TV gardener Danny Clarke explains the most common mistake in small gardens and how to fix it

Is your grass holding your garden back?

Lawns are the common default for most gardens. However, gardening expert Danny Clarke reveals that small garden lawns are one of the most common mistakes he sees gardeners make.

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Danny Clarke, also known as The Black Gardener, has made a career for himself transforming gardens into incredible spaces on the BBC show The Instant Gardener and ITV's This Morning. When it comes to making the most of your garden, there isn't much he doesn't know.

Danny Clarke's small garden advice

gardener holding flower plants

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Danny Clarke / Homebase)

Speaking to Ideal Home on behalf of Homebase's Great British Green-Up Campaign, Danny reveals sacrificing border size for lawn is the most common mistake he sees people make in small gardens.

'They make there borders too narrow,' he explains. 'What they do is they make their borders very narrow because they want more lawn than plants.'

'They want to put in as few plants in the space as possible because they think more plants means more work, but it doesn't,' Danny adds. 'You spend more time mowing your lawn and looking after it than you do tending to your plants.'

dinning table and chairs in garden with plants

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Colin Poole)

'Lawns never look 100 per cent unless you are on them 24/7, weeding and feeding them,' he explains. 'To keep a lawn looking good you need to be mowing it, believe it or not, at least once a day.'

'If I had a small garden I wouldn't have a lawn. I would ban lawns and just have plants. Plants are what makes your garden. If you want an aesthetically pleasing space, then the more plants you have in there the better.'

Danny Clarke is working with Homebase on their Great British Green Up campaign to help UK households make their outdoor spaces a little greener. And provide tips for small changes that will have a positive impact on local wildlife.


wooden dinning table and chairs white sofa and cushions outdoor

(Image credit: Future PLC/ David Giles)

'There is so much talk about biodiversity and the environment, and this can seem really daunting,' says Danny. 'But the reality is there are lots of simple things you can do that have a direct impact on the bugs, bees and birds that we need more of in our local environment.'

'All of our gardens, courtyards and balconies combined make up a space larger than the Lake District. So what may feel like a small change for you contributes to one big impact for all sorts of wildlife for years to come.'

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Will you be swapping your lawn for plants?

Rebecca Knight
Deputy Editor, Digital

Rebecca Knight has been the Deputy Editor on the Ideal Home Website since 2022. She graduated with a Masters degree in magazine journalism from City, University of London in 2018, before starting her journalism career as a staff writer on women's weekly magazines. She fell into the world of homes and interiors after joining the Ideal Home website team in 2019 as a Digital Writer. In 2020 she moved into position of Homes News Editor working across Homes & Gardens, LivingEtc, Real Homes, Gardeningetc and Ideal Home covering everything from the latest viral cleaning hack to the next big interior trend.