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Lawn Perimeter Design... Help!

Hi I'm new to this whole gardening thing! We decided to tear out the old lawn and even out the ground a bit. Now it's time to sow lawn seeds and we would appreciate some advice on the design of the boundaries (and probably the rest too! :blush:).

We would like to grow some fruit and veg (courgettes, sweetcorn, tomatoes, strawberries etc), the left bed gets most of the sunlight so probably there? The string line is currently about 1 meter from the fences. Should we run the lawn all the way to back fence or maintain a border?

For reference, the fence panels on the left and back are 1.8 x 1.8m (6x6 ft). We have a couple of small children so the swing is here for the forseeable future. The garden slopes downwards towards the rear at about 5%.

Any help / suggestions would be welcome.


  • Ideally, you want to make sure the grass is easy to cut. Even at the edges.

    If you're happy strimming the edges the mower misses then go right up to the fence. Alternatively, you could install a mowing strip with sleepers or block paving so you can roll your mower right over it.

    Or, you could just have an open border and cut a definitive edge into lawn, if that makes sense.

    Not sure if this article will help or not?

  • TopbirdTopbird Mid SuffolkPosts: 7,592
    From a design point of view I'd be tempted to make the lawn circular, oval or elliptical in shape.

    That way you'll get a nice sized bit of grass which you can take nearly to the fences at the 'sides' 'bottom' and 'top' but with some good deep planting areas in the 'corners'. You could also make the lawn diamond-shaped instead of square if you prefer straight lines - but you'll get a smaller area of grass. 

    Both those options will be quite pleasing to the eye and make the garden seem larger.

    I wouldn't take a lawn right up to a wall or fence - it's a bu$$er to keep the edges tidy. Long handled lawn shears make light work of edging up to a border or you could install a rim of brick-sized paviours just below the level of the grass. You can mow right over the top of them and you'll hardly ever need to edge the lawn. But it's more difficult if you subsequently want to amend the size / shape of the grass area.
    Heaven is ... sitting in the garden with a G&T and a cat while watching the sun go down
  • Thanks for the suggestions. I quite like the idea of a circular / oval lawn. Unfortunately, I'm not very artistic and can't design a shape that fits well with the space we have.

    Working on the swing being fixed in its location, could you please draw a rough boundary for a circular, oval, or sweeping lawn that would create a bit of interest?

  • TopbirdTopbird Mid SuffolkPosts: 7,592
    I would suggest you beg, borrow or steal (well ok - not steal exactly...) enough hosepipe, electrical cable, (rope or combination of all three) to lay on the ground and see which shape is most pleasing for you. Look at it from the ground in both the garden and the house and also from an upstairs window. You'll soon be able to see what does and doesn't work for you. Once you're satisfied with the shape you can use marker paint to mark the soil.

    If the shape turns out to be a near perfect circle, put a stick in the centre and fix a length of rope measured to the radius of the circle - and just walk round marking the perimeter or circumference. If it is to be circle, do make it a perfect one or it will irritate you forever. That said it doesn't have to be a complete circle if (for example) the patio forms a quadrant. Your mind will still see where the circle completes

    If it turns out to be more of an ellipse or oval then use one of the methods outlined in the articles found by Obelixx.

    The shape you end up with might not be a true geometric shape at all, in which case you can just keep tweaking the hosepipes until you get the right layout. 

    The one thing I would recommend is that you stick with the principle of big sweeping curves and arcs. Don't be tempted to have lots of little frilly bits eaten out of the edges. It's more difficult to mow and makes the garden look smaller, fussier and bitty. In a small garden you're much better to start off with lovely clean lines.

    You can always make it frilly at a later date if that's your thing....
    Heaven is ... sitting in the garden with a G&T and a cat while watching the sun go down
  • After contemptating an oval or circular design, my other half isn't convinced it will work with the swing being there.

    Could a sweeping "s" style border on the left and right work? Perhaps bringing the rear boundary forward so that the lawn doesn't include the tree in the middle?
  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 7,723
    All of the trees will be better without grass up to their feet, both because it competes for water and nutrients and because of the risk of damaging the bark when mowing or strimming close to them.
  • TopbirdTopbird Mid SuffolkPosts: 7,592
    edited April 2021
    It's your garden so you must have what you like - not what we like🙂

    For me 2 S-shaped borders plus an extra bit cut into the lawn at the bottom would be a bit fussy in a garden that size but, yes, it would work if that's what you like.

    Try the hosepipe / rope thing - it really will help you to visualise the end result.
    Heaven is ... sitting in the garden with a G&T and a cat while watching the sun go down
  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 7,723
    As you're going for seed, you could sow a slightly bigger area than you think you want, then cut nice neat edges once it's established.
  • LoxleyLoxley NottinghamPosts: 4,978
    A long oval, like this? 
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