Forum home Garden design

Replacing my small lawn ideas?

robin 435robin 435 Posts: 46
edited October 2018 in Garden design

I'd like to redesign this small strip of grass at the side of my house and would really like some ideas... photos below...

At the moment it is difficult to mow because of several large roots from the tree which are above ground and so I'd like to replace the grass altogether.

Although there is a tree in the middle the ground actually gets quite a lot of sun and is south facing.

I considered replacing the grass with shingle and a weed proof membrane underneath. However it may be difficult to dig around the tree to a sufficient depth for the shingle, which would need to be below the height of the roadside path to prevent it running off.

Perhaps I could create a raised bed using sleepers or concrete edging, to give a level above the height of the tree roots, and then fill that with shingle and plant some bushes.

My other idea was to replace the grass with a few stepping stones and a lawn substitute like Creeping Thyme, which wouldn't need mowing and would give a carpet of tiny flowers for most of the summer. This would be eco friendly too.

Please give me some tips and ideas :-)


  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 8,261
    I am not too sure about the raised bed idea if you incorporated the tree into it, if you raised the soil level around the trunk l don't think lt does the tree any good. (Hopefully l have understood your ideas right, it has been a long day !).
    Hopefully someone will be able to help with some good ideas  :)
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 39,835
    Hi Robin - I take it the piece of ground is actually yours?  :)
    It's going to be tricky to get something established there, because of the tree, as it will cretae a lot of competition for moisture and nutrients, but if you can remove the grass, you could put a very small edge [brick/concrete?] right round the boundary, and use a bark mulch.
    You'd only have a couple of inches depth, and it might be awkward removing the grass around the roots, but a shallow layer of bark around the tree would be fine, and would cause no damage to it. Across the rest of the area you could plant some bulbs, and some evergreen ground cover. A decent group at the end nearest the path, and one at the other end would be quite smart, rather than just plonking in random single plants. You'd need to prep the planting holes well with some nutrition - well rotted manure and compost - and keep plants well watered until established. The bark would then help retain the moisture.
    Assuming there's a fair bit of shade when the tree is in full growth, you'll need to choose appropriate plants for the site. Those for dry shade, unless you get a lot of rainfall. There are plenty of low growing plants which will suit though.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • hogweedhogweed Central ScotlandPosts: 4,025
    The tree looks as though it is already about 12-18 inches above the level of the surrounding grass. Even a little dwarf wall 3-4 bricks high and infilled with compost/gravel/bark (take your pick) isn't going to do it much harm. Plant up as FG suggests. It may not ever be a thing of beauty but at least you won't have to labour trying to cut the grass!
    'Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement' - Helen Keller
  • treehugger80treehugger80 Posts: 1,923
    I second fairy girl, is this land actually yours? as it appears to be a municipal (or council) verge
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 26,292
    If it isn't yours, just leave it alone but maybe surreptitiously give it a drink and some fertiliser now and again to encourage grass growth. 

    If it is yours, be aware that shingle will be seen as an open invitation to passing cats and dogs to poo.   Small grade chipped bark will blow away in strong winds.   Consider slate chippings instead - flatter and sharper than shingle and less blowy.

    FG's suggestion of spring bulbs is good and you could add cyclamen for autumn colour.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Thanks for your comments and helpful ideas, I will be making some alterations in the spring.

    Yes this land definitely belongs to me, it's on my house deeds and I've been mowing it for 33 years, so I thought it was time for a change!

    I just paid a tree surgeon 150 quid to have that tree clipped too, so if it belongs to the council I want my money back lol  ;)
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 39,835
    robin 435 said:

    I just paid a tree surgeon 150 quid to have that tree clipped too, so if it belongs to the council I want my money back lol  ;)
    Just checking Robin - we often get asked a similar question here, as people tend to 'appropriate' bits of land next to their houses  ;)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

Sign In or Register to comment.