‘A rose by any other name would smell as sweet’, or so the saying goes. But a grass by any other name may not benefit your garden! There are a number of different types of grass that can be grown in the UK, and each has different qualities and characteristics that can play a vital role in your garden’s purpose. Check out our list of the best grass choices for your garden, whether you host garden dinner parties or are just hoping to keep your grass looking its best after your kids have spent a sunny afternoon playing on it.
A place for your kids to play
Gardens are a great place for children. Studies have shown that children who have access to a garden to play in often perform better in school. Plus, it is a brilliant opportunity for them to learn about nature and the environment. So, if your garden is primarily used as a place for your kids to play out in, you’ll want a hard-wearing turf that can take the pitter-patter of not-so-tiny feet on it.
For this, dwarf ryegrass is the perfect choice. This fine-leaved grass is compact and classed as a ‘hard-wearing’ turf. This is because it grows quickly, and can also regrow rapidly when damaged, so long as it is provided with adequate moisture and fertiliser.
Space for pets
If your pets are your beloved fur-babies, be sure to give them the best grass for under their paws. Unsurprisingly, ryegrass is also a good choice if you have a dog that loves to trample through the garden!
For small animal owners, it is worth considering mixing other grasses into your garden for your pets to graze on. For example, rabbits and guinea pigs love to chew on a range of grasses, including meadow grass. Therefore, look out for lawn grass mixes that include ryegrass and meadow grass for the best of both worlds. However, avoid giving guinea pigs in particular wet grass — damp grass can be a little mouldy, and it isn’t safe for guinea pigs to eat.
If you are planning to let your pets out on the lawn, or in the case of herbivores you will allow them to graze on it, then avoid fertiliser use.
Does your garden have bird feeders in the trees and a pond awaiting frogs? If you’re a wildlife fanatic, then you’ll want to look into smooth-stalked meadow grass. Alternatively, you could go down the route of a wildflower meadow-style garden and forgo traditional lawn grasses entirely for a wildflower mix of crested dog’s-tail and fescue among other meadow flowers, like yellow rattle and cowslip.
Crested dog’s-tail is enjoyed by butterflies and will also stay green through the winter. As for fescue, this is a good choice as it is an attractive grazing option for a lot of native wildlife.
There’re many other ways you can attract wildlife to your home; the RSPB recommends building everything from a ‘Bee B&B’ to creating a mini-pond.
Entertaining or display purposes
Many people take to their garden for entertaining, or indeed, work on it all year round as their pride and joy. For some gardeners, it’s all about the visual appeal of crafting a living piece of art!
If this fits the image of your dream garden, you will want to opt for finer-leaved grasses. These types of lawn grass don’t feature much durability, but without much footfall happening in an ornamental garden, they don’t need to. For this reason, chewings fecue fits into any display garden. This grass is fine-leaved and has a darker shade of green to it than some other turfs. It is also quite tolerant of low temperatures and shade, so it works great for a UK lawn.
Growing vegetables and herbs
Embracing the true meaning of organic, for those of us who are growing our own vegetables and herbs, there’s a fantastic option for your lawn — no lawn at all!
Instead of planting grass or buying turf, why not remove the lawn altogether and convert it into garden beds? They will still look amazing when all your vegetables and herbs are growing, and you will find yourself with more space to tend to more produce. You can use play bark or pathways to tidy up around the edges of your new garden beds too.
How will you be tailoring your lawn and garden this year? If you pick the best grass for the job, you’ll certainly find it a lot easier to care for.