Different strokes


Who said blades of grass had to be regimentally arranged upon their thousands to create a flat lawn? It might well be the turf laying season, but had you thought of breaking with convention to create a living piece of artwork in your garden? Turf sculptures can bring a quirky sense of character to a plot, or an elegant injection of style, so once you’ve considered which atmosphere you’d like to create, what ideas are there for you to steal?

Turf seats can take many forms, from a neat, simple turf square (or rectangle if you’re feeling sociable) to a centrepiece for an upcycled wooden chair. A turf spiral adds low-level definition to a lawn. If you expect children (or young-at-heart adults!) to walk on the spiral choose a hard-wearing perennial ryegrass mix. A turf heart offers an understated proclamation of your love of gardening, while a sequence of grass stepping stones or pavers provides a unique route through your borders.

The secret to longevity is to ensure that the turf has adequate depth in which to root – a shallow saucer of soil will quickly dry out so be as generous as you can with your growing medium. Simple mounds are easy to create with earth, packing it into layers as you develop the shape. For more complex designs with right angles and straight, well-defined edges, construct a frame out of chicken wire that you can compact soil into. The turf is then simply laid on top of this cage to root into the soil beneath. It’s key to keep the grass well watered until it beds into the soil, so irrigate thoroughly for a fortnight at least, and then during any dry spells.