Give your mower a rest

Mowing your lawn less, and letting parts of it grow long, saves you time and helps give nature a home.

Activity time:
Less than 2 hours
Difficulty level:
Suitable for:
Small garden, Large garden, Medium garden
To help:
Hedgehogs, Frogs, toads & newts, Lizards & snakes, Bees, Creepy crawlies, Dragonflies & damselflies, Bats, Butterflies & moths, Small mammals, Fungi, Birds

Mowing your lawn less, and letting parts of it grow long, saves you time and helps give nature a home.

Create a mini jungle through which beetles and other small creatures can wander and where sparrows and goldfinches may come to feed on the seeds. The grasses will set seed, wildflowers already in your lawn will grab their opportunity to bloom, and the longer stems will create a sheltered microclimate.


You can continue to give the mower a rest into autumn. But cutting it at the end of summer mimics the hay meadows of olden days. 


Why not give your longer lawn a boost with a selection of native wildflowers?


Are you doing this activity as part of your personal plan? Either take a look at your progress or create your own easy-to-follow personal plan to help you give nature a home where you live.


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What you will need

  • A lawn mower 

Native wildlflowers

A collection of native wild flowers, rich in pollen and nectar, creating a valuable food source for bees, butterflies and moths.

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Step by step

  1. Decide which areas you can leave to grow naturally. Some of you may leap at this great excuse to cut down on mowing. For others, you may be nervous about what the neighbours will think. Don't worry  it will still look like you care for your garden!

    Think about areas where you can let the grass take its natural course. Why not create a neatly-edged block of longer grass in the middle of the lawn and continue to mow around it? It can look really smart.

    Long grasses around trees or shrubs can help create a much softer look. 

  2. Create paths that look presentable. The trick is in mowing paths through the longer grass. They can be straight paths in a regular pattern, curving paths, or a mini-maze. Kids will love to run along them. 

    There is extra wildlife incentive for mowing paths – there’s evidence that creatures actually like using the short paths to move through the meadow, darting into the longer grass to get food. 

  3. Create a spring meadow. Leave your areas of long grass until July, and then mow through until the grass stops growing in late autumn.

  4. Create a summer meadow. Mow once in late March or early April and then leave it until September before mowing once or twice in the autumn.

On a warm day in summer, get down at ground level and look closely. See what flowering plants were in your lawn all along but never had the chance to flower, such as daisies, clovers and speedwells.

Tree and rectangle
Island of longer grass

Giving your mower a rest

Give your mower a rest/Switch off/Relax

Play video

In this video clip, we show you the benefits of giving your mower a rest.