Three Steps To… re-wilding part of your lawn

Most environmental experts seem to agree that the easiest thing we can all do to give nature a helping hand is to allow some grass to grow wild. Most gardens have a patch of lawn and grass is easy to grow in a balcony container. With any luck you’ll discover a whole range of plants you didn’t know you had, just lurking in your grass, waiting to grow. You’ll probably get flowers and they’ll bring more bees and butterflies to your garden. Here’s the step by step method we’ve followed, with varying degrees of success – have fun finding out what works for you.

If you have any ideas, information and images for a ‘Three Steps To…’ guide, please send them using our email or contact page.

Step One

First, have a think about how much grass you would like to surrender to wildlife. You might well love your perfectly green lawn and prefer to keep it short – so just give up a small part of it. How about a corner or a circle – perhaps around a tree? Another possibility is to leave a strip of lawn by a wall or fence to grow and mow the rest. Alternatively, go large and let the whole lot grow free!

A corner runs wild!
Why not allow a corner to run wild?

Step two

Here’s the only bit of work involved – give your lawn a good mowing. We usually mow the bit we’re leaving wild in late September and leave it at that for a year but you can do it at any time. A good mow leaves plenty of light and space for wildflowers to develop. If you like, mow a path through your wild bit – cut it much shorter so it stands out. This makes the lawn look cared for and can help you with access to other parts of your garden.

Mowed path
Mowing a path through your wild bit allows access to other parts of the garden

Step three

Try not to do much else – difficult, I know… Certainly avoid using any weed-killer – which will wipe out any wildflowers – or fertiliser – which will turn your grass into a jungle. Spend a bit of time looking for flowers and visitors such as bees and hoverflies, moths and grasshoppers. If you want to increase the number of flowers, sow seeds into the lawn after mowing. You can mow your lawn again in September – or sooner if you feel it’s getting too wild, even for a climate warrior like yourself.

Wild cornflowers and poppies
For more wildflowers, sow seeds into the lawn when you mow it.