Wildflower lawns verses formal lawns

How easy are they?

As a landscape gardener it often puzzles me when people ask for low maintenance gardens, in which they want huge expanses of grass with few beds and borders. It can take some convincing to make them think that actually the reverse would be much less work for them. Or me come to that. Lets think seriously about how much time is spent on keeping a formal lawn looking good. Then think about how much time is spent on a wild flower lawn.

On a formal lawn the grass will require mowing at least once a week during the summer months.  

What about extra lawn care tasks during the Spring and Autumn? 

 

  • Aerating 

  • Scarifying 

  • Top dressing and seasonal

  • Weed and feed routines.

 

 

 

 

This all adds up to many hours of your life spent looking after a formal lawn.

 

And what do you get in return?

Stripes, an endless battle with moss, broadleaved weeds and pests,  an ever increasing burden on your wallet and unnatural levels of fertiliser in the soil.

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Take a deep breath

So lets look at the amount of work required to maintain a wild flower lawn or meadow. 

How often will it require mowing for example? Usually only once or twice a year. This involves a cut, followed by removal of the cut material. This can be done a day or two after mowing to allow seeds to drop back into the soil. 

What seasonal management does it need? See above.

  • No pest or weed control.

  • No additional chemical or granular fertilisers.

  • No aerating.

  • No scarifying.

  • No top dressing. 

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This adds up to a lot less of your time and money being spent on managing the same area of your garden.

And what do you get in return?

A long season of colour. Interest from the variety of flowers. An increase in insect life and other wildlife coming to visit the garden. Less stress. More time to relax. A fatter wallet. Fewer machines cluttering the shed. A more natural healthy soil. Less pollution in the atmosphere. An overwhelming sense of wellbeing and superiority when you sit in your garden listening to the neighbours wrestling with their mowers and strimmers.