(NewsUSA) - Americans love having backyards for planting gardens, holding outdoor parties and giving children a safe place to play outdoors. But some homeowners find themselves with less-than-ideal backyards. Maybe the backyard slopes too much for a picnic table. Maybe the home's in an arid area, where green grass requires expensive irrigation.

For many homeowners looking to improve their backyards, concrete masonry might provide an unexpected, inexpensive solution.

Concrete can mimic any surface, like stucco, European cobblestone or aged slate, allowing concrete landscaping to blend into any area alongside any style of home.

Concrete masonry proves both stylish and durable. Unlike wooden decks, concrete structures require no upkeep and don't succumb to termites, mold, rot, weathering or other problems.

One couple replaced their wooden deck with a concrete patio, then found themselves with an insect-free backyard. "With the wood deck, it seemed like mosquitoes would breed and then come up and attack," said Melissa Werpy, who used concrete masonry to renovate her backyard. "We can now be outside until midnight, and mosquitoes aren't a problem."

Concrete masonry can build attractive desert landscapes, too. Some homeowners use water irrigation to grow green grass in arid regions. But irrigating a lawn costs money and wastes water, a precious natural resource.

Homeowners can use segmented, concrete walls to build attractive driveways and terraced landscapes without growing grass. The landscape might not look green, but avoiding irrigation helps desert homeowners save the planet.

In steep yards without flat surfaces for planting herb or flower gardens, setting up tennis nets or supporting tables and chairs, concrete walls can make backyards more enjoyable.

Landscapers can build terraced, concrete brick walls that create level areas for patios, garden planters and extra seats during large parties. Concrete masonry can help control erosion and water drainage, too.

For homeowners with problem backyards, concrete masonry can provide an inexpensive, durable and attractive way to make landscapes both people- and eco-friendly.

For more information about concrete masonry, visit www.ncma.org.