Grass is the mainstay of the quintessential English garden. Although in recent years it has fallen slightly out of fashion in urban garden design as changing lifestyles place greater emphasis on low-maintenance, it still has a place in domestic garden design. Whether as an exquisitely manicured formal lawn or a bee-friendly wildflower meadow, grass is a great thing to include for many reasons: it produces swathes of evergreen colour, it’s cheap to install and is a great play surface for children and animals. The question is how do you get the perfect garden lawn designs for your garden.
Appeal of the artificial
When I first started out as a garden designer I always used real grass in my designs. However over the years I have seen many sad, tired lawns whose owners have little time for upkeep and I have come to see the appeal, and the benefits, of artificial lawn. Improvements in production techniques mean that higher-end artificial grass is almost indistinguishable from the real thing. It is virtually zero maintenance and is impervious to hosepipe bans. It will never wilt or turn into a muddy mess, can stand up to prolonged traffic and play whatever the weather, and won’t turn yellow or die if you forget to move the kid’s paddling pool for months on end.
Give your lawn status
Whether real or artificial, too often lawn means ‘I couldn’t think what else to do’. If you are using lawn, give it status. Make it a genuine focal point rather than an afterthought. Define it with edging – there are loads of suitable materials available from stone setts to steel, timber to brick. Create pockets enveloped with planting, make it flow through the garden or use it as a strong architectural framework. Try not to let it run to the edges of the space as boundaries and lawn are always tricky to smudge together without creating harsh lines. Use planting to soften things up. The shape you choose for your lawn can determine the layout of your whole garden, so give it careful consideration and don’t be afraid to be bold.