Ohio Native Lawn Replacements

Posted on July 10, 2018

by Angela B

Tired of wasting time and money? Try replacing your current grass lawn with some of the native Ohio plant suggestions; even if it is just a small area to start. Lawn replacements offer many benefits to the environment and you, such as habitats and food for animals, butterflies and bees. Native Ohio plants are accustomed to this region, so they take less maintenance. When you reduce mowing, you also reduce environment and noise pollution, plus you’ll have more time on your hands to enjoy your yard.

Lawn Alternatives

Ground Cover

Common Name: Virginia Creeper

Scientific Name: Parthenocissus Quinquefolia

Plant Info:

  • Full sun to dappled shade
  • Wet to dry
  • Tolerates poor soil
  • Grows to 50 ft or more
  • Attracts bees and birds

Common Name: Kinnikinnick (aka Bearberry)

Scientific Name: Arctostaphylos Uva-Ursi

Plant Info:

  • Full sun to partial shade
  • Wet
  • Evergreen
  • Low growing bushlike groundcover
  • Drought tolerant
  • Tolerates poor soil

Common Name: Green and Gold (aka Goldenstar)

Scientific Name: Chrysogonum Virginianum

Plant Info:

  • Full to dappled shade
  • Wet
  • Spreads up to 18 inches
  • Deer resistant

Common Name: Whorled Tickseed

Scientific Name: Coreopsis Verticillata

Plant Info:

  • Full sun
  • Dry to Moist
  • Spreads up to 24 inches
  • Attracts bees and butterflies

Common Name: Bunchberry Dogwood

Scientific Name: Cornus Canadensis L.

Plant Info:

  • Full sun to full shade
  • Wet
  • Spreads up to 3 feet
  • Attracts bees, birds and butterflies
  • Deer and rabbit resistant

Common Name: Fragrant Sumac

Scientific Name: Rhus Aromatica Low-Grow

Plant Info:

  • Full sun to dappled shade
  • Wet to dry
  • Spreads up to 8 feet
  • Drought tolerant
  • Tolerates poor soil
  • Attracts birds and bees

Common Name: Wild Yam

Scientific Name: Dioscorea Villosa L.

Plant Info:

  • Partial shade
  • Wet
  • Spreads 2 feet or more

Common Name: Canadian Wild Ginger

Scientific Name: Asarum Canadense L.

Plant Info:

  • Partial to full shade
  • Wet to dry
  • Spreads 2 feet or more
  • Deer and rabbit resistant

Common Name: Striped Cream Violet

Scientific Name: Viola Striata Aiton

Plant Info:

  • Partial shade to light shade
  • Wet
  • Attracts butterflies

Common Name: Common Blue Violet

Scientific Name: Viola Sororia Willd

Plant Info:

  • Partial shade to full shade
  • Wet
  • Various flower colorations
  • Attracts bees and butterflies

Common Name: Woodland Stonecrop

Scientific Name: Sedum ternatum Michx.

Plant Info:

  • Full sun to partial shade
  • Dry
  • Spreads 12 inches or more
  • Attracts bees and butterflies
  • Suitable for container growing

Common Name: Creeping Phlox

Scientific Name: Phlox Subulata (aka Phlox Stolonifera Sims)

Plant Info:

  • Full sun
  • Spreads up to 12 inches
  • Various flower colorations
  • Attracts bees

Common Name: Moss Phlox

Scientific Name: Phlox Subulata L.

Plant Info:

  • Partial to full shade
  • Wet to dry
  • Spreads up to 24 inches
  • Attracts butterflies and bees

Common name: Partridgeberry

Scientific Name: Mitchella Repens L. Show All

Plant info:

  • Full shade
  • Wet
  • Indefinite spread
  • Attracts birds

Common Name: Running Euonymus (aka Running Strawberry Bush)

Scientific Name: Euonymus Obovatus

Plant Info:

  • Full sun to full shade
  • Wet
  • Attracts birds

Other Options for Yard Perimeters

Decorative Grass

Common Name: Big Bluestem

Scientific Name: Andropogon Gerardii Vitman

Plant Info:

  • Full sun to partial shade
  • Dry to medium
  • Attracts birds and butterflies

Common Name: Indiangrass

Scientific Name: Sorghastrum Nash

Plant Info:

  • Full sun
  • Dry to medium
  • Attracts birds

Common Name: Pennsylvania Sedge

Scientific Name: Carex pensylvanica Lam.

