How to Choose a Lawn Shape

The best shape for your lawn is determined by its use, the landscape, appearance, and your desired maintenance level.
Design for Your Needs
Well Tended Lawn with Flowers and Bird Feeder The shape of your lawn can affect
the way you can use it and the
amount of time you need to spend
taking care of it.

The most important factor in determining the best shape for your lawn is the way you plan to use it. If the lawn will be for recreation and entertaining, it should have a large, open area, such as that provided by circular and rectangular shapes. Most lawn sports, such as croquet, badminton, volleyball, putting, and boccie ball, also require an open space; most need a playing area.

The landscape also plays a role in the shape of the lawn. Some of the most interesting lawn designs trace the shadow patterns of the house and trees during the growing season. Although some types of grass tolerate shade, most require at least six hours of sun a day. In boggy or rocky areas or those with shallow roots from nearby trees and shrubs, the soil and terrain can be modified to handle turf, or the lawn should be located elsewhere.


If your primary concern is appearance, the site itself will present the primary limiting factors. You might choose a geometric shape to project a strong sense of order, control, and formality. Open or free-flowing shapes are more playful, relaxed, and natural.

Considerations when estimating maintenance are the total number square feet to mow and the total number of linear feet to edge. Undulating lines increase the amount of edging and trimming that is required.

Continued on page 2:  Four Basic Shapes