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  • Writer's pictureSarah Kay

Want a low maintenance, colourful, wildlife-friendly lawn alternative? Why not consider a Tapestry Lawn?

Bored of trying to keep your expanse of lawn green and weed free?

Want to look out onto your garden and see everchanging colour and texture?

Want to bring insects and other wildlife into your garden?

A tapestry lawn might be just what your garden needs.

example of tapestry lawn with varieties of low growing flowering evergreen plants
Tapestry Lawn at Allen Centennial Garden

What is a Tapestry Lawn?

It's a collection of low growing, often flowering plants, usually evergreen, which have a spreading, ground cover habit.

Wildflower lawn next to a low growing chamomile and thyme stepping stone path
Low growing Chamomile and Thyme stepping stone path in my E11 Industrial Style Family Garden. Photo by Ellie Walpole

What are the advantages of a Tapestry Lawn?

  1. Low maintenance

Newly planted Tapestry Lawns will need watering and hand weeding in the first year but once established should cope without watering, especially if you choose drought tolerant plant species. Mowing should be limited to 3-5 times a year, once the plants reach a height of 12-15cm with the mower blade at it's highest

2. Biodiverse and Wildlife Friendly

With the right mix of plants your Tapestry Lawn can flower throughout the year, providing nectar for insects and subsequently attracting more wildlife into your garden. An increase in pollinators will benefit the plants in surrounding borders too.

3. Colourful and everchanging

A considered palette of plants can ensure a constanting evolving picture within your garden with bloom cycles throughout the year. The majority (if not all) plants should be evergreen to avoid bare patches in the Winter and varying foliage textures and colour add to the overall effect. Consider the effects of certain colour combinations (for example, pinks, purple and whites have a calming effect) and how the tapestry lawn will blend (or contrast) with the rest of the planting within your garden.

Which plants work well in a Tapestry Lawn?

The plant selection should be tailored to the aspect and soil within your lawn area. Certain areas of the lawn may be in sun, some in shade or damper.

For sunny, free draining areas Chamaemelum nobile (Chamomile), Dianthus gratianopolitanus (Pinks), Trifolium (Clovers) and Creeping Thymes (Thymus serphyphylum) work well.

Campanula, Mentha pulegium (mint) and Prunella Vulagaris (heal all) are good for richer, moist soils in sun or partial shade.

For shade Sangina subulata (Irish Moss) and Soleirolia soleirolii (mind your own business) are great but can be invasive so need controlling.

Ground cover plant and corten steel edging and concrete path
Mind your own business softening the concrete stepping stone path in the shady end of my E11 Industrial Style Family Garden. Photo by Ellie Walpole.

How do I create a Tapestry Lawn?

  1. Remove the top layer of turf and any remaining roots.

  2. Rotavate or dig over the soil

  3. Ensure 15-20cm of good soil. Improve with peat free compost, topsoil if required.

  4. Dig in horticultural grit to ensure good drainage

  5. Plug plants are the most reliable. Set out your plants before planting in drifts and consider conditions, colour, height, and time of flowering when setting out.

  6. Plant at the correct spacing and water in.

  7. Water well for the first growing season and hand weed any invasive weeds whilst establishing.

  8. Sit back and Enjoy!

Creeping thyme and concrete stepping stones
Thyme groundcover softening stepping stone path in my E11 Industrial Style Family Garden. Photo by Ellie Walpole.

I'm about to design a Tapestry Lawn for one of my clients so watch this space for progress.


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