THE MODERN MINT BLOG
The most important lawncare question…
…is what do you want your lawn to do?
If you want a fine, green, healthy, thick, lush, short sward that is moss free, your children can play football on when it rains, cricket on when it is bone dry, the dog can urinate all over and can take a marquee stuck on top of it for a week… then you will need to invest a lot of resources to make that happen.
But if you want a hard-wearing lawn that looks good – that is possible, and can be achieved with a few simple treatments and a recommended cutting height, with sharp mower blades, at regular intervals through the year.
Let’s be clear – a lawn is a big, dull monoculture that requires labour intensive work. It is not our idea of a modern garden feature for a modern lifestyle. But we have found most people insist on one, no matter the cost. (Click on the ads on this page to discover what you can buy for your lawn!)
Is this due to a lack of alternatives?
The chamomile lawn is muted as an option (still needs weeding) or matting with gravel on top (not good for the soil below.) Artificial lawn, moss and sedum lack a certain romance. Some have begun sowing meadows (the most important meadow question? What do you want your meadow to look like? Simple, modern gardening always seems to start with a riff on this question…) which we love, but it requires a lot of thought in the setting up and establishing of. If you don’t have the patience or the long term vision, then a meadow may not be the option for you.
We would like to propose one other option though. Have a lawn. Don’t deny yourself the pleasure. But if you have a lawn, do it properly. Have the ‘lawniest of lawns’ – the lushest, most verdant, well shaped and striped lawn you can achieve – take your lawn to the max and don’t apologise for doing so.
But don’t make it too big. Make it… just big enough, that it gives you that pleasant, restful sense that a large canvas of green gives. Then around it, using the remaining space that was previously just more lawn, put in ornamental grasses. Satiate the area with their dancing flowerheads.
The contrast between the mown lawn and the ornamental grass will look magnificent. The longer, undisturbed grass is a haven for wildlife. The work required to maintain it? Minimal. You get your fine lawn (the finest lawn!) and save yourself the hassle of mowing, strimming, edging and tidying every week. A bold move, but we think a fine one.
Take a look at this pool lawn designed by Tom Stuart Smith. It is the first and ninth picture of the Cheshire garden photos. It’s a great take on a pool garden lawn and really makes us laugh. Would you be brave enough to go for something like this?
If you live in Essex or the surrounding regions and want to improve your lawn, or do something great like sow a meadow, Modern Mint can provide you with a simple, good value programme.
But before you call us, have a think about what it is you want from your lawn. It is, after all, the most important question.
(And you can have your questions answered here – the simplest lawncare book… it’s a must-have if you insist on a perfect lawn…!)
Guanock House needs a trainee topiary artist! Some of you may know it as the first home and garden of designer Arne Maynard, but is now owned and maintained by Michael Coleman and his wife Michelle. They offer meditation workshops and retreats there and it is as beautiful a house and garden as you could wish to visit. They called me in last Autumn to help shape up some of the topiary as it was all getting out of hand, but what it really needs is someone with a steady hand and lots of patience to take over the clipping …
Here are some photos of work I have been doing at the garden of Charlotte Molesworth in Kent. Snow and ice brings out the depth of the different planes and angles carved into the boxwood. A garden has to look beautiful in winter – and topiary (green architecture) helps do that! For more topiary pictures, click here.
How To Use Topiary In The Garden is my new talk, which I first gave last year via Zoom for the European Boxwood And Topiary Society. Returning to Zoom again, there are two dates available to see and hear the talk: March 16th – Book your ticket here April 6th – Book your ticket here The talk is great fun, perfect for keen gardeners or people who want to know how to improve their garden with hedges and architectural plants. How To Use Topiary In The Garden looks at how to move away from the idea topiary is twee or old-fashioned, …