By Holly Crossley published
Our lawn ideas are full of inspiration if you want to add a soothing patch of turf to your plot. And why wouldn't you? The humble lawn is a well-loved addition to any garden, for good reason.
You see, that gorgeous stretch of green can elevate your outdoor space in all kinds of ways. Practicality-wise, it can be used as a place for kids to run wild and have a good kick about, or you can use it as a comfortable spot to sit, for a romantic summer picnic. But functionalities aside, a well-kept lawn is also a rather beautiful thing – it will certainly boost your view from the patio.
Our ideas are perfect for plots of all sizes. From striped designs to sunken lawns, keep reading for all the inspiration you'll need. And once you've found the lawn for you, why not treat yourself to the best lawn mower from our top picks?
1. Add interest with stepping stones
If you think lawns are strictly for bigger gardens, then this design will make you reconsider. Created by Living Gardens, it shows the transformative power of a small patch of turf on a not-so-large plot.
Not only does the square of green bring an extra boost of vitality to the space, but it also breaks it up into chic zones. Probably our favourite feature here, however, is the stepping stone pathway, which is delightfully playful as well as practical. A border of pale paving and recessed lighting is the perfect finishing touch to this contemporary scene.
Want more ways to make the most of a small plot? Head over to our small garden ideas.
2. Line with deep borders full of flowers
Make your borders the focal point of your plot by keeping things simple in-between. A central strip of lawn can act as a wide pathway to another area of your garden, or a peaceful place to lounge on a blanket or deckchair in summer. Either way, it's always a joy to admire magnificent borders from a well-kept patch of verdant green.
Plus, keep your mowing in check and edges tidy, and your lawn will bring a sense of formality to your garden, no matter how wild your flowerbeds are. It's a straight-forward way to make your plot feel well-balanced. Just check out our spring lawn care tips to keep yours looking its best.
3. Embrace a contemporary look with a sunken lawn
Get creative with levels when it comes to your lawn and sink it down from the rest of your plot. It's a modern look that adds a great deal of interest.
Border with a tidy strip of gravel punctuated with alpine plants, and place one of the best fire pits centre stage as a focal point (and for extra cosiness). Finish with contemporary furniture for a pared-back haven that'll feel fresh, vibrant, and green – even if you're city-living.
4. Or, raise it up to create a chill-out zone
If you're a fan of the best BBQs or our outdoor kitchen ideas, then your patio is bound to be a crucial part of your plot. But, even if your garden is small, chances are you can still embrace a bit of lawn.
Zone it off from the rest of your garden by elevating it slightly, as shown in this stunning design by Living Gardens. The softer ground underfoot will offer a relaxing retreat to sit and reflect, away from the daily hubbub.
5. Add a focal point to a narrow lawn
Add a sense of depth to a narrow lawn by adding a focal point to the far side. This example above demonstrates one lovely way to do it – with an antique white bench.
Not only does it create a vista that wouldn't be out of place in our cottage garden ideas, it also provides a pleasant place to sit, framed amongst the surrounding foliage and flowers.
You could use a statue or garden sculpture instead – take a look at our lawn decoration ideas for inspiration.
6. Experiment with stripes for a formal look
Striping a lawn always leads to show-stopping results and is a surefire way to make a plot feel shipshape (and inspire envy from your neighbours!).
And, although the example above is certainly impressive (temple and all), you don't need a huge garden for lawn stripes to be effective. In fact, striping a small lawn will help to elongate the space.
Want to learn the tips and tricks on how to achieve the look? Head over to our guide on how to mow a lawn.
7. Play with shapes to suit your plot
Contrary to popular belief, a lawn doesn't have to be rectangular or square. Cutting turf isn't difficult at all, so it can, of course, be any shape you want.
So, why not get a little experimental with your lawn and incorporate interesting lines and shapes? From pleasing curves to accentuate your borders, to angular lines to create a feature of your patio plants, there's no harm in getting creative and having fun with your design. Find out how to get started with our guide on how to lay turf.
It'll make your plot instantly feel more interesting – just add one of our modern edging ideas for the perfect finishing touch.
