Grass alternatives


I live on the Oak Ridges Moraine and have at best 2 inches of soil before I get to sand. The previous owner spent significant sums of money to maintain lawns. With the lack of soil, some grass grows but for the most part I have some ‘sand’ grass and lots of sand with limited weeds.

What do you suggest for use as a ground cover? I am rural and have a multitude of animals and insects around. Much of the land will be high traffic.

I appreciate any guidance you can provide.

Thank you



Thank you for contacting the Toronto Master Gardeners.  It is wonderful that you are considering an alternative to grass as it is a monoculture, which takes lots of work and is not nearly as attractive and helpful to to the pollinators that we and our gardens depend on.

Below are links to previously asked questions about alternatives to grass which contain a lot of useful information:

I think the suggestion of looking at neighbouring properties to see what others are growing in similar situations is particularly helpful.

The document at the link in this response – a guide to alternatives to grass prepared by the City of Toronto contains good information.  I think in your situation, thyme, or clover would be suitable for larger areas.

Good luck with this project.  Once the new ground cover is established I am sure that you will be pleased with the result.

April 21, 2023