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Southeast Gardening: Love a Little Lawn

Brought to you by Lowe's Creative Ideas

In summer my smooth, green lawn is peaceful, a counterpoint to the flowerbeds around it.

purple flowers

Originally our house was surrounded with a large sweep of turf. My dilemma was to create a garden that feels good, like the enclosures of shrubby forts and treehouses in childhood. I scratched my head and doodled on paper before the partitioning began.

Today my garden is actually a group of gardens. The showiest is in front of our porch, a flower garden with a little lawn. Large enough to hold a dining table for a summer supper, my 8 x 20-foot oval lawn is a soft, green rug that balances the chaos of the flowerbeds. Without it the garden would be busy, leaving me feeling restless.

I cherish my little lawn as much as the flowers, and the maintenance is minimal. Maintenance of a lawn, after all, is a balancing act, keeping the grass plants growing vigorously enough to recover from being stepped on, but not so stimulated that they need mowing daily.

  • Weeds are pulled by hand, eliminating the need for controls. Most weeding is done in spring. That’s when the zoysia is still the color of parchment and I can see the weeds.
  • Fertilization is minimal because I do not need to stimulate a lot of growth. Foot traffic is reduced because we walk on the paving that surrounds it.
  • Mowing takes 10 minutes at the most. The brick edging that surrounds the lawn keeps it in bounds, and the mower blades pass over it, eliminating the need for edging except for once or twice a year.

Yes, a lawn looks best when there are few intruders to interrupt the even surface. However I could not resist planting a few crocuses in the lawn. The only price to be paid is the appearance of the green clumps of foliage that follow the flowers.

In early spring crocuses bloom in the lawn. As winter turns into spring I’ll like to have flowers anywhere I can.

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