We have a big lawn. When we had the garden landscaped that was one of our main criteria – a big lawn for our boys to play on. And that’s exactly what we got. A big expanse of perfect green. It was lovely for about four months.
The boys played on it for a while and then settled into digging for worms and sticking the hosepipe out of different holes in their play structure. Our beautiful lawn lay largely unused. We had the occasional camp out in the summer where we invited our neighbours and their kids to pitch their tents and bar-b-que. And the dogs love to have a mad half hour and run round and round in circles on it. But… other than that it’s an expensive mowing hobby and a huge time-suck.
Yes, it looks nice in the Spring when everything is lush and green. But in the Winter? The words ‘mud and bath’ come to mind.
Over the Christmas break, when I was busy taking stock of my life and making plans to ‘make it better next year,’ I decided that enough was enough. Life is too short to worry about broadleaf weeds and moss! Really it is. I proposed a downsize.
There is part of the lawn that grows without much fuss but then there is another corner of the lawn that simply would not grow. The reason is simple really, it’s right underneath a huge Linden tree, constantly in shade and eternally damp. If I was a blade of grass I would down tools too.
So we (I) hatched a plan to dig up the lawn and turn it into something less boring instead. I came up with a circular seating area design complete with easy chairs and firepit, reached by a gravel pathway. There would be an archway covered in Honeysuckle and some trained fruit trees bounded by a double hedge of Box bushes (this last idea was stolen from a National Trust property I visited once).
In January we set to work. We spent a whole day digging up our garden. It looked horrendous – a bit like it did when we first landscaped the back garden. We had to buy wire fences to keep the dogs out of the building site.
In a few weekends the seating area took shape and soon we were hammering in steel edging and barrowing in truck-loads of gravel. Then came the gate and archway, the chairs, the chiminea, finally the plants (still going on that one) and lights. And now it’s finished!
I’m so pleased with it. But more than that I’m pleased that I had the foresight to see that something was not working and to change it as quickly as possible. Fighting a lawn is unnecessary. I’d much rather have a twinkly night-time chill out area than another patch of green that we can collectively ignore. Any day!
The finished area. Much more useable and prettier too!
The Courts Garden at Holt. Inspiration for my new project. This is what it will look like in about ooh… five years?