8. Mow a path through wilder grass
A neatly mown lawn isn't for everyone – perhaps you prefer a wilder, more romantic look. Well in that case, this idea is for you. Ditch the mower (for the most part), scatter wild flower seeds amongst your grass, and simply let it grow. The colourful, textural treasures that will consequently appear are sure to be loved by you and pollinators alike.
Don't throw your mower away entirely though. Instead, invest in the best cordless lawn mower and create an enchanting pathway through the meadow, for a dream-like journey around your plot. Check out our garden path ideas for more inspiration.
9. Let there be moss
Moss. Some people spend hours of their lives wrestling with it, pouring expensive solutions over their beloved lawn to try and eradicate it. On the other hand, some people love its cushiony feel and deep green hue.
If you're part of the former group, then maybe it's time to cease your battles and embrace a more welcoming perspective. After all, moss plays a crucial part in many small Japanese garden ideas and has for hundreds of years – symbolising land, mountains, or forests.
It's soft underfoot, it doesn't need mowing, and it'll grow happily in spots where grass will perform poorly (in shade, for instance). So why not encourage a little moss in your plot? It will add a cool, old-world feel and certainly looks better than patches of bare soil.
10. Add spring cheer with bulbs
Bring a dose of spring joy to your lawn by nestling your favourite bulbs beneath the surface. Crocuses, snow drops, and daffodils all make lovely choices.
The RHS suggests to scatter bulbs and then plant where they land, for a natural look. Use a bulb planter or small trowel to remove plugs of turf, plant your bulbs, and then pop the plug back in before watering well. If you want to plant lots of small bulbs in a cluster, they suggest cutting an 'H' shape into the lawn, then peeling back two flaps of turf from the centre line to reveal the soil, ready for planting en masse.
Check out our guide to planting bulbs for more advice.
How do I mulch a lawn?
You may have heard of mulching your flowerbeds, but mulching your lawn is important too – and it's simple to do. Paul Hicks, Product and Marketing Manager at STIHL, shares his expert advice:
- Mulching is a great alternative to using chemical fertilisers on your lawn. The process consists of cutting the grass and chopping the clippings into tiny pieces, with one pass of the mower. These clippings are then returned to the turf and contain all the essential nutrients the lawn needs for healthy growth.
- To do so, you can use a special mower that has been designed to mulch. These mowers are often unable to collect grass and instead, have a special profile in the cutter deck and a specially designed blade.
- However, there are some mowers out there that offer the best of both worlds. They will collect clippings in a grass box when needed, but can also be converted into a mulching mower with an accessory kit.
- For those who want a perfectly manicured and fertilised lawn but would rather skip the labour, then it's worth looking at robotic mulching mowers too. The STIHL iMow mows little and often, so that fine clippings are constantly returned to the lawn on a regular basis. Not sure what we're talking about? We explain all you need to know in our guide, 'how does a robot lawn mower work?'
- Don't mulch if your grass is too long – this can make the clippings clump together and stop them from breaking down properly. It can also cause problems with the performance of the mower.
- Mulch up to three times every fortnight. This will help to maintain a healthy lawn, especially throughout the key growing season.
- Try to avoid mulching in wet conditions. Damp clippings can build up under the mower and won't break down on the lawn.
How often should I water my lawn?
Don't water your lawn everyday! Doing so can actually make your grass overly dependent on it. Instead, Paul Hicks from STIHL advises to choose one day a week to water the lawn for an extended period of time. As a result, it will be both healthier and more drought-resistant.
Check out our best garden sprinklers if you're on the lookout for a new one.
How should I treat bare patches in my lawn?
Bare patches on a lawn need to be acted upon quickly, says Paul Hicks of STIHL, as they will entice weeds. They can be caused by over-raking, over-mowing, or heavy lawn scarification (follow our guide on how to scarify a lawn for our tips). All you need to do is reseed the area and, if no rain is forecasted for a few days, gently water.
The garden was always a big part of Holly's life growing up, as was the surrounding New Forest where she lived. Her appreciation for the great outdoors has only grown since then. She's been an allotment keeper, a professional gardener, and a botanical illustrator – plants are her passion. But, she loves all things digital too. She joined the team at Gardeningetc after working as a freelance content creator for a web agency, whilst studying for her M.Sc. in Marketing. Now she feels lucky enough to combine both digital and botanical worlds, every day!
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