Give your mower a rest

Activity time:
1-2 hours
Difficulty level:
Easy
Suitable for:
Small garden, Large garden, Neighbourhood
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.

The grasses will set seed, wildflowers will grab their opportunity to bloom, and the longer stems will create a sheltered microclimate β€“ a mini jungle through which beetles and other small creatures can wander.

 

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. 

 

You'll see all sorts of insects roving through the long grass, pollinators coming to the flowers in the lawn, and hopefully sparrows and goldfinches coming to feed on the seeds.

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What you will need

  • A lawn mower 

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 β€“ 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

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