Lawns and Meadows - Save Mowing, and Wildlife
Most of us really do need a lawn, whether it's to beat the kids at football (!) or to sit and relax. But lawns can be very high maintenance, especially if you'e aiming for a weed and moss free sward. You'll likely spend a whole lot of time, use a huge amount of chemicals and waste plenty of water and mower petrol to get close to that ideal stripy paradise - Is the result really worth it?
Here's a step by step guide to making your lawn truly green:
Step One: Stop watering your lawn. Most lawns will happily spring back to life even after they have gone completely brown.
Step Two: Avoid straight lawn edges. Curved edges look lovely and also help to create suntraps for insects in south facing borders
Step Three: Let the grass grow under your feet Maintaining the grass in a formal lawn at 40-50mm long rather than cutting it to within a millimetre of its life.This way it is more likely to be able to deal with drought. So it will keep greener for longer.
Step Four: Allow areas of really long grass if possible. Cut until Mid May but then leave to grow until mid September and then cut to match the rest of the lawn and compost the clippings.
Step Five: Stop using chemicals and accept that your lawn may not be perfect. Of course there are plenty of alternatives like biological controls if you get a real pest outbreak but on the whole you will find that your new garden friends will deal with the issues‚ For example your blackbirds and starlings will enjoy a feast of leatherjackets and your hoggys will particularly like a slug or two.
Step Six: Add Wildflowers. Long grass is an ideal place to plan an area of wildflowers. It provides a habitat for insects to lay their eggs. Either spray off or take off the turf, prepare the ground and use really grown wildflower plants (plugs or pots) and plant in drifts of three to five species.
Step Seven: Go radical. Why not turn any excess lawn into a Wildflower Meadow. Once you have a bare and prepared soil the cheapest way is to grow from seed. A Wildflower meadow is easy to plant and maintain. Don't worry about mowing, an annual strim if all that's needed, and, even better as long as you choose genuinely native plants from the UK they are amazingly drought tolerant.
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