The Great British Lawn - and What’s Wrong with It.
We Brits have an obsession with the perfect lawn.
The History of the British Lawn
One could say we have come by our love for a lawn honestly, as people have aspired to have their lawn admired since the 18th century .
This was because at that time, a well-trimmed and luscious lawn were all the rage and accessible only to the wealthiest
English garden design at that time was decidedly pastoral (think Capability Brown), plus farming estates were some of the main income of the Upper Class.
Wealthy landowner's homes would be surrounded by fields of grass. Away from properties, fields were kept under control by sheep, deer and other grass grazers. Closer to the house A Ha ha was built. This is a very cleverly designed natural fence to prevent livestock from getting too close to the ancestral home.
A ditch was dug and a steep, sloped wall was put in to stop access, all the while being invisible from the house and across the rolling lands. To learn more HaHa's check out this link https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/features/what-is-a-ha-ha
Ha ha’s were constructed to keep the livestock from coming too close to the house, which is fantastic if you don’t want to share your afternoon tea with your herd, but not so great when it came to maintaining the lawns around the house.
The grazers had to be replaced with highly skilled men and their scythe's and this was only possible if one had a considerable amount of money as the process was very time consuming.
It was not until the 19th century that machinery began to play a part. The introduction of lawnmowers meant that lawns became attainable for more of the population.
It seems as though the aspiration to have a perfect lawn has been with us ever since.
The Changing Opinions on British Lawns
Although lawns are now available to all, they remain tricky to maintain and the perfect lawn takes money and a lot of work.
Over the last decade, landscape focus has shifted from the manipulated and controlled to the natural and wild, and we now know that lawns have very little to offer apart from satisfying the need for perfection.
From an ecological point of view traditional monoculture lawns are wastelands and they offer little to no support to wildlife.
At Wild Thomas Gardens, we are really invested in enhancing biodiversity to urban spaces, such as our hometown of Teddington and the surrounding city of London.
One of the easiest ways to do this is to let go of our perfect lawns.
So what is the best lawn alternative and why are they so important to use?
Does using a lawn alternative mean that my kids can still have a space to play?
What maintenance is required for lawn alternatives?
If you are not quite ready to turn your lawn completely over to the birds and bees, our go to alternative is to use Wildflower Turfs Species Rich Lawn Turf. This fantastic product is made up of up to 26 different species of plants and provides biodiversity in place of a standard monoculture lawn. It is also drought and shade tolerant which is particularly important as our climate continues to change.
The benefits of Bio-diverse Lawns and why its a good idea to make the switch.
Using a biodiverse lawn replacement in your garden comes packed with benefits :
It provides a diverse habitat and food sources for beneficial creatures as opposed to a monoculture lawn. Which makes it a winner for No Mow May
Wildflowers actively contribute to removing PM10’s and PM2.5 particles from the atmosphere. These 2 PM’s are particularly dense in cities and urban areas such as London, as car exhaust fumes are one of the main producers.
Species rich lawns are easy to maintain. With a maximum growth height of 10cm, some areas can be left to flower creating. beautiful daisy filled lawn, whilst others can be down to 3cm creating a more traditional lawn surface. No specialist equipment is needed and the lawn can be maintained with a lawnmower.
They are hardwearing and perfect for areas with high volumes of traffic, be that a well trodden path to the back of the garden for a bit of escapism or if your garden doubles as a football pitch. Whatever the traffic a species rich lawn can handle it.
The best bit......The turf is shade and drought tolerant which makes it a great investment.
If you would like to find out more about this amazing product visit https://wildflowerturf.co.uk/products/wildflower-turf/species-rich/
How Wild Thomas Gardens Can Help?
If you would like to add a touch of biodiversity to your garden, and are interested in a better solution for your lawn, then get in touch today.
Whether for advice or for a quote, we would love to hear from you.
Until then, happy gardening!
Jake and Karen.