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The traditional choice for a lawn is grass, but there are also other alternatives that fit better to the growing conditions that our gardens can offer. To keep a grass lawn in good shape it requires regular watering and a good soil.

Grass lawns
If your garden is that kind of garden that is able to provide good growing conditions for a grass lawn, and you choose to plant a grass lawn you have to think carefully about your lawn from a practical - to ease your mowing - but also a visual point of view. For a formal garden the best shape of a lawn is a geometric shape - circle, square, rectangle or hexagon. For a country garden or a garden with an informal style you can choose a lawn with broad curves and possibly inset island beds. For a cottage or wild-style garden choose meandering grass paths running through naturalistic borders.

To ease your mowing you can add hard paths or paved edgings to your lawn, those will also prevent overhanging plants in adjacent borders from smothering the grass and causing bare or yellow patches in your lawn.

Choose a Lawn

Clover lawns
This type of lawn is mostly used in areas where summers are dry and hot. In summer, clover lawns attract bees, so this lawn is also good in a wildlife friendly garden. This type of lawn is drought-tolerant and requires little mowing as the clover are naturally compact. Specially compact strains of white clover are sown alone or mixed with grass and in this care the resulting lawn will stay green during periods of drought and creates it own nitrogen using the nitrogen-fixing nodules on the clover roots, which feed the grass growing with it.

Herb lawns
For this kind of lawn you should consider the most popular choices: chamomile and thyme. For chamomile lawns you should choose the non-flowering variety “Treneague”. For the thyme lawns you can choose any variety of creeping thyme, in gold, silver or green, as they will all provide good ground cover. Those lawns look good and form an aromatic carpet.

Those types of herb lawns need a very well-drained soil and a sunny place to thrive but none of them will tolerate much wear so you will have to insert some stepping-stones or paving slabs if you need to cross over that area often. If you decide to plant a herb lawn you have to prepare the soil well by incorporating plenty of grit or gravel and if the soil is not naturally fast-draining you have to raise the area with a 5 cm layer of gravel and plant through it.

Wildflower lawns
This type of lawn is ideal for wildlife gardens and for more unkempt areas away from the house as they look like old-fashioned hay meadows. You can create this lawn by sowing a mixture of grass and wildflower seed or by planting pot-grown plants into already established turf and then allowing them to spread naturally. The maintenance of this type of lawn is easy as you left it long and you cut it once or twice a year – in early spring and in autumn so that the flowers can complete their life cycle and shed seed.

Wildflower lawns are not flowering versions of normal lawns but you can achieve a wildflower effect in a domestic lawn by allowing daisies and speedwell to remain and by refraining from using weedkillers or fertilizers. By this method you keep the grass growth weak but encourage wildflower species.

Alpine lawns
Those lawns are just decorative as you can not walk on them. You must use gravel or paved paths or stepping stones if you need to cross over this area. This lawn is made using a range of low, carpeting and mound-shaped rock plants grown together with clumps of dwarf bulbs. This effect is of a Persian carpet that changes colors throughout the seasons. If you plan to plant this type of lawn you must prepare the ground for it as for a herb lawn.

Heather carpet
This type of lawn withstands some light wear but it is better to use paths or paving if you need to cross over it. It needs a sunny place and a well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter. For creating this lawn and giving it an undulating effect use prostrate varieties and clumps of compact, bushy species of heather.

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