Plant Info:

  • Partial sun to full shade
  • Dry to moist
  • Spreads 1/2 to 1 feet
  • Attracts birds

Common Name: Switchgrass

Scientific Name: Panicum virgatum L.

Plant Info:

  • Full sun to partial shade
  • Tolerates dry and wet soil
  • Attracts birds and butterflies

Privacy

Common Name: Eastern Red Cedar

Scientific Name: Juniperus Virginiana

Plant Info:

  • Full sun
  • Dry to medium
  • Attracts birds and butterflies

Bushes

Common Name: Eastern Wahoo

Scientific Name: Euonymus Atropurpureus

Plant Info:

  • Full sun to partial shade
  • Moist
  • Attracts birds

Ornamental Trees

Common Name: Eastern Redbud

Scientific Name: Cercis Canadensis L.

Plant Info:

  • Full sun to partial shade
  • Moist
  • Attracts butterflies

Common Name: Dogwood

Scientific Name: Cornus L. (aka Cornus Florida)

Plant Info:

  • Partial to full shade
  • Dry to moist
  • Attracts birds and butterflies

Common Name: Prairie Crabapple

Scientific Name: Malus Ioensis (Alph. Wood) Britton

Plant Info:

  • Full sun
  • Moist to dry
  • Attracts birds and butterflies

Common Name: Serviceberry

Scientific Name: Amelanchier Medik.

Plant Info:

  • Full sun to partial shade
  • Moist
  • Attracts birds

Common Name: Tulip Tree

Scientific Name: Liriodendron L. Show All

Plant Info:

  • Full to partial sun
  • Moist / well-drained soil
  • Attracts birds and butterflies

Plant Around Trees

Common Name: Lady Fern

Scientific Name: Athyrium Filix-Femina

Plant Info:

  • Partial to full shade
  • Moist to wet
  • Rabbit resistant

Common Name: False Lily of the Valley

Scientific Name: Maianthemum Dilatatum

Plant Info:

  • Full to partial shade
  • Moist to wet
  • Spreads up to 2 feet

Common Name: Hairy Alumroot

Scientific Name: Heuchera Villosa Michx.

Plant Info:

  • Full sun to partial shade
  • Moist / well-drained soil
  • Deer resistant

Common Name: Dwarf Crested Iris

Scientific Name: Iris Cristata Aiton

Plant Info:

  • Full sun to partial shade
  • Moist / well-drained soil
  • Attracts hummingbirds

Common Name: Foamflower

Scientific Name: Tiarella L.

Plant Info:

  • Partial sun to shade
  • Moist / well-drained soil
  • Attracts birds

Large Flowering Plants

Common Name: Blue Star

Scientific Name: Amsonia Walter

Plant Info:

  • Full sun to partial shade
  • Moist soil
  • Attracts birds and butterflies

Common Name: Wild Hydrangea

Scientific Name: Hydrangea Arborescens L.

Plant Info:

  • Fun sun to partial shade
  • Moist / well-drained soil
  • Attracts butterflies

Common Name: Great St. John’s Wort

Scientific Name: Hypericum Pyramidatum

Plant Info:

  • Full sun to partial shade
  • Moist / well-drained soil
  • Low maintenance

Common Name: Rough Bugleweed

Scientific Name: Lycopus Asper Greene

Plant Info:

  • Full sun to partial shade
  • Moist to wet soil
  • Attracts bees

Additional Landscaping Tips

To reduce your grass lawn, also try incorporating hardscaping (rocks, mulch or bricks), adding a water feature like an easy container pond, or container gardens.

Check out these books to help with your new gardening or landscaping endeavor:

Beautiful No-Mow Yards : 50 amazing Lawn Alternatives by Evelyn J. Hadden

A strong advocate for lawnless garden design, the author writes, speaks, and participates in national organizations connected with this cause. Here she makes the case in numerous ways and provides plenty of design ideas for meadows and prairies, patios and play areas, ponds, xeric and rain gardens, and edible gardens, to name a few options. She includes specific plant recommendations as well as guidance for converting lawn to garden. For those committed to at least some lawn, she discusses “smarter” and eco-friendly lawn making. Also available in eBook.

