Lawn mowing can seem a never-ending task at this time of year. I suppose the rain responsible for our lush forty shades of green is what encourages the grass to grow like Usain Bolt sprinting towards an Olympic record. Imagine if you could just press a button and close the roof like they do on Wimbledon’s Centre Court....
So why do we persist in turning over so much of our gardens to grass? Well from a design point of view, a well shaped and well cared for lawn can be a wonderful breathing space in a garden; it’s a good foil for more colourful planting and rounded or spiky shapes of shrubs and perennials. And because it stays green all year round, it gives some relief from the dreary browns and greys of winter. I think for most of us though, it’s an instinctive thing – maybe because as a nation we have such an affinity with the land or maybe because childhood memories of mucking about, playing ball games and making daisy chains are buried deep and we need to hang on to this link with our younger more carefree selves. Whatever the reason, to many people a garden without a lawn just isn’t a proper garden at all.
So is there anything we can do at this time of year to make life easier and spend a little less time mowing and trimming? I’m often asked to reduce the size of lawns for this reason and there are lots of ways you can hang on to your cherished green sward in a more manageable form. Consider introducing some trees with ground cover planting underneath. Decently sized borders of well chosen shrubs and flowering perennials are another good way to cut down on grass area while adding structure and interest into the picture. You may be tempted to use weedkillers for those pesky dandelions and all their partners in crime – and it’s a personal choice. But spare a thought for the blackbirds, blue tits and all the other creatures that depend on our gardens to feed themselves and their young. A more relaxed and daisy –tolerant approach will benefit them and it probably won’t do us any harm either!
TIP OF THE WEEK:
Make sure you have a properly defined lawn edge around all your beds and borders with a vertical drop of 5 to 7 cm – this allows you to easily trim the lawn edges, and when you’re pushed for time, a quick edge trim can make the whole garden look neater even if you don’t have time to mow the rest of the grass till later. You’ll need to re-define the edge each spring so a lawn edging tool is a good investment that should make life easier in the long run.