The Ornamental Lawn
An ornamental lawn, has a close pile and resembles a bowling green. This type has 2 major properties. Firstly it is composed of only fine leaved grasses, bents and fescues, with no broad-leaved grasses such as rye grasses. Secondly it is closely mowed regularly, usually with a cylinder mower. This prevents broader leaved taking hold as they do not tolerate close mowing like fescues and bent grasses.
The ornamental lawn is ideal as a show piece garden feature where it can be admired but rarely walked on. This lawn is a thing of beauty but does come with draw backs and not ideal for the average garden. Here is a list of some of the difficulties
- An ornamental lawn will not stand up to wear and tear such as children, pets or regular foot traffic
- It will need a lot of attention. Regular mowing, fertiliser treatments, raking/scarifying, aeration are all essential
- Ornamental grass seed and turf is more expensive and establishing a lawn from seed takes time as the grass is slow growing
- small bumps in the ground can make the lawn unsightly as it is cut much shorter than a family/utility lawn
Here is a list of grasses you may find in this type of turf: browntop bent, brown bent, creeping bent, velvet bent, chewings fescue, creeping red fescue, sheeps fescue, hard fescue.
The First Rate Lawn
This type is not quite as luxurious as the ornamental one but is more practical for most people and still has a great appearance, containing a mixture of broad-leaved grasses and fine leaved ones like the turf for sale on my Buy Turf page.
The first rate lawn will stand up to children playing games, bikes and regular foot traffic so is suitable for what most families require. The first rate lawn will also withstand a moderate amount of neglect without too many serious problems. Course grasses that would stand out as weeds will be hidden in this type of turf. This type of seed or turf is quick to establish too.
The disadvantages of this type of lawn is that these grasses can grow very quickly through the spring and summer and require regular mowing, but when maintained properly can look great.
This turf often contains rye grasses which have been given a bad name in the past for some reason or another but modern varieties like dwarf perennial rye grasses have a very fine appearance
Here is a list of grasses you may find in a first rate lawn along with the fescues and bents: smooth stalked meadow grass, rough stalked meadow grass, wood meadow grass, annual meadow grass, perennial ryegrass, crested dogs-tail, timothy, lesser timothy
The second rate lawn
The majority of lawns in the UK could be called a second rate lawn, This type may have one or many of these common problems: ant hills, worm casts, bare patches in lawn, brown patches in lawn, moss, weeds, daises, broken edges, clover, weed grasses, thin grass, bumps and hollows, mole hills, lawn pests and water logging. There is still likely to be a reasonable amount of good grasses in there too.
It is often possible to turn this type of lawn round to create a first rate one but first you should identify what factors are causing any of the above problems and establishing the correct cure and also any preventative measures to ensure the problems don’t return.
When creating a lawn it is important to pay attention to preparation of the ground: soil quality, drainage,and a level, lightly compacted surface. Also consider what type of grass seed or turf to use. If you don’t pay particular to these thing you may have some of the above problems start to appear over time,
Neglect is the most common cause of the second rate lawn. irregular or incorrect mowing (cutting too short or in bad weather condition). Failure to feed or water in drought conditions as well as not weeding are also major causes of decline.
Some problems are caused by heavy shade, over hanging trees, pet urine, heavy traffic or waterlogging.
Bringing a tired lawn back to life can sometimes be a lengthy process but a rewarding one. Sometimes it may be a one off treatment, other times it may be a full renovation involving moss/weed treatments, scarification, overseeding and top dressing (see our lawn treatments page for more info). Either way these should be followed by a regular maintenance programme and in time you can have a beautiful lawn.