Native Plants of the Midwest : A Comprehensive Guide to the Best 500 Species for the Garden by Alan Branhagen

“Native Plants of the Midwest,” by regional plant expert Alan Branhagan, features the best native plants in the heartland and offers clear and concise guidance on how to use them in the garden. Plant profiles for more than 500 species of trees, shrubs, vines, perennials, ground covers, bulbs, and annuals contain the common and botanical names, growing information, tips on using the plant in a landscape, and advice on related plants. You’ll learn how to select the right plant and how to design with native plants. Helpful lists of plants for specific purposes are shared throughout. This comprehensive book is for native plant enthusiasts and home gardeners in Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, North and South Dakota, northern Arkansas, and eastern Kansas. Also available in eBook.

Designing with Grasses by Neil Lucas

Ornamental grasses provide glorious visual impact and a dynamic sense of movement. They are easy to care for, provide excellent wildlife habitats, and are sustainable. Neil Lucas captures all this in a practical, accessible, and beautifully illustrated book that appeals to gardeners who want a contemporary garden without too much effort. Includes information on prairie gardens, borders, screens, containers, dry gardens, wetlands and so much more. Also available in eBook.

Gardening With Foliage First : 127 Dazzling Combinations that Pair the Beauty of Leaves with Flowers, Bark, Berries and More by Karen Chapman and Christina Salwitz

For all levels of gardeners, a simple, recipe-style approach to creating long-lasting gardens with year-round interest shows readers how to first build a framework of foliage and then layer in flowers and other artistic elements to add the finishing touches. Also available in eBook.

The Natural Lawn and Alternatives by Margaret Roach, guest editor

Aside from discussing the use of chemical-free fertilizer and insect controls for typical grass lawns, this volume offers suggestions for such alternatives as a flower-filled meadow, moss and ground coverings, sedge lawns, and prairie grass and wildflower lawns.

The American Meadow Garden : Creating a Natural Alternative to the Traditional Lawn by John Greenlee

Offers guidance for designing, planting, and taking care of a meadow with information on plants, styles, and examples from all over the country.

Lawn Gone! : Low-Maintenance, Sustainable, Attractive Alternatives for Your Yard by Pam Penick

Describes how to remove high-maintenance, resource-hogging lawns and replace them with alternative grasses, ground cover plants, and hardscaping that are more eco-conscious and easier to sustain. Also available in eBook.

Building Natural Ponds : Create a Clean, Algae-Free Pond Without Pumps, Filters, or Chemicals by Robert Pavlis

“Building Natural Ponds” is the first book to walk through the steps required to design and build a natural pond without the need of pumps, filters, and nasty chemicals. Coverage includes pond ecosystems and natural algae control, planning, design, aesthetics, and siting, plus highly illustrated step-by-step construction guidance, plants and fish, maintenance and troubleshooting, and large ponds and pools. Also available in eBook.

Container Theme Gardens : 42 Combinations, Each Using 5 Perfectly Matched Plants by Nancy J. Ondra

Demonstrates how to create designer container gardens using groups of plants selected to be ideal growing companions, sharing recommendations for various preferences from a simple salad garden to a combination for attracting hummingbirds. Also available in eBook.

Hardscaping : How to Use Structures, Pathways, Patios & Ornaments in Your Garden by Keith Davitt

The flowers are blossoming, the foliage looks fantastic, and the plant combinations are gorgeous. So why doesn’t your garden satisfy? The problem just might be a lack of hardscaping—structures like arbors, paving, walls, fountains, pools, and decks that delineate, ornament, animate, and add dimensionality to a garden.


Ohio Native Plants – Online Resources

Go Native! – ODNR (Ohio Department of Natural Resources)

See 25 Native Ohio Perennials for your Garden – Cleveland.com

Native Plants and Organic Lawn Care – Green City Blue Lake Institute

Plant Lovers’ Almanac: Garden-Worthy Native Shrubs – Ohio.com

More Sustainable (and Beautiful) Alternatives to a Grass Lawn – NRDC


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