Creating beautiful flower beds
There’s a common misconception that replacing your lawn with artificial grass means your garden into some kind of plastic approximation of the real thing.
Far from it. In fact, what can work beautifully is to blend an artificial lawn – with all the advantages of cost and maintenance that it brings – with the natural function of the average garden. And one fabulous way of doing that is by incorporating raised beds.
Raised beds can be easy to build and quickly return many advantages. Perfect for growing all kinds of veg, they also drain easily and warm up earlier in the year, thus giving you early crops, which can also extend much later into the year if you use netting or polythene to help insulate them. They will also, of course, give your garden a natural, organic hue!
The first thing to say is that the beds are best run alongside your artificial lawn, rather than sitting on top of it – principally because of the need for the plants to root, and for the water to drain. So choose a decent place in your garden, with plenty of access to light, which also allows your artificial lawn to shine, alongside the beds.
Building the raised beds
Firstly, dig over the soil in the area you have chosen, to break it up. In terms of the construction of the bed, you can choose from a variety of materials, but people usually go for wooden logs or slats. Railway sleepers are perfect and can often be bought very cheaply. Knock these together to create a rectangle (or suitable shape), allowing easy access to the bed itself, and space for paths alongside. Then infill the space you have made with topsoil, mixed in with compost and manure. Make sure there’s plenty, as it will soon settle down, and spread it to all four corners.
Once built, the fun really starts! You can really grow whatever you like in a raised bed, from plants to flowers, although of course the usual suspects are fruits and vegetables, which can be very enjoyable to grow, and even more enjoyable to consume. Particularly good are root vegetables such as parsnips and carrots, which do extremely well in such a free-draining environment. However equally as popular are green beans (which can grow amazingly fast and produce great results), as well as onions, leeks, tomatoes, potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage.
If you have the space, the best possible plan would be to include several beds. With multiple beds you have the ability to grow a variety of crops throughout the year, as well as rotating those crops across the beds. This can greatly help with maintaining the nutrients in the soil.
Raised beds, set into a garden boasting an artificial lawn, can really demonstrate the best of both worlds, and create an incredibly appealing balance of styles. Your artificial lawn will ease maintenance needs and thereby release the necessary time you can spend on the really fun aspects of gardening.
And what could be better than serving Christmas dinner with Brussel sprouts harvested from your own back garden?