Five ways to love your lawn this year

The longer days and brighter weather are often accompanied by a flurry of activity in the garden as we look forward to spending more time outdoors.

By
Fiona Evans
Friday, 17th March 2023, 4:31pm
Five ways to love your lawn this year

​Lawnmowers are liberated from the garage, dusted off and set to work in pursuit of a patch of flawless grass.

But this year gardeners are being encouraged to reimagine the space and experiment with a new look lawn that benefits wildlife and the wider environment, by The Wildlife Trusts and Royal Horticultural Society (RHS).

The charities’ ‘Bring your lawn to life’ campaign invites gardeners to raise the blade on their mower and cut their grass less regularly; embrace daisies, dandelions, clovers and other naturally flowering plants; and even grow container lawns if space is at a premium.

“Everyone can enjoy the beauty of longer lawns,” said Barnaby Coupe, land use policy manager of The Wildlife Trusts.

"Gardeners have spent too long battling against nature to maintain lifeless green carpets of closely cropped grass.

"It’s time to help nature and the climate by letting lawns live wilder and supporting a Serengeti in your back yard. Avoid plastic lawns – they will turn your gardens into lifeless deserts and end up in landfill.”

Lawns left to grow long are shown to help mitigate flooding by better soaking up rainwater; counter the heat island effect in urban areas through their cooling properties; and capture pollutants.

They are also better at resisting browning during dry spells than short grass owing to their longer roots, say the charities.

This means that their benefits continue into the height of summer, and provide all-important habitat for a host of insects including ants, bees and butterflies.

“Lawns, while central to many garden designs, are often overlooked as important ecosystems in favour of the plants in beds that border them,” said Helen Bostock, senior wildlife specialist at the RHS.

"But they’re home to a huge amount of wildlife and help mitigate the impact of climate change.

"We want to inspire people to get up close and personal with their lawns this year, discover what can be found in their swathes of green and dabble with new, more hands-off means of management.”

Five ways to love your lawn this year

1 Reduce the frequency of mowing to once every three to four weeks to allow flowers such as dandelion and speedwell to bloom and help pollinators.

2 Keep some areas short as pathways, sunbathing spots and foraging areas for worm-eating birds.

For the rest, let the grass grow a little longer, offering shelter to grasshoppers and other insects. In turn, these creatures are food for frogs, birds and bats.

3 Allow parts of your lawn to grow long for the whole summer so that caterpillars can feed and transform into butterflies and moths.

4 Turn a blind eye to the odd bare patch within a lawn as these provide sites for ground nesting bees.

5 If you do want a luscious green carpet, consider growing hardy yarrow within your lawn or, where there is limited footfall, experiment with a tapestry lawn and grow herbs and flowers such as chamomile and creeping thyme.

For more information on the benefits of lawns in gardens download a copy of the ‘Bring your lawn to life guide’ by visiting: www.wildaboutgardens.org.uk/sites/default/files/2023-03/230306%20RSWT%20Wild%20about%20Lawns_Booklet%202023%20web%20no%20logo.pdf

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The Wildlife Trusts and RHS are inviting people to cut their grass less regularly (photo: Adobe)
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