Lawns are such an icon that it seems strange to question them. But some people certainly do. We are so used to seeing short, mown grass everywhere that it’s easy to forget the amount of sheer work that goes into maintaining them. Lawns can of course be a real pleasure – there’s no substitute when it comes to having an outside space to picnic and play and party. But if you’re just filling in space, there are easier ways to do it, and ones which demand less in the way of water, chemical inputs, and energy-hungry mowing. It’s all a matter of personal choice but it’s worth being aware of the choice you’re making.
- Wildflower lawns are becoming increasingly popular as an alternative to monotony and mowing. A good way to avoid a scruffy and uncared-for look is to sculpt curved areas and paths when mowing, giving a strong contrast between short turf and exuberant meadow. Garden centres and also specialist suppliers provide wildflower and meadow mixes containing flowers such as cowslips, wood anemones, ox-eye daisies. The usual care advice is to strim in late summer, after the plants have set seed, then mow as usual.
- Another very important point is not to feed your lawn, if you want to encourage wild flowers – as a general rule, richer soil will only encourage the grass to grow, while poorer soil gives the less rampant flowering plants a chance to claim some space.
- Slow growing grass means reduced mowing!
- It’s far better to go for a lawnmower which you push rather than an electric model, if you are able to use one. Petrol-powered ones should be a last resort only. The Manual Mowers website summarises the advantages as well as selling a good range of manual lawnmowers.