20 lawn ideas to get creative with your grassy garden

Pretty-yet-practical layouts and inspirations for creating the perfect lawn

Over the warmer months, we're planning on spending as much time outdoor as possible. Add a new dimension to your garden by really considering what lawn ideas could bring to your space.

The majority of garden ideas include some form of grassy area. This could be anything from a large swathe of lawns to petite pockets of grassy greenery. Either way, this element can play a pretty important role in the design of your outdoor space.

There’s a way to accommodate a lawn for every garden set-up. Practicality is key, however. You’ll no doubt want a smaller lawn if you don’t want to worry about up-keep. Or even give zero-maintenance faux grass a go if you have children or pets. That said, it's also an opportunity to get creative and create something you love.

Designing a lawn is also an opportunity to get playful with your garden. Whether that’s by giving it an interesting shape, ensuring it highlights certain features or using it to section off different areas.

Lawn ideas

From shapely styles, to highlighting features or creating zones, these lawn ideas can help you give your garden a lush green makeover.

1. Use as the basis for a green scheme

garden with blue wall green lawn and white flower

(Image credit: Future PLC/Lizzie Orme)

When painting the walls of a room in the house, you're setting the colour, tone and mood of the space. Essentially, creating the backdrop on which all furniture and accessories will be working with. It's the same with your lawn ideas.

The grass is setting the stage for all your planting and garden furniture. Create a tonal, multi-dimensional look by planting in other shades of green, darker and lighter than the grass.

Outdoor wall decor ideas can help you here, too. Paint a back wall in yet another shade of green and enjoy the layered shades, all beginning with the lawn underfoot.

2. Combine with other surface materials

green lawn with wooden floorboard and potted plant

(Image credit: Future PLC/Darren Warner)

Add interest to your garden by not relying solely on grass as your surface material. Use different choices throughout, such as decking, slabs and gravel. This will also visually zone your garden into spaces. Plus, by limiting your lawn space you're ensured to create a manageable size for your time.

3. Border for privacy

garden with white chair and lawn

(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

Enclose your lawn for privacy, and a lovely sense of being enveloped in nature. Hedges are a natural choice to start with, but try and use a variety of methods to keep things interesting year round.

Train climbing plants up fences and garden trellis ideas. Combine raised beds with regular flower beds to make sure any levels and visual angles are considered. On the latter, plant the flowers which tend to grow taller, to enforce this enclosed feeling.

4. Take inspiration from wild meadows

exterior of cottage with potted plant and sash window

(Image credit: Future PLC/Robert Sanderson)

Lawn ideas aren't all manicured to perfection. If you love cottage garden ideas, then consider choosing a wilder approach. Think about pretty, fragrant meadows and allow your grass to grow seemingly out of control.

Choose a meadowgrass seed mix so you have a naturalistic combination of grass, wildflowers and meadow grasses. And if you were wondering whether you need to remove clover from your lawn, this may be your opportunity to avoid this task.

5. Blur the boundaries with cascading foliage

exterior of house with green land and green foliage

(Image credit: Future PLC/Lizzie Orme)

Trick the eye about how far your lawn ideas extend with clever planting. Draping trees and plants, like ethereal willows will trail all the way onto the grass, making it unclear just how much grass you have. This will make your garden seem larger than it is, so good to remember when considering how to make a small garden look bigger.

6. Take your lawn to different levels

garden with white wall grey chair and green grass

(Image credit: Future PLC /Colin Poole)

Why not take things up a notch by laying grass on any raised levels in your garden? This lawn idea can work particularly well if you have any platforms in your outdoor area, as they can form sun-trap spaces for lounging during the summer months.

The vertical effect also adds interest to a garden — giving it another dimension.

7. Think of your lawn as a carpet

yellow chair with cushion and green lawn

(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

Can you really beat a glorious summer day spent reading in the garden? If you love to kick back in the garden with a great book, then creating a little reading nook on your lawn could be a brilliant solution. Think of the lawn almost as a carpet underneath your feet, making the space feel cosy and comfortable.

8. Keep your lawn small

garden with white chair lighting and potted plant

(Image credit: Future PLC/David Giles)

There’s no need for a lawn to take up the entire garden – particularly if you're considering our decking or patio ideas for entertaining. A smaller lawn could be an option for those who want to prioritise other features like a shed, summerhouse or dining area, when space is limited.

9. Make an enchanted entrance

exterior of house with green lawn and pathway

(Image credit: Future PLC/Brent Darby)

Make stepping onto your lawn a real experience with the help of a metal garden arch or an arbor, as seen in the above garden. Many of these can be decorated with easy climbing plants and flowers for a truly enchanting entrance.

10. Fake it for an eternally lush lawn

garden with wooden fence white chair and green lawn

(Image credit: LazyLawn)

Fake grass requires significantly less fuss than its real counterpart — so is a popular lawn idea for families with children and pets.

'An artificial lawn has become an affordable achievable way of enjoying your outdoor space at all times, looking great and effectively adding an extra "garden room" to your outdoor space,' says Andy Driver, sales director at LazyLawn.

'A synthetic lawn means a non-toxic, hygienic lush-green lawn — always.  It is low maintenance too — no mowing, just a hose down and the occasional brush-off of leaves.'

Thinking of going for this faux effect? Check out our guide to artificial grass, including everything you need to know about buying and laying a low-maintenance lawn.

11. Plan a lawn centrepiece

exterior of house with blue sky and green tree

(Image credit: Future PLC /Polly Eltes)

Lawns don’t have to be rectangular, in fact, a circular lawn — or ones with cut-out pieces — work incredibly well if you want to showcase something off in the middle of the garden.

This might be an impressive tree, garden furniture or something decorative like a fountain.

