This fabulous photo of a Burle-Marx-inspired grass surface on the Landscape Architects Network facebook page reminded me that I have been meaning to write a blog about the importance of grass, in its various forms, in the large rural gardens which make up the bulk of my garden design portfolio.
The call comes in from the client who has recently moved into a steading development or a renovated farm cottage and who feels as if they are living ‘in a field’. Which, of course, they are!
A simple first step in creating a more comfortable-feeling outdoor space is often to only mow the grass areas close to the house, leaving the peripheral areas to grow long. This can help to blur the boundaries of the plot, and to carry the eye past the fence line into the landscape beyond, as seen here in a rural garden in Fife.
This simple technique can be used as a design tool – experimenting with close mown shapes and sizes can provide valuable information about how the clients want to use their large outdoor space.
Mown grass paths work well in both gardens and woodland areas, as seen here at Jupiter Artland near Edinburgh.
Mown grass strips are often used in large gardens to create neat verges alongside tracks or paths, or to form informal seating areas or focal points in areas of long grass.
Here at Broadwoodside Garden, in East Lothian, mown grass has been used to create a strong line of symmetry through a paddock of long grass, enhanced by a circle of trees surrounding a scultpural focal point. http://broadwoodside.co.uk
The beauty of mown grass paths is they their course can be changed from year to year to create new shapes and ground features. Designing by mower, as one of my clients calls it.
Good examples of grass-covered landforms can be found in the work of Charles Jencks in his Garden of Cosmic Speculation in Dumfries, Scotland
and also at Jupiter Artland, also in Scotland.
So, glory in the versatility of grass – there is more to it than the crisp-edged,velvety-striped carpet that we so often associate with the term ‘lawn’ (at least, in our dreams!).