There are a couple of things that limit the type of lawn that you can use:
- Sun/Shade - Probably the most limiting factor in choosing your lawn. The more light there is - the more choice as to what lawns are available to you. Very few grasses will grow in shade, and if they do, they will need a lot more pampering to keep them looking happy.
- Traffic - Some lawns are hardier than others, and are affected to a huge degree by the type of soil in your garden. If you get a lot of traffic, e.g. pathways or play, then either choose a hardier lawn or use stepping stones.
- Maintenance - How much time have you got to control, pamper or molly-coddle your lawn? Choose a lawn-type that suits your time and energy available for the garden.
- Size - If your garden is quite small you should try to find an alternative to grass - there is nothing worse than pouring all your energy into keeping a little patch happy only to slowly but surely lose the battle to weeds or bare soil.
Do I really need grass?A lawn doesn't have to be grass! In fact maybe gravel, bark chips or paving would be a better solution?
A few years ago, I was called into give some advice for a small townhouse garden that had a real problem with weeds - the grass was battling under the shade of trees from neighbours and regular traffic, but the weeds seemed to be thriving.
We could have fed the soil, and cut back the trees - but that would have been quite costly, and the garden's character was enhanced by the beautiful trees next door. Instead of continuing on with this constant battle I suggested that we go with the flow and plant more of the weeds.
The 'weed' in question was a little groundcover called Dichondra (Wonderlawn) with a small round leaf that stays short and thrives in moist, shady conditions. A few years later, and this townhouse garden still has their beautiful ' lawn' with very little maintenance required.
Take a look at the next post on this topic for the different types of groundcovers available, and their pros and cons.