As history would have it, our fascination with impressively green, sprawling lawns is largely a by-product of some successful social engineering, where proud homeowners were made to value keeping their lawn well-manicured and immaculate as opposed to using the space that lawn takes up to grow their own produce. That said, however, there’s no disputing how great a well-maintained lawn looks like part of a domestic garden. If you add in some teak patio furniture and a good water feature you will have a very sophisticated outdoor space.
Depending on how you look at it, it’s perhaps fortunate that we appear to have moved on from the days when you could enter your lawn into a local lawn competition, as life conspires to develop in a way that caters more to functionality than appearance. As great as a lawn can look, it does indeed take a colossal effort to keep it looking in top shape. And with our bitingly cold winters in this part of the world, it’s pretty much a seasonal affair as far as lawns go.
Everybody knows all too well that you’ve perhaps applied some rather tacky-looking grass paint if your lawn is bright green in the colder months.
So, in light of what should be a more discerning approach to garden design, what are some alternatives to a traditional lawn that will reflect well on your teak patio furniture?
A clayey soil will probably do just as well, but the idea is to have soil in place of what would otherwise be some high maintenance grass. Sandy or clayey soil as the dominant element of a sans-grass garden discourages the growth and spread of weeds, but that also means you’d need specialised plants to grow if you do indeed want a garden populated with some nice flowers and the likes.
Aim for a very light reddish-brown colour as this makes for a great base against which to contrast your greenery.
Gravel is another great alternative to a lawn, providing something different if you don’t want to deal with what can be that “naked” feeling that comes with replacing grass with soil.
You might feel as if you’re wasting the nutritional value of your backyard garden’s soil if you pave the entire area, but a considerable portion can definitely be paved as an alternative to a lawn.
If cement induced a bit too much of an industrial feel, wooden decking can be used instead. Along with a cement porch or paving, a wooden deck makes for a great alternative to a garden lawn, extensible in its functionality through the housing of some great teak patio furniture pieces.
One water feature is often enough to offset any feeling that there could have been a lawn in your garden, so something like a pond would do well to make for a focal point of your garden.
Nothing beats trees as an alternative to a lawn, but that doesn’t mean you have to cover every single square inch with a tree and grow something like a forest. The bigger the trees the better, with the trick to it just ensuring that the ground around those trees is kept clean. Try and have at least one large tree in your garden or mökkilaina, preferably with two or three. It will provide your garden with so much character and be the focal point of your garden. When it comes to water features, trees and sun, nothing beats nature elements. It’s the great outdoors, after all.