A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing, and the lawn mower is broken. – James Dent
Spending time relaxing in the garden is glorious, but somehow there never seems to be time to simply sit and enjoy the outside space you have made for yourself. There’s always a long list of jobs to do, and caring for your lawn can be expensive and time consuming. Here are a few suggestions for taking the strain out of mowing, and producing a lawn to be proud of, with time to enjoy it.
Low energy mowing
The Royal Horticultural Society recommends mowing your lawn twice weekly during summer, and once a week during spring and autumn. You could even find yourself mowing during winter if the weather is particularly mild. Save money (and reduce your carbon emissions) by using a manual lawn mower. They’ve come along way than the back breakers our parents pushed around the garden, the new generation of manual lawn mowers are light, compact, and you can accurately control the cutting height; crucial for a healthy lawn. Leave the clippings on the grass as you go, they smell wonderful and provide a great mulch.
Less is more
Setting a higher cutting height means less watering and fertilizing, and less danger of bare patches as the grass is encouraged to grow deep roots. Why not go wild with your lawn and allow a bit of colour and variety to pop up here and there? The picture to the right is of a municipal lawn in Montreal, Canada, where pesticide use for cosmetic use has been banned. The results are pretty, and great for supporting local biodiversity too.
Make your lawn a cup of tea
Try making some organic compost tea to feed your lawn and reduce fertilizer, pesticide and fungicide use. It takes a few days to brew up a batch, but it’s a great way to nourish your whole garden, not just the lawn. Making compost tea requires a bit of investment in equipment (an aquarium pump, tubing, bubblers and a bucket), but once you’ve got started, you won’t need to spend any more money on fertilizing your lawn, and as the use of compost tea make the soil more resistant to pests, you won’t need to use pesticides and fungicides either.
Learn to love moss
Why do we hate moss so much? Every year we pour gallons of chemicals onto our lawns in an attempt to rid ourselves of these fascinating and pretty little plants that require zero maintenance and feel delightfully springy. In the zen gardens of Japan, moss is an important element in creating a calm, meditative space. If your lawn is in a shady spot and is prone to mossy patches, you could just let the moss take over. Encourage the spread of moss by uprooting a small amount, blending it with a little beer, and sprinkling the mixture in the area you want the moss to grow. Moss feels lovely underfoot, and your mowing days will be over.
By making some environmentally friendly choices in the way you care for your lawn, you will be helping to support the local environment, and also saving energy, time and money. And with more time on your hands, you might actually get to enjoy a relaxing afternoon, dozing in a deckchair, enjoying your beautiful, eco friendly lawn.
Nigel Berman is the founder and MD of the award winning Nigel’s Eco Store, providing resourceful, energy saving and eco friendly solutions for the home, garden, work, travel and more. Take a look at our selection of manual lawn mowers: light, compact, no need for petrol and no trailing wires.