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Convert border to grass

Hi all,

I have a border which is too large to maintain, and want to grass it over.  The trees will remain, and I am uprooting all shrubs.  However, I'm a bit unsure what to do with the perennials.

There's a lot of herbaceous planting with perennating organs e.g. bulbs (Narcissus), tubers (Hemerocallis), rhizomes (Symphytum), corms (Crocosmia).

To save a lot of work, would it be OK to just strim the top growth, rotovate the soil, and then sow grass seed?  If any subsequent top growth from surviving bulbs, tubers etc. is mowed along with the grass, will these eventually die off?  ...or am I asking for trouble with this strategy?

If anyone has experience of trying similar, I'd be grateful to hear your thoughts!

Many thanks in advance.


  • Simone_in_WiltshireSimone_in_Wiltshire WiltshirePosts: 557
    @johnterry If possible, I would recommend to wait until spring when all the bulbs come out and dig them out. 
    I took out my crocosmia last week. It’s much easier to spot. 

    I my garden.

  • AnniDAnniD South West UKPosts: 11,011
    Personally l would try digging out as many perennial plants as you can before you start preparing for seed/turf.
      I have reduced the size of one of my borders and replaced it with grass this year., my OH did all the levelling etc as he has a far better eye for it than l do.

    There are a few bits of hardy geraniums peeking through but these will die off eventually with repeated mowing in my experience.  I just think it's easier if you get rid of as much as you possibly can before starting with the grass. If you are planning on using a rotavator, that may bring up a fair lot of root, but unless you're talking about a massive area, l'd start with the fork method.
    I can post a few photos , but that may not be until tomorrow.  :)  

  • GardenerSuzeGardenerSuze I garden in South Notts on an improved clay soil Posts: 3,114
    You will need time to let things settle before you do the lawn as the soil will drop.

    The most serious gardening I do would seem very strange to an onlooker,for it involves hours of walking round in circles,apparently doing nothing. Helen Dillon.
  • bédébédé Surrey Hills, acid greensand.Posts: 1,366
    edited November 2022
    Why not dig out the herbaceous perennials and leave the bulbs?   Lightly rake level and sew grass seed either soon or in the spring.

    You will get a show in spring.  Start cutting the grass after the bulbs' leaves have matured.  RHS trials with naturalised daffodils found that 6 weeks after first flowering was a good compromise.  Some plants will not survive, others will; keep these.  You will get some flowers but no more maintenance than plain grass.
    "Have nothing in your garden that you don't know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful."
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