A patch of green always adds some beauty to your home. Likewise, the outdoor spaces look lush and welcoming when we have some greenery added to them. But, as many homeowners wonder, is there a difference between a garden and a lawn?
A lawn is usually covered with grass. It is even, soft, can sit in, play, have a picnic, and even for fun sleepovers. On the other hand, a garden has plants of different sizes and could contain flowers, fruits, and vegetables.
Most homeowners like to separate their lawns from their garden spaces. They even have separate zones for their vegetables, fruits, and flowers. A small vegetable garden could yield enough for a family of four. You could plant different types of vegetables, depending on where you live and the season, and you could also have an herb garden within to serve your needs.
On the other hand, a lawn does not produce fruits or vegetables- its purpose is mainly aesthetic- to keep your yard looking good. This is a large plot of land that is planted with grass or clover plants. Lawns grace the front yards of office spaces and homes, owing to the value that they add to the property.
Lawns do not require the constant pruning of gardens, but lawn maintenance involves fortnightly mowing, mulching, and other activities to keep the grass looking green and beautiful. Gardens are more versatile, with the choice of plants that we can use, but that also comes with various requirements- gardening tools, manure, the correct temperatures, pest control, etc.
There are many benefits of having a lawn or a garden in your house. While a lawn can give you a comfortable space to relax in when the weather is good, a garden can give you a hobby that gives you some healthy food.
How do I turn my lawn into a garden?
Many homeowners are looking at ways to convert a part or most of their lawn into a garden, as they could reap more benefits from the land they own. While some opt for tried and tested traditional methods, others look at lawn services to get the work done for a reasonable amount of money, to save themselves the backaches, sunburn, and long waiting periods.
There are many ways in which you can turn your lawn into a garden. It involves a few steps, including removing the grass, making sure it does not grow back, creating planting beds, using compost, and planting when the soil is ready.
Although this sounds easy, this is a long-drawn process. The most crucial factor to consider is that grass is generally something that grows and spreads quickly. Therefore, keeping it under check has to be done with care.
The first step to turning your lawn into a garden is to figure out how much of your lawn will become a garden. It is also imperative that you consider how much space the plants you intend to nurture require and which part of your lawn will turn into your garden space.
Here are a few techniques you can use to convert your lawn into a garden.
Sheet mulch method- This is a method that most homeowners opt for if they have time on their hands. Using a shovel, a hoe, a wheelbarrow, or some heavy-duty equipment, scrape away every bit of grass in your allotted space. You will also need to remove the roots, so it is a good idea to scrape away the first five inches or more of topsoil. Once the grass is removed, cover the area with plastic sheets, paper, or cardboard to prevent further growth. Then, you wait for a few weeks before you can plant the seeds for your garden.
Solarizing- Using the heat of the sun, you can burn out the grass to create space for your lawn. This takes about 6 to 12 weeks. The process is simple- cover the area you want for your garden with thick plastic sheets, seal the edges and allow the sun to burn the grass beneath the plastic. Once this is done, remove the plastic, the dead grass, then till the soil and start your garden. Most homeowners do not remove the grass as it could serve as manure when it decomposes.
Herbicides- Although many gardeners cry in protest about using herbicides, this could help you turn your lawn into a garden if you are in a hurry. The suitable herbicide could also make your plot ready to garden, leaving no trace of any chemical in as little as a few days.
Whichever method you use, remember that you should eradicate the grass. Otherwise, you will have grass growing between your plants, and it becomes difficult to pull it out without hurting the saplings. Also, although grass looks terrific on a lawn, it could make your garden look unkempt.
What do you do with your lawn when you start a garden?
As we mentioned earlier, the question you have to deal with first is whether you will change the whole lawn into a garden or if a portion of it is to be converted. The future course of action depends largely on how much of your lawn is becoming a garden.
The grass removed to make space for your garden can be decomposed to produce mulch for your newly planted garden. If a large area of your lawn has been converted into a garden, the remaining portion can serve as a recreational space or even as the boundary to your garden, adding to its aesthetic value.
If you have planned this well, your lawn and garden will complement each other, adding to the aesthetic and thus the resale value of your house. Some homeowners like to grow a garden as a hedge to the lawn to prevent burrowing animals from wreaking havoc on the turf, while others want to have designated spaces for the garden and the lawn.
While the lawn requires regular maintenance, all the mowing can prove to be a blessing to a gardener. While the mulch serves to add nutrients to the soil and make the grass grow greener, you could also use it to enhance the nutrient value of your garden.
How long does it take to turn a lawn into a garden?
After you have designated the plots, you will use for your garden, or if you have decided to convert your lawn into a garden, the waiting begins. Since grass does not stop overgrowing, converting a lawn into a garden is a long process and takes a few weeks.
Unless you are willing to get on your hands and knees and pull out every bit of grass in your yard, the process of killing all the grass could take anywhere between six to twelve weeks. This depends mainly on the method you use; if you use herbicides, the time taken is less than a week.
There are various methods to turn a lawn into a garden, as we discussed previously. If you plan to remove the sod by hand, you are in for a rough but gratifying time. Using your hands (and your back because of all the bending you do), a hoe, a shovel, a pitchfork, or other equipment, pull out the grass by the roots.
Then, wait for nature to work its magic. The grass dries, decomposes, and you have nutrient-rich soil that has also been aerated, ready, and waiting for your new plants. This is a quicker way than solarizing or smothering the lawn.
Both solarizing and smothering the lawn take a long time, sometimes as much as six months! Solarizing is the process by which you cover the grass with transparent plastic and wait for the sun to burn it down, while smothering also requires you to cover the grass with paper or cardboard to prevent any growth.
Though both these processes are kinder to your body and do not require the countless hours of bending and hard work that sod bursting does, these take a good 12 to 36 weeks.
Is it worth it to convert a lawn to a garden?
A lawn and a garden serve different purposes. While both can be soothing and provide some respite from the concrete and glass visible everywhere, each requires a certain amount of time and care.
Yes, converting a lawn to a garden is worth it if you have a clear picture of why you are doing so. A garden could prove less expensive to maintain and provide you with a hobby. It could also add color to your yard, with lovely flowers and fragrances. Gardens also yield edible produce, such as fruits, herbs, and vegetables.
Despite the long-drawn process of converting the lawn into a garden, you could consider the following to aid you in your decision.
- A garden provides variety, with plants of different sizes and shapes.
- Unlike grass, most plants do not require constant pruning, watering and can thrive in varying temperatures.
- You do not need to invest in expensive equipment- simple tools will help keep your garden thriving.
- Flowers, fruits, and vegetables can add to the look of your garden.
- You can have a hobby while enjoying the outdoors and not sit around on a couch.
- You can also enjoy reduced lawn care chores.
- Non-native plants could die out soon if they do not have the right weather conditions.
- Weeds could choke the saplings if they are not removed periodically.
- Fruits and vegetables attract rodents and other little animals to your garden.