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Lawnscaping Ideas - a Landscape Architect's Guide

Viktoria Athina Dimou
Plants and Landscaping Specialist

If you’re not familiar with Lawnscaping, you can get easily confused, and it’s not your fault at all. Most people think it’s the same as landscaping- there is some difference I must say.

So, What is Lawnscaping Exactly?

Lawnscaping is a sector of landscaping that considers the lawn the star of the show when it comes to gardens. You might have the best landscape design/ arrangement, but to a lawnscaping specialist? It means nothing if the lawn isn’t well taken care of. The plants need to be shaped and cut as well with absolute precision.

How Can I Use Landscaping at My Own Home?

Let’s start from the basis- do you want a garden that is always tidy and has a shape, or are you a wild spirit that loves it when plants do their own thing? This will determine the whole idea behind the design.

Anything Else I Need to Know Before I Start?

  • Make sure you use equipment that is energy saving; I mean, most of the time people take notice. It’d be a great start to use tools that can save water too. And if your design can support it as well, bonus point! Who knows? You might even set an example for the rest of the neighborhood. A big tip that can help you is to make sure the water sprinklers are close to the ground- otherwise the water will go to waste.
  • Are you familiar with lawn at all? If not, try to consult an expert on this, to familiarize yourself with the grasses. They have different needs, and they create a different effect.

If you want strict lines, you can get the Buffalo grass (the fluffy and really thick grass you usually see in pictures). It needs a lot of water though to be maintained. If you are a free spirit and you don’t really mind, you can get the Kentucky Bluegrass (for most people, it is the ideal grass. It is very hard, it can even repair itself sometimes. It just needs some good amount of sun, and you are good to go.

Buffalo Grass for lawnscaping
Image Source : Amazon USA
Kentucky Bluegrass
Image Source: www.pennington.com
  • Make sure that the lawn is getting the sun it needs. And its water too. Now, if you hire someone to do this, you will see them planning thoroughly where the trees will go. You will observe that they have some distance between. If you have a big tree covering the lawn with shade, what is the point? If you are quite able to do this on your own, congrats! Just make sure you leave some space and distance.

Even if you like simple color combinations and you’re not a fan of vibrancy and flowers, you can still play with different color tones. So many leaves and patterns, so little time to choose. Avoid playing it safe; you can create a minimal full green design. Green has so many shades, why not use some of them to create some depth? The same applies if you are a fan of color. Use many colors, play with ombre tones, create different levels that your eyes can play with. You got this!

Don’t Know the Design Yet? Here are some ideas

  • If you want a clean, tidy and everything-in-shape design…

You should follow the Industrial lawn approach. Here, we are talking about a sophisticated garden, with minimal characteristics, and plants that can be shaped and cut easily to fit the “right” shape. Everything falls into place, the lines are crisp and on point. No detail is missed, from the right type of soil, to the suitable fertilizer.

A contemporary industrial garden
Image Credit:  https://www.homify.co.uk

Take this for example. This is the definition of an industrial approach to lawnscaping (and then landscaping, because well, these two interconnect).

Notice how the selection of plants might be tropical, but they are still designed to be placed in a strict manner, making it look crisp and clean. Even if you love minimal design, don’t let that stop you, because clearly you can select any type of plant you want. Check also the line that the lawn is following; you can tell that people love to take care of it, but not too much- so it stays fluffy and bushy. The colors also play an important role here. If this was all in vibrant colors, it would have been a total failure to grasp the concept. And finally, let’s not forget the levels the designer included here. It starts with the corten steel water and the rill; this is the lowest level to the eye. Then we move to the second level with the medium sized pots and well-trimmed buxus plants and at last to the tropical variety of plants that meet your eye on the high level, offering you that symmetry.

In summary: For the Industrial approach, you will need well shaped plants (any type of them), well thought out colors, clean lines for the lawn and to ensure it stays fluffy and looks luxurious. You will also need to play with the levels (what meets the eye first), to make sure there is a continuum and that it doesn’t look stiff.

  • If you are a wild soul and you want to create your own jungle…

You should follow the Freedom lawn approach. Here we have anything that your heart desires. This is the design all rebels are in favor of, mostly because it doesn’t have many rules. It has only one belief: use nature to your benefit and give something back, because it is taking care of you everyday. You can still use  any type of plant you want- but here is when the fun begins. You don’t have to consider placing the plants in a direct manner when it comes to space. You just sort them by category… and then you watch nature do its marvelous thing. You might still wonder what I’m talking about. Okay, let’s put it into perspective. The herbs will go altogether, the flowering plants will do the same too. No direct or clear placement, and you enjoy them doing their own thing, filling the whole space with colors, leaves, everything. 

The best example when it comes to Freedom approach gardens, will always be the tropical ones, like the one we see here. I am sure that you can understand why it is called like this now. The lawn is still taken care of, but there is no strict line it follows- it is on point though, even if it’s rebellious. The plants are sorted by category only, and you can place them anywhere you want. This approach really offers you the jungle vibes (ah, my favorite, I am actually swooning!) and everything is in your face. Leaves, stems, flowers, a sheer result- like mother nature is having a party. And guess what? You are the host!

In summary: For the Freedom approach, just follow your heart and the love you have for your garden and your plants; that is really it.

Okay, and what happens now if I like both lawnscaping approaches?

You can get the best of both worlds. I mean it. Want to see what that looks like?

Perfection, right? Clean lines, vibrant lawn, flowers and colors everywhere, levels that your eyes can play with and catch all the details. Your eyes are destined to catch a different detail every time you take a look. Who said that earthy and minimal tones don’t match with vibrant colors?

In summary: Stay true to your style, and just take care of your lawn no matter what. Mother nature is giving us plenty of variety every day. Enjoy! 

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