Moss Lawn Pros and Cons

Lawns are an integral component of any yard or garden.  A lot of homeowners want to create a unique style for their home, and planting a lawn is a great way to create a stunning outdoor space.

However, grass lawns have their own disadvantages. This is the reason why planting moss lawns is becoming increasingly popular. 

Could moss be a good replacement for grass lawns? And what are its benefits and drawbacks? To help you answer these questions we created a list of moss lawn pros and cons.

Moss field
Natural moss landscape


  • Moss can grow in shade and humidity
  • Mowing-free
  • No fertilizer required
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Beautiful appearance
  • Many different varieties
  • Insect-free
  • Weed-free
  • Requires regular irrigation
  • Acidity of the soil
  • Poor sun tolerance
  • Could be easily damaged
  • Cleaning is required

Moss lawn pros

Pro: Moss can grow in shade and humidity

The primary and most obvious benefits of moss are its capacity to develop where the grass is unable to grow or grows poorly.

Full shade is an ideal environment for moss, there the grass will not grow well and be loose.

Another thing to consider is moisture. Moss grows well in humid conditions, whereas if you plant grass in very wet soil it might just rot.

Moss is an ideal substitute for grass in a shady area with wet soil.

Moss growing in a dark moist area
Forest moss growing in a dark area with minimal sunlight

Pro: Mowing-free

Moss is a very low-maintenance ground cover.

Unlike grass, moss doesn’t require mowing. So instead of having to mow it, you can simply enjoy the view.

The grass needs to be mowed regularly and this process requires effort, time, and money.

Of course, neither artificial grass nor moss needs to be mowed. However, a lot of people prefer living plants.

Pro: No fertilizer required

Another advantage of a moss lawn is that it doesn’t require fertilizer. It can thrive without fertilizer and grow fast.

Grass requires regular fertilization every season to remain dense and lush. 

Furthermore, aside from fertilizer, a grass lawn requires scarifying, and aeration. It’s a complex procedure that requires a lot of effort and time. Without it, the grass won’t be as beautiful as it could be.

You can employ an expert to do the scarifying and aeration of your yard, but likely it will cost a  significant amount.

Pro: Environmentally friendly

Not having to use fertilizers also helps to preserve the natural water sources, since usually, the chemicals work their way in the soil and eventually end up in the rivers of water that flow under it. This causes water pollution and could harm those who drink the affected water.

Pro: Beautiful appearance

Moss is a deep dark green color. The density of moss is extremely high, and it gives it a distinct appearance that other lawns can’t duplicate.

It looks good all year round, while grass doesn’t have a particularly appealing appearance during winter. 

Moss growing well during winter
Moss still looks good during winter

Additionally, the moss’s surface is much softer to the touch than the surface of grass, which may be somewhat prickly.

Pro: Many different varieties

If you choose to grow a moss lawn you’ll have a wide variety of choices to pick from. There are numerous moss plants that you can make distinctive landscape designs with.

Firstly, there is Fern moss. It is a distinct kind of moss that has taller stems than other mosses. Fern is very embossed and textured and more flexible than regular moss. It is a great material for creating stunning landscape designs in your moss garden.

Fern moss in a natural setting
Fern moss growing on a tree

Hedweigia moss is a much more visually appealing moss. The stems are long with sharp, pointed leaves. A huge colony of this moss type could look similar to coral reefs.

Pro: Insect-free

High moss density makes it extremely hard for insects to get in. The stems are close to each other and insects can simply become stuck in the dense moss. In certain types of moss, bugs may never be able to enter.

This property helps to keep moss clear of insects. This is crucial since they might bother anyone visiting. 

The grass on the other hand has a lower density and can hide an abundance of insects and bugs. This could cause significant discomfort to homeowners.

Forest moss
Dense moss texture

Pro: Weed-free

Another advantage of moss lawns with a high density is that weeds cannot grow through them. This means that the moss lawn will have significantly fewer unwanted plants.

Furthermore, the shade and the excessive humidity that moss enjoys are extremely harmful to plants. 

In the grass, it’s relatively simple for weeds to germinate among the individual grass rhizomes, and you’ll need to get rid of the weeds from time to time.

Pro: Prevents erosion

Moss lawns also can help stop soil erosion. It covers the soil quickly by clinging onto the ground by its roots. This means it is more difficult to let water collect in streams and erode the soil.

This is particularly beneficial when water flows from higher points. Creating a moss lawn will eliminate the problem once and for all.

Moss lawn cons

Con: Requires regular irrigation

One of the biggest drawbacks of moss lawns is their need for lots of water. Moss needs to be always humid to grow. This applies not just to the moisture in the soil, but also to the humidity of the air.

Of course, there are drought-resistant species of moss. However, they’re not the most visually appealing. If there’s a deficiency of moisture the moss leaves will shrink in half, and its color will become yellow-green.

To keep its gorgeous appearance, you’ll have to regularly water your moss throughout the summer months. It is not necessary if the area where it grows is always humid. Moss doesn’t require to be hydrated in the winter.

Con: Acidity of the soil

Moss needs to be planted in acidic soil. It can’t develop normally in alkaline soil. The soil’s pH must be less than 6.0. If the soil has a neutral pH moss will still grow, but the results will be unimpressive.

PH meter
A device for testing soil pH level

Growing moss in alkaline soils is extremely difficult. Most likely, its color will be greenish-yellow and it will grow slowly.

Certain gardeners employ special substances to acidify the soil, however, it takes a considerable amount of effort and time.

Another issue is the need for compact soil. This means that if the soil in your yard is sand-like, for instance, it will be difficult for moss to thrive there. It won’t be able to adhere to the surface and the rainwater can destroy its structure.

However, the great thing is that moss is able to grow even on the poorest soil types.

Con: Poor sun tolerance

Most moss species require at least partial shade, but the best conditions are provided by full shade. If you do not plant it in complete shade, you’ll have to water it more frequently. The more sunshine there is, the more water moss will require.

There are several moss species that are able to endure the full sun. However, they require plenty of water. In the full sun, moss has to either grow close to a stream or you’ll have to install an irrigation system.

A moss lawn in full sunlight is a big challenge.

Regular moss is able to withstand the dryness in the sun however it will not look appealing, to say the least.

Con: Could be easily damaged

Once you have planted a moss lawn, you are unable to walk over it. Moss can’t support the weight of a person. If you place your foot on it, it’ll leave a mark that’ll take an extended time to heal. Even dogs can cause significant damage.

But walking on grass is completely fine. Therefore, if you require a large lawn in front of your home for leisure, moss isn’t suitable for this area.

Con: Cleaning is required

Last but not least is the necessity to clean plant debris off moss lawns. About 1-2 times per season, you need to clean a moss lawn of falling leaves and flowers and other plants’ debris.

Plant debris can create a bad environment for moss growth. Massive amounts of fallen leaves could create an extremely dense layer beneath which moss can’t survive.

Moss lawn with plant debris
Debris on a moss lawn


A moss lawn is a great choice for a garden if you have a lot of shady areas. It is very low maintenance and there is no need to purchase an expensive product for growth enhancement. Moss gardens are surrounded by lush, green all-year-round topiaries, and true evergreen ground covers.

Leave a Comment