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garden lawns are bad

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Interesting article.
 

I grew up in the UK where the manicured lawn was thought to be essential in our neighbourhood. My father was away all week and spent all weekend tending to the garden. These were the days when no gardener gave any thought as to which chemicals were used. 
 

Here, we only have a very small lawn which was lovely for my daughter and friends to play on. Even just big enough for a summer Intex pool. A few years ago, we decided to no longer attempt to make the lawn perfect. We sewed clover which is a really nice ground cover and doesn’t need as much water as grass.  Now we leave several islands to flower for insects. Our newly sewn daisies are popular too. We also don’t use a pool anymore to save water. 

 

A few of our neighbours get their lawns completely replaced every 1-2 years! I’m glad though that many German councils have banned stone gardens. 

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I think that sort of article is disingenuous, insofar as it lumps together ideas of replacing lawns with artificial grass alongside using less fertiliser/irrigation. To my mind, there are two points: whether households maintain "green" outside space (yes), and whether we should use lots of water and chemicals to maintain manicured grass lawns (no).

 

Here in the glorious Eifel, the days of highly-manicured lawns should be numbered. Even though not too many people seem to use fertiliser on gardens, the summers are just too dry...or (to misquote from Network Rail) we get the "wrong sort" of rain: nothing for months and then enough to flood entire valleys in one day.

 

If folk want to get rid of grass, or where the grass would die without watering/fertilisers, the option shouldn't be to roll out plastic grass-substitutes, but to look for hardier alternatives (I like @emkay's  suggestion of clover) and let areas go wilder (great for birds and insects).

 

We've got an area towards the bottom of the garden which is nominally "grass" insofar as it's where my kids and their friends play football/rugby etc, but I don't water it or use any particular chemicals. Each spring I throw some new grass seed in the patchier areas (on days when I know rain is due), and it seems to work well enough.

 

I've also started setting the blades higher on the mower too.

 

 

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I would say that actually hardly anyone I see in my area is really into gardening, except perhaps myself which does seem to have inspired one neighbour, although it might have been something to do with saying the fruits at the supermarket sucked in comparison to what you can grow, and then demonstrating. I would say I devote a good section of the garden to fruits and vegetables. It looked somewhat barren with just this, so eventually I gave in an planted some flowers as well, which I must admit looks much nicer now. All my neighbours have perfect lawns and it must seem like they live next to guy from the good life (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2RPLX9w2d5E&list=PLdN8jG8kL6DiaY5IbuspIJ7yqe5pbljGq).

 

There are fields on two sides and if I don't cut the grass, by summer I can't see over it. I notice my neighbours cut a small pathway just in front of the fence. I guessed I was supposed to do so too. If you don't the grass overtakes everything and moves into the garden, where as on the section I cut, we get dandy lions, daisy's and so on. Thus I think the diversity helps. I would not like to walk actually through that long grass, as I am guessing there are snakes and other not so nice things living there once it's overgrown. I would also say, in the hot summers, it's quite a fire risk.

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Not lawn related though does anyone have any suggestions for garage roof planting? We have a not much liked corrugated metal roofed garage with a slight incline towards a drain. Seems a lot of space that could be used for Insect loving plants. I’ve seen some systems online though they are very expensive.   

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3 minutes ago, emkay said:

Not lawn related though does anyone have any suggestions for garage roof planting? We have a not much liked corrugated metal roofed garage with a slight incline towards a drain. Seems a lot of space that could be used for Insect loving plants. I’ve seen some systems online though they are very expensive.   

 

Can you walk on the garage roof or is it really just corrugated metal? If the later, then I would be surprised if making a garden there would work. Likely the metal will rust through or collapse under the weight. 

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@scook17, since we let wildflowers prosper in our garden, we’ve learned that there are some varieties that are not native and should be removed before they become invasive. We had a problem before with a riverside type plant. I can’t recall what it’s called…thick stems, up to 4-5ft tall, pale pink flowers. Very pretty though the seeds explode everywhere. Thankfully the root system is very shallow and easy to remove. Others no so….knot weed destroyed my garden once in the UK.

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4 minutes ago, scook17 said:

 

Can you walk on the garage roof or is it really just corrugated metal? If the later, then I would be surprised if making a garden there would work. Likely the metal will rust through or collapse under the weight. 

Good point….maybe not viable then. I was just thinking of maybe a minimal level of earth and ground covering type flowering plants.  Maybe we’ll experiment with a small section towards the end near the drain. I wasn’t thinking of putting the earth on the metal, maybe some kind of container with drainage…..

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My "lawn".  Cut longer bits maybe twice.  With shears.  Have to pull up some invasive stuff.  Have a lovely small clover, but a huge red clover has appeared, that I control, buy pulling up.  The forget me nots are because 15 years ago my daugher found the packet and sprinkled them.  Not used fertilser for years. Mini clover works well, and stays green in the hight of summer.  I love it when the baby birds hide in it this time of year.   Not sure what my neighbours think,  

 

Photo not working, will try later.

