Xeriscaping isn’t just a potentially high-scoring word in Scrabble. The practice of landscaping using low-water-use strategies has become more and more common, especially in western areas of the U.S. enduring years of drought.

Here’s an ingenious idea offered by professional landscape architects, college botany professors, and other xeriscaping experts for achieving a low-water lawn–use less grass. Less grass means less water. Hey, why didn’t I think of that one?

Okay, the idea of shrinking your grass area may be common sense, but it’s so “in the box” that we may completely overlook it. In many homes in the U.S., landscaping equals a wide expanse of grass with a few shrubs around the foundation. Sometimes, common sense can be revolutionary.

Shrinking your grass doesn’t have to mean getting rid of it completely, just saying goodbye to a significant chunk and looking for low-water landscaping options. If you’re ready to get rid of some grass, reduce your water usage, and save money on utility bills, check out these possibilities for your blank grass-free canvas:

Dramatic Courtyard Entrance: You can’t get more low water than hardscape. My parents’ home features a gorgeous–and huge–courtyard entrance that not only enhances the home’s beauty and value, but significantly reduces the size of their front lawn.

Flowering Shrub and Perennial Border: By removing grass from your yard and replacing it with flowering plants, you’ll swap out an essentially empty space for one that adds beauty and dimension. You’ll also add to the natural ecosystems available to birds, insects, and other living creatures in your area. Use native plants if you’re looking for low maintenance and even lower water usage.

Charming Flagstone Patio: One of my best friends replaced most of her–albeit small–lawn area with a flagstone patio, complete with tiny plantings between the stones. In addition to being adorable, these petite plants–including Baby’s Tears–added color and the feeling of soft ground cover to the space.

Meandering Crushed Gravel Path: If you’re lucky enough to have a very large yard with a great deal of grass, enjoy every corner of it by installing a crushed gravel path that winds and curves throughout the lawn area. Add low native plantings along the path, and you could shrink your grass while wildly expanding your home’s appeal.