Maintaining a lush, green lawn is a goal for many homeowners. However, traditional lawn care practices often rely heavily on water, chemical fertilisers, and pesticides, which can have negative impacts on the environment. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to make your lawn more sustainable. By adopting eco-friendly practices, you can have a beautiful lawn while minimizing your environmental footprint. Let's explore some tips for creating a sustainable lawn:

Choose Native Grasses

Tall ornamental grasses including pampas grass in a garden borderOne of the most effective ways to create a sustainable lawn is to choose grass varieties that are native to your region. Native grasses are adapted to the local climate and require less water, fertilizer, and maintenance compared to non-native species. They are also more resistant to pests and diseases, reducing the need for chemical treatments.

Clover Lawn

Or give grass a miss and lay a clover lawn instead.  Clover requires less tending than grass and provides plentiful food for pollinators. It also requires little to no fertiliser and is completely drought resistant. If you are looking for a steppign stone away from grass then some microclovers have been specifically chosen to mix with grass for a mixed clover/grass lawn. 

Using chamomile instead of grass is also and option in sunny areas where foot traffic is light or mower access is difficult.  You might want to look at Treneague Lawn cahmomile (Chamaemelum nobile) is an interesting alternative to grass.

Practice Proper Mowing

Adjusting your mowing practices can make a significant difference in the health and sustainability of your lawn. Follow these guidelines:
  • Set your mower blades to a higher height. Longer grass shades the soil, reducing evaporation and weed growth.
  • Never remove more than one-third of the grass blade length at a time to avoid stressing the grass.
  • Leave grass clippings on the lawn instead of bagging them. They act as a natural fertiliser, returning nutrients to the soil.

Water Efficiently

Garden sprinkler watering a lawnWatering is a crucial aspect of lawn care, but it's important to do it wisely to conserve water. Follow these tips:
  • Water deeply and infrequently. Give your lawn a good soak once a week rather than shallow, frequent watering, which encourages shallow root growth.
  • Water in the early morning to minimize water loss from evaporation.
  • Consider using a water butt to collect rainwater for watering your lawn during dry periods.
  • Install a smart irrigation system that adjusts watering schedules based on weather conditions and soil moisture levels.

Use Natural Fertilisers

Avoid synthetic chemical fertilisers and opt for organic alternatives. Organic fertilisers, such as compost or manure enrich the soil with nutrients and improve its water-holding capacity. They also promote the growth of beneficial microorganisms in the soil, which contribute to overall lawn health.

Should I just lay Artificial Grass?

roll of artificial grass turf being laid in a gardenThere are several reasons not to resort to fake grass.
It doesn't provide food for living creatures in the way a real lawn would.  Instead, it creates and impenetrable barrier. This means natural materials like leaf litter and grass clippings can't be drawn down into the soil by earth worms to provide food for micro-organisms that live in the soil.  This will ultimately damage the soil structure.  
On a practical level, artificial grass reaches much greater temperatures than natural grass - making them unusable on hot summer days.
And lastly, it absorbs more radiation than living grass and also offers nothing in terms of removing carbon dioxide through photosynthesis which a real plants would do.
Better to water a real lawn than lay a fake one!
Creating a sustainable lawn involves making conscious choices to minimise water consumption, reduce chemical usage, and support natural processes. By choosing native grasses, adjusting mowing practices, watering efficiently and using natural fertilisers you can have a beautiful, eco-friendly lawn. We hope this helps you move toward a greener, healthier lawns while preserving our planet for future generations.
Sarah Talbot