Lawn Design - guide to designing a lawn
The lawn is most often the centre piece of a garden and as such
its the relation with the rest of your gardens elements is of great importance. A lawn can be design
can try and maximise feeling of space in the garden, it can be designed
to give a very formal, ornamental feel or it can be designed so
that it draws the eye towards a particular focal point. These are
just a few examples of how the lawn design can influence the various
experiences you encounter in your garden.
One of the first things to consider when starting the lawn design
process is how the lawn is going to be used. Lawns may have a sole function such as being ornamental
or they may be multi functional. You may need the lawn to be somewhere
where the kids can play safely, you might wish to sunbath on the
lawn or use it for home 'picnics'. Tennis, football and badminton
are examples of sports that can considerably affect the grass cover
of a lawn. Other lawn games such as Croquet are less trampling but
still exert stress upon the lawn.
If you have multiple requirements from the lawn then it may be
beneficial to split the design into seperate lawns, one for sports and play, the other for visual appeal
and sunbathing. The grass types you choose will be influenced by
the lawn use, hard wearing grasses for heavy traffic lawns, wild
meadow grasses for those after something less traditional.
Design and lawn maintenance
The shape of the lawn can greatly effect the amount of time and
effort needed to maintain a lawn. A square or rectangular lawn shape is the easiest to maintain.
Mowing in straight lines to achieve a striped lawn effect is often
desired. Having objects placed in the lawn such as statues, shrubs, swings and seats can mean that
a curved mowing patch must be taken thus impacting on any uniform
Maintaining neat well formed lawn edges can be a lengthy task.
The more curves and complicated edges that your lawn design ncludees, the longer you will have to
spend time in maintaining the lawn edges.
If you have a blank canvas for your garden then you may wish to
lay the whole site to lawn and then as you decide upon features you would like in your garden you can
remove the appropriate layer of turf by digging it up. This approach
can be easier than laying a small lawn and then trying to add new
sections to the existing lawn at a later date.
The function(s) of the lawn will influence the space that is required.
Square and rectangular lawns tend to emphasise space more as they are continual unbroken lines
of grass. Lawns with spurs that branch out can form interesting
avenues for the eye to be drawn down.
Planning your design
Carefully planning the design of your lawn can reveal some key
criteria that you need to take into consideration before committing to the hard work of preparing the
soil for a new lawn. It is highly recommended that you try and draw
a plan of your design. This design should be drawn to scale (using
graph paper can help make drawing to scale easier, neater and more
The design plan should include your properties boundaries, any
outbuildings such as the shed, garages, greenhouses, the house outline and any existing trees and
shrubs that you wish to remain in their current position. You should
then plan the shape and size of the lawn taking into account factors
mentioned above. Assessing the position of paths around or across
the lawn is also an important part of the planning process. The
amount of use the garden receives will be an influencing factor
here. Will the kids cut the avoid a path around the edge of the
lawn and just cut across the middle?
Try envisaging how the lawn will appear when you are positioned
in the gardens seating area, how the lawn fits into the garden design when viewed from the kitchen
Marking out the proposed lawn design
A further stage in the planning is to actually mark out the proposed
lawn design along with any associated paths. You can then move to different positions in the
garden (and house) and assess if all your needs have been covered
by the design. Does the lawn act as a focal point when looking through
the patio doors? Can the kids be seen playing on the lawn from the
Can you see your prize sculpture when sunbathing? Can you fit your
minature football goalposts away from the greenhouse? If all your needs
can't be covered by any possible design then you must assess which
needs are the most important.