12. Give your lawn a little more edge

garden with blue cushion and green lawn

(Image credit: Future PLC /Claire Lloyd Davies)

In terms of keeping lawns neat and tidy, our garden edging ideas are key. If you’re looking for something a little different why not try a railway track-style path, which is somewhere between a regular garden path and stepping stones.

This feature is a little more unique and is ideal if you want to create a separate walking section to get across the lawn, rather than wear the grass down with constant use.

13. Frame your lawn with a border

garden with blue chair and purple flower

(Image credit: Future PLC/Claire Lloyd Davies)

A border around the lawn helps to frame a garden — making it look more symmetrical and visually pleasing. This border can be achieved in a number of different ways, either with a small hedge, larger plants or flower beds.

14. Zone with your lawn

garden with sofa potted plant and wooden storage unit

(Image credit: Future PLC/Polly Eltes)

So many different activities can take place in a garden, whether it’s dining, BBQ-ing, reading or sunbathing and a lawn can be used to help break up a garden into different zones for these various pastimes.

15. Be playful with stepping stones

stepping stone with pathway and white door

(Image credit: Future PLC/David Giles)

Stepping stones are a lovely, aesthetically-pleasing alternative to a garden path. These stones also help prevent patches on the grass from regular footsteps, keeping your garden in tact and giving it longevity.

16. Opt for a relaxed border

garden with cushion and white flower

(Image credit: Future PLC/Lizzie Orme)

For a softer, less manicured look, avoid borders with hard edges and plant low shrubs that will ooze out over your lawn.

17. Make it classy with stripes

exterior of house with blue sky and green lawn

(Image credit: Future)

For a lawn idea that can turn the most humble of homes into something out of Bridgerton, try adding stripes. It may seem laborious but it's actually easier than you might think. Start with our guide – How do you get stripes in your lawn? – from renowned head gardener Andy Wain.

18. Ditch the paving

green lawn with green trees and pink chair

(Image credit: Future)

If you are struggling to commit to hard landscaping, rest assured that a garden that's wall-to-wall – or rather border-to-border – lawn can work.

Treat your space much like she would a sitting room, using indoor furniture that can easily be stowed in the summerhouse nearby should it rain. The luscious lawn serves as a carpet, but it needs to be hardwearing if this is your plan, so choose a sports or conventional lawn, rather than one designed for landscaping or ornamental use.

19. Use turf as a path

garden with green lawn and green plant

(Image credit: Future)

Choose the right, hardwearing turf and grass can be laid as a perfect pathway for keen gardeners. Why perfect? Because it's a softer alternative to brick or gravel garden path ideas, so when you are kneeling down to tend to your beds, you won't have to reach for a pad.

20. Think about transitions

exterior of house green lawn and potted plant

(Image credit: Future)

It's worth considering how you are going to switch from hard landscaping to lawn. Sharp, straight edges are fine for contemporary gardens, but if you are planning a cottage garden or something more classic, you may need a different approach.

In this garden, a gentle curve is easy on the eye, and a step down to grass level softens the whole look.

What is the best type of lawn?

Choosing the right type of turf for your new lawn can feel a little overwhelming — especially with so many different varieties on the market. That's because a lawn is is made up of a blend of grass types, and the blend you choose will depend on what kind of lawn you need.

So, essentially, it comes down to what your own lawn will be used for. Is it going to be used as the family football pitch? Will pets be running up and down it? Are you able to mow it very regularly, or are you looking for something low-maintenance? If it's going to have to withstand a lot of activity, it's better to opt for a more hard-waring turf, rather than more ornamental grass

According to Turfonline.com, traditional lawn turf (which features a mixture of lawn grasses) is great for back gardens, front gardens and play areas.

It says, 'Traditional turf is quite flexible in its maintenance needs. If you are aiming for a classic english lawn, then a regular mowing routine is a must. Keep the sward at around 5cm long for best results and mow once or twice a week in the growing season.'

Alternatively, Turfonline.com explains that fine turf (which boasts needle-thin leaves and a delicate green colour) is better for more ornamental greens.

This fine turf isn't very wear tolerant and it can be prone to disease - not to mention it's high maintenance when it comes to upkeep, as it needs to be mowed around 4 times a week for best results.

According to the experts at Stihl, these are your main options:

Ornamental lawn

'Ornamental lawn is especially decorative because of its fine dense growth and rich green colour,' they say. 'However, it's not very robust, and not suitable for walking on regularly or as a play surface. It should be mown twice a week, fertilised intensively, and watered with a fine spray.'

Conventional lawn

'This moderately robust lawn is suitable for use in almost any outdoor area. It grows slowly, so doesn't require a lot of mowing. and will grow anywhere except heavy shade. It loves sunshine, so can withstand vey dry periods of weather.'

Sports lawn

Football fans, this one's for you! 'Heavy-duty or sports lawn is highly robust and resistant to stress and weather. the grasses are resistant to treading and will regenerate, making it perfect for playing, sport and sunbathing.' Stihl does warn, however, that 'the effort it requires to maintain it is medium to very high.'

Landscaping lawn

'Landscaping lawn is recognisable by its non-uniform green colouring,' says Stihl. 'Its robustness is low to moderate, and it's suitable for public and private gardens. Its nutritional needs are low to medium and it's drought-resistant. Special varieties thrive in shady areas and more extreme locations.'

How much does it cost to landscape a garden?

Garden landscaping costs normally come in around £90-£100 per square metre — but that's excluding designer or architect fees. This price can be lower if you only require planting services, rather than hard landscaping.

Acorn Gardening also offers a handy Landscaping Cost Calculator tool which breaks down each section of the garden that needs doing — for example, fencing, borders and turf — and estimates the overall price of the project. You can also enter the type of materials you plan to use, to give a more accurate result.