Monday, 18 March 2013

The Grass is always greener – or is it?

 An immaculate emerald lawn is one of the most expensive things you can have in your garden.

While the initial outlay for either turf or grass seed is not particularly high, the costs involved in maintaining a perfect green carpet are huge and the scope for getting it wrong is vast.  Perfect lawns have to be tended continuously.  This means hours of work a week – weeding, feeding, cutting and trimming.  If left for only two weeks during dry spells they turn brown.  If it rains for the same period they grow long and lush enough to hide a family of elephants.

So what to do? 

Well, if you think that life is too short, there are alternatives.  And, with a bit of imagination, you can have something beautiful which will give a lot of enjoyment and possibly even soothe your ‘green’ conscience.

First – as in all design matters – decide what you actually need your lawn for.

If it is for children to kick balls around on then a very simple maintenance programme may be all you need.  However even mowing can be creative.  Try raising the height of the blades to create patterns.  If you don’t like what you have ‘drawn’ in the grass simply cut it and try again.  Just a few centimetres height difference is all you need.  Look upon the lawn as a blank canvas, you need only be limited by your imagination.

You could plant small areas with other forms of ground cover such as creeping thymes or chamomile which look lovely and smell even better.

If your lawn is simply an open space in the middle of the garden try to leave some areas to grow long.  You will be amazed by what comes up.  Lovely grasses and wild flowers will appear.  One note however – never have long grass directly abutting a flower bed as it will creep in and look as if you simply neglect your garden.  Just mow around the edges.

Another alternative is to do away with your lawn, in total or in part, and sow an annual or perennial wildflower meadow.  Depending on the type of seed mix you may only have to cut it once a year to maintain it.  For the remaining 364½ days you can simply enjoy it.  Watch the grasses and flowers grow and see the numbers of insects and mini-beasts that set up home.

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