Many alternatives to turf exist, and each should be assessed for its potential benefits and drawbacks for a particular landscape project. These alternatives, alone or in combination, could easily replace some or all turf in the built landscape. They include:
- Low-growing groundcover or meadow plants adapted to the site’s microclimate and soil conditions.
- Other native or adapted vegetation, such as larger shrubs, succulents, and trees, where visibility is not critical.
- Limiting the amount of turf to that needed for functionality, and using more sustainable turf maintenance practices that reduce pollution.
- Incorporating synthetic turf, especially in areas expected to receive heavy use, and where there is great need to reduce water use for irrigation.
- Using the landscape for food production, such as community gardens, vegetables and herbs, fruit trees, and berry patches.
- Non-plant groundcovers, including mulch, boulders, and decorative pavements.
Knowledgeable and responsible landscape architects and designers can help develop a landscape design that considers reasonable use of turf along with other elements that enhance a landscape’s beauty, functionality and value.