Mondo or Liriope as a lawn alternative
Mondo Grass and Liriope
Often when we look around our lawns and gardens, we may see areas of lawn which may no longer be in use as lawns by our families. Yet we still maintain the grass with lawn mowing, watering and fertilising.
It's at these times that some people may look for alternatives to the lawn, with the most obvious choices being paving or perhaps a new garden bed to be put in its place.
But there is a third choice for these areas, and that's in using an alternative to lawn, and this is when it's time to consider Mondo Grass and Liriope as possible lawn alternatives.
Mondo Grass and Liriope
Mondo Grass and Liriope are highly popular plants being used in gardens today, they are both closely related to each other, and come in many different variations which are suitable for different purposes around the home, including as garden borders, fillers and low maintenance lawn alternatives, however, Mondo Grass and Liriopes are not grasses, they belong to the Lilly family.
We can use Mondo Grass and Liriope to replace all lawn areas which are not going to be used as general lawn or recreation areas, but where you may not necessarily like another garden, but would still like a lovely low maintenance lawn like surface.
Mondo and Liriope should not be considered as a lawn as such, they are a lawn alternative. They can be walked over just like a lawn can, but the area surface will be uneven due to the clumping growing nature of the plants, and will not tolerate the types of wear and tear like a real grass lawn can.
Both plants have average shade tolerance, meaning they will do OK with partial shade, but are not the best for heavily shaded areas.
Liriope and Mondo are also great between paving, stepping stones, in rockeries, and in blending lawns and gardens together, and are best suited to the drier regions of Australia, and will not tolerate the humidity of the far North as well as the colder Southern regions of Australia.
Mondo Grass and Liriope as Lawns
Liriope in flower
The principle behind using these plants as lawn alternatives is to plant them out and to let them spread out and keep becoming more dense across the ground until the area is completely filled in. It's at this stage you will see the lovely ground cover of green which can resemble a lawn, but will generally prefer a mowing height of around 15 - 30 cm.
Both Mondo Grass and Liriope are generally drought tolerant, have good cold weather tolerance and good frost tolerance. They will do well on being fertilised once a year in the Spring with a slow release fertiliser, and only require minimum watering when compared to turf grasses.
Once or perhaps twice per year, the plants are mowed over with a lawn mower on a high setting. This is generally best done just when the plants are beginning to develop new growth. Just before Spring is often the best time to do this.
Liriope and Mondo - Great Lawn Alternatives
With minimum care requirements, low water and fertiliser requirements, good drought and frost tolerance, Liriope and Mondo Grass are fantastic alternatives to having a grass lawn.
Just be sure to look for and use the Dwarf varieties of Mondo Grass - Ophiopogon japonicus nana, and the smaller of the Liriopes which is Liriope muscari.