One topic that always seems to stir hearts is the seemingly low key idea of coming up with an alternative to the lawn. I’m not sure if it’s because it takes aim at the heart of an Aussie icon but it’s a subject that certainly seems to get folk fired up.
If you’ve ever watched an episode of Dry Spell there’s a very good chance there was a discussion about removing or reducing the size of the lawn. This has earned me a reputation of being a lawn hater – ouch! No one wants to be a hater! The fact is I love lawns, but I also love other things that you can use on the floor of the garden – gravels, pebbles, groundcovers such as Thyme and Dichondra, masses native grasses such as Poa and Danthonia, patchworks of pavers and succulents and also decomposed granite (or granitic sand if you’re from Melbourne).
The issue I often find is, lawn is something people are so familiar with that it’s the auto default when considering the garden floor. It’s certainly got plenty of great attributes, its durable (mostly), it’s great for kids, it looks beautiful and green and there’s nothing quite like the smell of a freshly cut lawn, but it is just one option of a range of garden floor alternatives.
Maybe you are one of those people who have laid a new lawn, only to watch it fade to the colour of mud, no match for an army of kids or pets, or perhaps it was way too shady . Maybe you’re one of those people who have gone through this, but undeterred keep trying only for the cycle to repeat itself. This all is too common in small gardens, where the desire for the softness of lawn is too much to resist. This is when you’ve got to let the turf idea go, move on and consider your other garden floor options.
When I design a garden where a lawn is appropriate – i.e there’s plenty of sun, the foot traffic won’t be its undoing and it won’t just become a pet toilet – I make sure it’s got some shape to it, its edges are defined and it becomes an element just as important as any other element within the garden. It’s not just there for the sake of having lawn. To get an idea of what I’m talking about check out the photos of the Suburban garden from Dry Spell series one as well as the shots from the Dry Spell Revisited page and you’ll see the lawn is an amoebic shape defined by curved aluminium edges that contributes significantly to the design as a whole.
There you go, blog number one done, signed and sealed and simply something for you to think about when you’re thinking garden thoughts. Enjoy your Spring!