When landscaping in your backyard, one of the first questions to consider is whether you want to go with grass, or pavement, or some mixture of the two. The question is not an easy one, especially if you want to strike a balance between the two. Here are some things to consider in making this decision:

Who is the Yard For?

The first thing to consider in designing your new back yard is very simply, who is using it the most? A backyard for children to play in is going to look very different from one most intended for entertaining adults. You might want to leave more grass for your kids to play in than you would if you wanted to put in a fancy patio for hosting nice dinners parties.

How Much Rain do you Get?

Grass needs water. A lot of it. The warmer and drier the climate is where you live, the more you’ll have to water your yard. Your water bill can get a bit scary in the summer if you insist on watering your lawn, even when doing efficiently. According to TRUEGRID, a company that provides parking solutions, if you live somewhere hot and dry, it may be more efficient to skip the grass, even if you don’t end up paving.

Allergies?

Grass is a common allergen. If you have someone living in your home who’s allergic to it, having a mostly paved lawn can make their summers far more enjoyable. Rather than being an itchy, sneezy mess every time people want to sit outside in the evening, your allergy-riddled guest can enjoy your landscaping with you.

Maintenance

Quite apart from the issue of keeping it sufficiently watered, there is a lot of other work that goes into keeping grass looking nice. Mowing, weeding, and feeding grass are all time investments. Then on top of that there are borders to trim. If you are someone who hates doing yardwork, or if you don’t have much time, paving is certainly easier to maintain than grass.

Going part-way

Of course you don’t have to do your entire lawn to have some paving. According to TRUEGRID, a company that specializes in water permeable pavers, consider ditching grass in high-traffic areas, such as paths to and from doors, areas under and around picnic tables, and places where you store heavy objects. These strategically paved areas can be helpful because they prevent your yard from developing dirt patches, since grass generally can’t stand up to being walked on frequently.

Other Options

Of course, there are options out there that don’t limit you to either grass or pavement. Paving doesn’t have to mean cement or asphalt, after all. You could also use brick, flagstones, gravel, or outdoor tile. And there are plenty of groundcover plants that aren’t grass: from sedges to mosses, the options are nearly endless. In dry areas, there may be plants that you could use in place of grass that need less water. If your yard is shady, finding something that needs less light than grass isn’t that hard.

There are limitless options open to you when deciding how to redo your backyard. Whether you decide to go with paving, grass, or some combination of the two, always keep in mind that the most important question is: What do I want my yard to be used for? The answer to this question can inform your decisions. Also keep local climate, yard size, and any personal requirements you may have in mind.