Lawns get a bad press, vilified as a monoculture which sucks up time and energy, while acting to bolster (mainly male) vanity.
Nevertheless, the RSPB wants us to preserve our lawns, however small, as their disappearance under decking and landscaping may be a reason for the decline in our small-bird population. The RSPB site offers guidance on lawn care, from planning and creating one to basic and advanced management. Their advice won’t appeal to you if you have aspirations to grow the next venue for Crown Green Bowling, but for anyone who needs an excuse for a scruffy lawn, this is it.
One of the easiest way to make a lawn more friendly to wildlife (and cut down on the work) is “two-thirds cutting”, a mowing pattern which helps prevent build-up of thatch and nutrients, while leaving an annual area of longer grass in which insects can thrive.
And don’t worry about those bare patches (greenkeepers, look away now). These are sometimes caused by cockchafers and cranefly larvae – yummy for birds, who also like to dust bathe on the patches, alongside insects who visit to bask in the sun while small annuals such as plantain get a root hold on the bare soil.
I’m feeling better about my ragged patch already.
For information on where to find the right lawnmower, see Is Your Lawnmower up to the Job?