homestead Gardens blogger, Susan Harris. The hard thing for this neophyte gardener is go ...more
Apr 14, 2012 rated it did not like it
Adult nonfiction; gardening. This book was ok, but was not really what I expected--text-heavy with few pictures, it sums up to: "These people have maintenance free yards, but if you want to do the same you should visit your local university/arboretum to find out what works in your area." If you want a book to gaze upon and dream upon, try instead: Reimagining the California Lawn, which has lots more pictures and plant lists that you can then take to your local plant expert for the requisite cons ...more
May 04, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: adult
Really, I skimmed this book, so I won't be counting it towards my total for the year.

Lots of pictures. Very comprehensive with suggestions and ideas. The themes or chapters are well grouped. My only complaint was that the pictures were too small, and many times there were 4 on a page. This is good for ideas and comprehensiveness, but hard to get an overall idea how to make something work for the whole space. When I have my own yard, I will be looking over this book again.
I liked the inspiring photos in this book, but for someone just looking into the possiblity of this, I found the book extremely text dense. I imagine that would be usefull if I was actually ready to start a project, but was a little daunting for where I'm at. All in all, it's a worthwhile exploration of the topic.
Apr 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 4-stars
Interesting and inspiring, even if I suspect the size and value of the house and property affect one's ability to pull off the wild, unkempt look (i.e., if you live in a trailer on a small plot, some of these alternatives may look neither intentional nor tasteful to the neighbors). If I ever have the disposable income to invest in landscaping, though, I'll buy a copy and read it more carefully.
Susan Beecher
Apr 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A truly informative, well-written book with great photographs about how to get rid of or reduce the size of your lawn. Lawn is not great for birds or amphibians or butterflies and it uses fossil fuels (unless you have a non-motorized push mower) for mowing and I won't even mention lawn chemicals. This book features yards from all parts of the country. Highly recommend this book.
Jul 05, 2015 added it
Shelves: no-more-grass
I like this one, because it lists the ground covers as mounds, trailers or fill-ins.

there is a lot of information in this book. It can be overwhelming at times. however this is a good book if you want only one book to prep your yard for the no-mow option. downside if you live in a zone lower than a 5 you 're gonna need another book or two.
May 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: garden
Very helpful book --- straight-forward sections about different types of gardens and at the end sections on how to get your garden started. Most examples in the book are gardens in the midwest but also some from the southeast and southwest. I wrote down a number of plants to look into more in-depth that may be suited to my slope no-mow yard I want to create.
Jun 29, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: gardening
I'm all for the concept, and I enjoyed the photos, but the organization of the information makes this neither fish nor fowl. If you want to read long narratives about individual gardens, this works well in a magazine article way but is way too long. If you want a listing of plants with information on conditions and habits, look elsewhere. Best for browsing.
Apr 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
Well, I feel considerably better about our "lawn" of clover, creeping charlie and violets. Apparently, that's called a "freedom lawn" and there is nothing wrong with it! So thrive little freedom lawn, thrive, until the day I can cut back your size with big beautiful beds of native shrubs and flowers.
Apr 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Loved this one for the inspiration and hope it gives me for my mess of a yard. I'm taking some ideas directly from the pictures and plants list -- hope my seeds come soon! Practical, full of suggestions, and covering a wide ranges of zones. A great book for anyone who hates the idea of a well-manicured grass lawn.
Apr 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Got lots of ideas from this book. Don't know if I'll use them implementing them won't be easy, but a girl can dream!

A fight myself a little bit, thinking that a lawn is "just easier" when in fact it actually requires a lot more maintenance. I wish I had a blank slate, but I don't, so getting rid of the lawn won't be easy.
Apr 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: browsed, gardening
Browsed this one for ideas. Most involve changing your yard into a "meadow" which would not fly with our neighborhood or with keeping away ticks and other undesirable critters, but some ideas (especially garden beds with walkways between) might work. I'll check this out in a couple of years when I'm ready to do some big work in the yard--I need to get the current plants under control!
Aug 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this garden design book. The author was able to show how a no mown lawn approach was adopted by several individuals. The careful approach of choosing plants for each of the individual yards based on the environmental produced some naturally beautiful gardens. I learned many new plant choices and found myself pleasantly enjoying the narrative approach of this book.
Nov 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is a pretty good reference for those who wish to change their lawn to something else. It's a little midwest-heavy, but otherwise thorough, with lots of ideas and the info to back them up. It inspires me!
Feb 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This book gave me a lot to think about as I seek to reduce the size of my lawn and increase the amount of flowers and foliage. I especially love that it's not an all-or-nothing perspective. Lots of great examples and photos!
Jun 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed the book as I created a rain garden several years ago and last year removed 90 percent of the grass in my front yard. I would have liked more pictures but did enjoy the ones that were in the book.
Jul 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
I like how the author gives lots of ideas for lawns and acknowledges that there is no one "right" type of lawn. The book supports home owners who are at the beginning steps of rethinking their lawns (me) without making them feel guilty for wanting to keep some green grass in the yard.
Bob Holt
May 19, 2015 rated it liked it
A good overview of different strategies, but its biggest failing for me is in not addressing disease-carrying pests drawn to unmowed or saturated areas (e.g. ticks and mosquitoes), which are a particular concern in New England.
Oct 20, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Gorgeous pictures. Not as much how-to as I would have liked. Based primarily on Minnesota and Wisconsin lawnscapes, with some desert southwest, there wasn't much that I could directly apply to my Southern home.
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A national speaker and award-winning author of four garden books, Evelyn Hadden shares strategies to help people create and maintain comfortable, functional, nature-friendly landscapes with less or no lawn. Her most recent books, published by Timber Press, include Hellstrip Gardening (2014) and the acclaimed Beautiful No-Mow Yards (2012). Evelyn founded the informational website LessLawn and is a ...more
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