Love your lawn – And let the wildlife in!

Are you planning to site your chiminea on the lawn? If so special our chiminea floor protector mat might be a good idea, and many of our chimineas come with a metal stand to keep the grass from getting singed. We also sell chiminea guards to keep sparks from getting where they shouldn’t. But what about the grass side of things? We thought it’d be cool to explore lawns with chim fun in mind.

Get the right lawn seed

If you’re creating a lawned area from scratch and you’re using seed, it’s good to buy the right seed for your soil and the activities your lawn will be used for. Did you know you can get special grass seed for all sorts of conditions? You might want to buy your seed from someone like Boston Seeds, who sell economy grass seed, hard wearing grass, fine grass, seed for play lawns, seed for shady places and putting greens, eco-clover with rye grass, and low maintenance types of seed.

Good quality turf makes such a difference

You can buy cheap turf but it usually looks cheap, all thin and patchy, and the rolls are likely to split and crumble. It is best fresh, which means it should smell good and earthy, an unmistakeably hearty smell. If it smells mouldy or sour, it is past its best. If the turf is looking weak, handle it with care so you don’t tear it and make it even weaker. If the turf is yellowy-green, step away. Yellowy-brown is even worse. If it’s yellow and smelly, it’s in very bad shape. You want good, green turf.

Buying turf online is trickier because you can’t actually examine it, so ask around for a word-of-mouth recommendation. It’s important to make sure the website you want to buy from contains some positive customer feedback. Always read the terms and conditions. And bear in mind that buying from people who actually grow the turf themselves might be your best bet.

Why not add wildflowers?

Insects are at the bottom of the food chain. So if you can encourage them in you’ll also get birds and small mammals. And that means you create a home for wildlife that is otherwise being squeezed out of the landscape at every turn. These days urban and suburban gardens are a vital refuge for creatures that have no other place to go, thanks to intensive farming, building and other human activities.

Lawns look good, but they’re actually wildlife deserts. No weeds, no flowers, just bare grass. You can add wildflowers by sowing specialist seed, your best bet for success; wildflower seeds for chalk and limestone, clay soils, deeply-shaded areas, water edges and wetlands, plus wild bird collections, butterfly and bee-specific collections. There’s an amazing choice, and even a tiny patch will attract a surprising number of insects.

Wildflower turf is another way, and it delivers faster and often more reliable results. Simply cut out a chunk of ordinary lawn, cut a shaped piece of wildflower turf to fit, lay it, and wait for the flowers to bloom.

Neat as a pin or a bit wild?

Some people’s lawns are painfully neat, with razor-sharp edges and evenly-mowed stripes. If that’s what floats your boat, fine. But that type of lawn is a lot less wildlife friendly than scruffier lawns whose owners let them do their own thing. And keeping your lawn looking like something from a stately home could drive you to the edge of madness – perfection is a strict taskmaster!

In the opinion of the conservation-minded, there’s no such things as a weed. To see what they mean, grab a magnifying glass and head outdoors. Weeds have flowers. OK, so they’re often tiny and not very showy or bright, but insects love them. They often have beautiful foliage too, so chuck out the weedkiller and fall in love with weeds. Let them take over your lawn and you’ll have a much more resilient space, a lawn that handles extremes like heat and mud much better than grass alone.

The best lawn maintenance secret of all? The more you mow your weedy lawn, the smaller the weeds will become, in protest, and the more they’ll blend in. Daisies, buttercups, docks, clover, trefoil, vetch, they’ll all miniaturise and become an integral part of your stunningly green, healthy lawn, wildlife friendly and lush.

Let your lawn go the hippy route

longer grass is better for insects and in hot weather it protects the roots from the harsh sun. Grass grows back whatever’s happened to it. It is remarkably tough and resilient. But mowing it mercilessly until it’s bald means it’ll be more vulnerable to the weather and more likely to look rubbish when it’s either very wet, very dry, very hot or cold.