Lawn Design Tips


Use these tips to make a statement with your lawn so it will be a key element of your landscape's overall design.

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Create a Center

Garden Retreat

Your backyard lawn doesn't need to be a big dull space. Use it as a central access point to other landscape features. Here, a meandering swath of grass looks great on its own, but it also connects pathways that lead to a series of garden rooms. The result is charm -- and an efficient use of yard space.

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Put Your Lawn to Work

Spring Lawn

Make your lawn integral to unifying the various shapes and colors in your landscape. Here, healthy turf draws the eyes of passersby to the focal point of the flowerbeds. The lushly planted colors sing against the backdrop of green. So choose your style and let your lawn do the work for you.

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A Formal Approach


This spectacular yard gains a measure of elegance from a well-tended panel of grass. The mostly symmetrical design lends a sense of formality that is in keeping with the traditionally styled house. Stone edging and paths set off the lawn in sharp relief and make mowing a snap.

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Create a Frame


Just as a great frame can enhance the picture inside, the right edging can accentuate your lawn for a stunning display. Take a cue from this dazzler -- a boxwood hedge planted in a zigzag fashion acts as a dramatic accent for a lush green lawn. Red coleus planted in the pockets of the hedge heightens the drama.

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Draw the Eye


Use gentle curves in the edge of your lawn to direct the eye to particular features. Here, the sweep of edging on both sides of the lawn draws attention to the small grotto at the back of the yard. Well-placed curves can also draw attention away from less attractive views of neighboring homes on either side of a small plot.

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The Family Approach

Family Playing on Lawn

For a family with an active lifestyle, make sure your lawn provides plenty of room for romping and running around. This wide-open lawn proves that you can have flowers -- and your grass, too. A broad expanse surrounded by informal arrangements of blooming plants leaves space for all sorts of outdoor activities.

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Give It Some Shape


Do the unexpected by playing with different shapes around your lawn. Your eye will be pleasantly surprised by the change in pace. Here, a rectangular lawn contrasts with concrete spheres. Square stone pavers on the gravel leading up the lawn throw another shape into the mix, making the yard a hip piece of contemporary art.

Here's a hint: The concrete spheres are simple to roll away when you mow and put back in place afterward to reduce the amount of trimming.

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Go Graphic with Your Grass

brick and sandstone cement walk way

Don't be afraid to make your lawn an unexpected artistic element in your landscape: Play with shapes, use contrasts and complements, and add eye-catching textural elements. This square, edged by restrained plantings, replicates the shapes of the surrounding brick patio and pavers set in gravel. It also provides a transition between those areas and the flowerbeds, giving the landscape a tidy, yet accessible feel.

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Enhance Design Elements

Grass path to gazebo

Make your lawn work extra hard to complement hardscape features, as this yard illustrates. The grass, crisscrossed by intersecting mini pavers, replicates the details found in the outdoor covered patio, enhancing their placement and design. Attention to detail, such as how the size and shape of the pavers accent the rim on the roof, makes all the difference.

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Let It Lead You Somewhere


Take time out of your day and relax with a nice stroll through your yard. Grass paths aren't just for getting somewhere; a graceful path can make your landscape more accessible and comfortable.

Here's a hint: If your grass path has a twist or shape to fit around or through existing flowerbeds, you'll add mystery and encourage exploration.

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Extend Your Patio


Patios and decks are great for entertaining but aren't always large enough to host a crowd. Here, a patch of level lawn expands the outdoor living area created by a ground-level patio. This principle would also work with a low deck that allows easy access to the lawn.

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Craft a Secluded Nook

Raised Lawn

Every yard needs a spot where you can relax and settle into a chair or hammock to while away an afternoon with a nap or good book. But your hideaway can go beyond run-of-the-mill patio space. Go bold and use a swath of lawn set a step higher to add unexpected drama.

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Break It Up


User pavers or other materials to break up a boring expanse of lawn. The more pavers, the more dramatic the look. Here, lawn and pavers carpet a driveway, adding softness and green space to a front yard.

Here's a hint: Create a formal look by using the pavers in straight lines. For a look less formal, stagger the pavers so they don't line up -- or drop them randomly.

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Add Contours

Curved Retaining Wall

A wide, flat yard is great for the kids and dog, but let's face it: It can be boring. If you don't have to simplify your landscape for children or pets, add contours to your yard. Here, a sod-covered berm adds a surprise to an otherwise flat yard. Because the berm is relatively low and because the slope is gentle, it's as easy to mow as a flat yard.

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Add an Island


It's just plain fun to break up a section of lawn with a garden bed. Just keep in mind a few simple principles. First, make your island bed large enough to be interesting, but not so large as to overwhelm the lawn. Second, leave enough room around the island to facilitate mowing. Finally, edge the bed to keep a distinct line between bed and lawn.

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Paint a Pretty Scene

Curving Lawn

Lawns are not often recognized for their sheer beauty. But the majesty and magic of a lawn can -- and should -- be an integral part of your landscape, as this elegant, mostly monochromatic setting demonstrates. Use grass to your advantage for its even height and depth of color to add texture and harmony to your landscape.

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Maximize Your Lawn's Roles

Narrow Lawn

Even a skinny stretch of turf can perform multiple functions. This small-scale border does three things: It works as a transition between the pool and the lush, vine-covered gazebo; it enforces the angular shapes of the swimming area and concrete deck; and it serves as a soft surface to relax at pool's edge. Use your lawn to ease into an area filled with shrubs or flowerbeds; its angles help draw people through and around the landscape.

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Blur the Lines

Narrow Lawn

We usually see a clear, defined line between lawn and planted areas. While that's functional and attractive, you can make your lawn even more interesting and more of a design element by using a serpentine or irregular pattern.

Here's a hint: If you create deep enough curves or pockets, you add a sense of mystery (especially if you use tall plants) because visitors won't be able to see what's inside the pockets until they're right upon them.

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Sit Back and Relax

View of bench surrounded by lawn, trees, and shrubs

You should also create opportunities to enjoy your lawn close-up. Position a bench in a shady spot where you can gaze out upon the grass. You'll soon discover a tapestry of subtle detail that changes with the shifting breeze and the dance of sun dapples.

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A Beautiful Frame


A panel of grass is similar to the matting around a photo. That is, the flat, textureless lawn sets off the more interesting and detailed areas adjacent to it. Here, a well-cared-for lawn sets off the plantings that ring the yard. The uniform green of the lawn also helps create contrast with the darker and lighter greens of the shrub and flower foliage.

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Should You Seed, Sod, or Both?

Learn how to get the best-looking lawn without breaking the bank.

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