When it comes to our lawns, experts are warning that too much love and attention can often backfire, with simple lawn care tasks such as watering your turf leading to unattractive, patchy and dry grass.
Veteran British horticulturist, Stefan Buczacki, author of more than 50 gardening and natural history books, says: 'Never, ever, water your lawn – it’s a complete waste of time, energy, money and everything.'
If you’re obsessed with cultivating a pristine lawn, this might be difficult to stick to. 'Do water only if it is unseasonably hot,' says Carlos Real, lawn care expert and managing director of Total Lawn.
'Watering too early in the year encourages shallow root growth, and your grass would not be able to withstand the dry, hot summer weather we’d hope to expect a little later in the year, resulting in patchy, brown grass.'
Cutting back on watering as well as the time you spend looking after your lawn is a garden trend that has been steadily growing in popularity, particularly at this time of year thanks to the Plantlife charity’s No Mow May campaign. This encourages homeowners to leave their best lawn mower in the shed for a little longer and let wildflowers bloom to provide a nectar feast for pollinators such as honeybees, bumblebees and solitary bees, butterflies and moths, and beetles.
'Each year the trend towards wilder lawns is growing from the grassroots up, and it is set to bloom as never before in 2022,' says Felicity Harris, head of participation at Plantlife. 'It is not only plants and pollinators that benefit – we do too. Less mowing gives garden lovers more time to relax and reconnect with nature.'
Sounds idyllic, and even better if it can help the health and appearance of our lawns in the long run. But be warned, says Carlos: 'Leaving the grass uncut will be more damaging for wildlife long-term. It will invite all kinds of wildlife to the lawn to create a home, only then to destroy it and kill the insects in the process when the lawn is mowed again in June.
'For those wanting to create a space for wildlife, a much better idea would be allocating an area of the garden to be a wild area all year round. Sowing wildflower seeds will create a great habitat for all kinds of insects and bees.'
Whatever route you choose to go down for your spring lawn care, it seems that cutting back on a little maintenance can be good for gardens, and give us back more time for relaxing. It's a win-win.
Jayne Dowle is an award-winning freelance gardening, homes and property writer who writes about everything from swimming ponds to skyscraper apartments, for publications including Sunday Times Home, Times Bricks & Mortar, Grand Designs, House Beautiful and The Spectator. Awarded the Garden Journalist of the Year accolade at the Property Press Awards in 2021, she has a degree in English Language and Literature from the University of Oxford and a lifelong love of homes, interiors and gardens. Her first memories include planting potatoes with her grandfather and drawing houses. Her own garden - her fourth - at home in a 1920s house in Yorkshire, is south-facing and on the side of a valley. It’s a constant challenge
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