 

 

 

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15 minutes ago, snowingagain said:

My "lawn".  Cut longer bits maybe twice.  With shears.  Have to pull up some invasive stuff.  Have a lovely small clover, but a huge red clover has appeared, that I control, buy pulling up.  The forget me nots are because 15 years ago my daugher found the packet and sprinkled them.  Not used fertilser for years. Mini clover works well, and stays green in the hight of summer.  I love it when the baby birds hide in it this time of year.   Not sure what my neighbours think,  

 

Photo not working, will try later.

 

Is red clover a problem? We haven’t had any so far.  I love that forget me nots spread so well. We’ve lots at the moment.  Mini clover is really great ground cover.  Leaving some areas to flower in rotation is great for insects. 

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3 minutes ago, emkay said:

Is red clover a problem? We haven’t had any so far.  I love that forget me nots spread so well. We’ve lots at the moment.  Mini clover is really great ground cover.  Leaving some areas to flower in rotation is great for insects. 

Red clover is huge, and though a good plant, nitrogen wise, tends to be a bit crazy.  Smaller white clover is lovely.  And forget me nots are not a problem.  If you do not like then, they are easy to pull up. Sad that photo is not working.  Will try again.

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Try Image Size App. Don't forget to reload the posting page before trying to add the photo if the previous one was too big.🙂

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My lawn has rather suffered from moles over the quiet winter period, and I partially need to re-seed where the molehills were,

Around the edges of my lawn I have areas where there are lots of spring bulbs planted, so we have daffodils and tulips that just pop up and say "hello" in the spring, along with snowdrops, of course.

If you are not too bothered to have a "perfect" lawn, plant out any old primulas that you have had in the house, or outside in pots, around the lawn for a bit of colour in the springtime - the rest of the year you don´t even know that they are there, but come spring, they just pop up and add a bit of colour!

 

As Em said, clover is a good evergreen cover, and can also be used just to replace damaged areas of grass. We actually have this on the front lawn, and it´s just always green and tidy-looking. The one thing I did notice when Shorty was little, was that it tended to attract bees - great for nature-lovers, but a damned nuisance when a child treads on one!

 

Regarding the article linked to this thread, I don´t consider it to be a thoughtless act, having a lawn - I live in a house, on a piece of land for which one cannot even get permission to build a new garden shed on.

We have fields on three sides of our house, I never water the lawn, and the only fertilizer that the grass gets is used coffee grounds, which I one read are good for it!

We grow fruit and veg in the garden - plums, raspberries, blackberries , red and black currants, plus potatoes, beans, broccoli, carrots, salad and tomatoes. I don´t have the time to dig over the whole of the garden, so we have made it into a pleasant place to be when trying to relax and calm down from life in general.

 

Nothing to do with the thread topic, but we had a fox in the garden at 5.45 this morning - it was lovely to watch!

 

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34 minutes ago, snowingagain said:

lawn2.JPG

I love to watch such kind of wild garden. But I can't have one .  I'm scared of it, due to a snake bite from our veg garden during my childhood. 

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2 hours ago, emkay said:

We have a not much liked corrugated metal roofed garage with a slight incline towards a drain

Given it isn't strong enough for planting on the roof, could you attach some trellises to sides of the garage and let plants climb up and cover the roof? If it's in the sun, some grapes could be good.

Alternatively, you could plant some willow either side, and let it arch over the roof. 

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2 hours ago, snowingagain said:

lawn2.JPG

Your garden looks so lovely. No flat green bit in the middle necessary.  
 

We love our new found garden mini wilderness, so many more birds and insects around. All welcome, even the slightly scary ones! We once had a snake too. There I was early morning in my dressing gown dead heading some flowers and discovered a fairly large grass snake napping in a plant pot, intertwined with a climbing plant. After my initial terror having never seen a snake in the wild, it was fascinating to watch for a few hours. 

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5 hours ago, emkay said:

We have a not much liked corrugated metal roofed garage with a slight incline towards a drain. Seems a lot of space that could be used for Insect loving plants. I’ve seen some systems online though they are very expensive.   

 

I'm in an urban gardening group, and we used the roof surface of a shed, too.

We put a heavy tarp ("Teichfolie") on the roof to protect it from damp, then put on the soil and grew a bunch of tasty arugula on it. Low cost solution. :)

 

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Be sure to wrap the Teichfolie/tarp around the edges of the metal roof to protect those, too! A bit of silicone where the roof connects to the drain might be a good idea, too.

Teichfolie is UV resistant because it's used for outdoor ponds. Available in every Baumarkt/large hardware store.

 

(edit: J2, please don't give me likes. I don't want them from you.)

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