Reasons Why Grass Doesn’t Grow Near Your Home

Reasons Why Grass Doesn't Grow Near Your Home

Green grass turf lawns are considered to be a classic representation of the American home and its yard. However, maintaining a beautiful and lush lawn requires a lot of effort, as various issues like fungal problems, soil dilemmas, irrigation problems, and light requirements can arise. Moreover, while growing grass near or against your home looks good, it can present a new set of challenges. A recent TikTok video highlighted some of the main reasons why homeowners struggle with it.

Grass is a small plant that is susceptible to a host of issues, especially when it comes to heat. The foundation of your home or exterior walls can become extremely hot in a short amount of time, and as a result, the heat radiates off of the house, causing the grass to wither away. On the other hand, shading can also pose a significant problem for growing grass, as turf grass has specific light requirements and will not grow well in the shade. However, there are alternatives to growing turf grass against your house, such as incorporating ground covers or adding garden beds with larger, more foliated plants that can withstand the heat.

Why grass won’t grow next to your house


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♬ original sound – Summit Lawns

As TikToker @summitlawns points out, there are lots of reasons grass won’t grow right next to buildings. For one, the grass is most likely not getting enough water as rainwater falling off the eaves of the house misses the area right up against the house. Additionally, your sprinklers are not hitting that area (which is a good thing) because lawn sprinklers hitting the foundation of your home can cause significant damage to the structure of your foundation. Furthermore, aside from not getting enough rainwater, the sun tends to hit the side of foundations and exterior walls of a building pretty hard. Heat stress can easily kill grass, as it cannot regulate heat as much as a larger plant can. Too much shade, however, will also inhibit grass from growing and cause it to slowly die off.

So, it’s safe to say that grass is not the ideal plant to grow alongside the foundation of your house. The good news is there are plenty of alternatives and opportunities to get creative with your planting.

Alternatives to turf near the foundation of your house

tulips growing next to house

Natalya Gregory/Shutterstock

Instead of pulling your hair out trying to make turf grass grow next to your house, opt for a mulched garden bed instead. The mulch helps regulate the soil’s temperature, allowing other plants to grow in otherwise uninhabitable areas. Some things to consider when planning out your bed are how much sun that area gets, if it gets any irrigation or if you have to hand water, and personal preference. Whether the area you are planting out is in full sun or shade, there are many different options. Consider using ground covers, flowering plants, or small shrubs to spice up the appearance around the perimeter of your home. You can get creative and incorporate different sizes, leaf and flower shapes, colors, and textures.

If you don’t have any irrigation or the area does not get much rain, opt for drought-tolerant hardy native plants! Plants native to your area have evolved in the local climate and environment for thousands of years and do much better as low-maintenance landscape plants than non-native ornamentals. Plus, you get the added benefit of supporting local wildlife and helping to combat habitat loss in your own yard. The best native plants for your yard will depend on your specific environment and personal preference. To find a native plant nursery near you, check out the Xerces Society Native Plant Nursery and Seed Directory.

Dr Heidi Parkes

By Dr Heidi Parkes

Senior Information Extension Officer QLD Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries.