Many people have a lawn in the front of their house. It makes the home look better, more attractive and inviting. The backyard is also a favorite place for a lawn so it can serve as a play area for the kids, an outdoor room for get togethers with family and friends, or as part of a garden. Side yards sometimes have lawns but unless there is more there than lawn, there is little point in locating one there. No matter where you locate a lawn there are several things you can do to make it more enjoyable and less burdensome.
Here are some points to consider when laying out your lawn.
Slope: Avoid a steep slope. Grass on a steep slope is difficult to both mow and water. Use a ground cover there instead.
Access: If you have lawn in various parts of your property be sure that you have paths that are sufficient wide to move the mower from one lawn to the other.
Foot Traffic: Although grass is a very resilient ground cover, it will not take heavy foot traffic or wear so plan the lawn to avoid heavy use or incorporate a paved path or walkway into the lawn. For example, never have steps exit on to lawn without a path; the focused foot traffic will cause compaction of the soil and the lawn will quickly show signs of ware.
Use: A lawn for entertainment or play should be adjacent to the house for easy access but a lawn used for privacy and solitary pursuits should be located away from the house or other areas where people congregate.
Location of Trees: Grass needs light, water, and nutrients to grow well and so do trees. Usually the trees win and get what they need at the expense of the grass. There are some places under trees that may demand grass but be prepared to give them special care including yearly reseeding.
Water: Grass needs water especially in times of drought. Unless you have installed an irrigation system, lawns need to be located so that they are near a source of water so you can hook up a hose and give the lawn a dowsing. Even if you have an irrigation system you might consider the hose location as water restrictions are often enacted when lawns need water most leaving no alternative but hand watering with a hose.
Edge: Installing a cement, brick, or wood mowing strip several inches wide around the lawn can make mowing easier and reduce trimming. The mowing strip allows you to run the wheels of one side of the lawn mower so that the grass next to the edge is cut as you mow. The edge helps contain the grass on one side and potential weeds on the other but it is expensive and time consuming to install. Alternatively, a metal edging can be installed that will help you contain the grass and obtain a clean looking edge but will require hand trimming after mowing since the wheels of the mower can not ride on top of it.
Shape: Lawns don’t have to be rectangular. They can be any shape and size including circular, to kidney-shaped, an undulating swath or irregular. Since most yards are rectangular a rectangular bed will only emphasize its confines while other shapes will soften the edges and create a more pleasing effect. Avoid awkwardly shaped and narrow grass such as between the sidewalk and the curb as they are difficult to mow and water.
Once you have decided on the general characteristics of your lawn area lay out your property on paper. Measure up the various areas on your property such as house, driveway, and garden space, and then plot them to scale on graph paper. Use a soft pencil so you can change the shapes of gardens and lawn as you get ideas. The drawing doesn’t have to be precise to help you develop a scheme for the whole property.