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Landscape on a Budget: 13 Ideas for Mown Grass Paths

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Landscape on a Budget: 13 Ideas for Mown Grass Paths

June 24, 2019

If you have a small space, a grass path is green enough to telegraph the idea of a rolling lawn. And in a large garden, a mown walkway is a low-cost alternative to an expensive stone or brick path (and nothing feels better under bare feet when you’re headed toward the beach).

For the cost of a bag of grass seed (and a lawn mower to keep it clipped), you can have a seductive green ribbon running through your garden. Let it lure you toward the horizon.

Here are 13 ideas to design a budget-friendly grass path for summer:

A Walk on the Wild Side

At By the Crossways, mown paths give a more manicured look to the &#8
Above: At By the Crossways, mown paths give a more manicured look to the “re-wilded” property. Photograph by Kevin Foord for Gardenista, from Wild Kingdom: A 3-Acre Haven for Wildlife and Flowers in Suffolk, England.

Pattern Play

At By the Crossways, the lawns are always mowed leaving areas of wildlife-friendly longer grass—in random patterns that are constantly changing. Photograph by Kevin Foord for Gardenista, from Wild Kingdom: A 3-Acre Haven for Wildlife and Flowers in Suffolk, England.
Above: At By the Crossways, the lawns are always mowed leaving areas of wildlife-friendly longer grass—in random patterns that are constantly changing. Photograph by Kevin Foord for Gardenista, from Wild Kingdom: A 3-Acre Haven for Wildlife and Flowers in Suffolk, England.

Home Run

A grass path with stepping stones is bordered by lacy perennials and frothy foliage. Photography courtesy of Sothebys Realty, from A Life Lived Fully: Artist and Photographer Judy Tomkins in Sneden&#8
Above: A grass path with stepping stones is bordered by lacy perennials and frothy foliage. Photography courtesy of Sothebys Realty, from A Life Lived Fully: Artist and Photographer Judy Tomkins in Sneden’s Landing, NY.

Into the Woods

In the new landscape designed by Richard Burck of Richard Burck , a mown path provides a link and transition to the surrounding woodlands beyond. Photograph by Justine Hand for Gardenista, from Garden Visit: A Revolutionary Landscape in Concord, MA.
Above: In the new landscape designed by Richard Burck of Richard Burck , a mown path provides a link and transition to the surrounding woodlands beyond. Photograph by Justine Hand for Gardenista, from Garden Visit: A Revolutionary Landscape in Concord, MA.

Drought Tolerant

Edged by tough seaside foliage, a scrubby mown fescue path is treated as a hardscape element. You wouldn&#8
Above: Edged by tough seaside foliage, a scrubby mown fescue path is treated as a hardscape element. You wouldn’t water stone pavers or a gravel walkway, and you don’t need to irrigate here, either. Photograph courtesy of LaGuardia Design Group, from Dune Story: A Post-Modern Masterpiece Saved from the Sea on Long Island.

Color Story

In Sally French-Greenslade&#8
Above: In Sally French-Greenslade’s meadow in Cheshire, England, “everything is allowed to run rampant, from wildflowers such as evening primrose and wild geraniums to nettles, which make a wonderful wildlife habitat,” writes Clare Coulson. “The meadow is defined with wide mown paths and occasional trees. ” Photograph by Coulson, from Garden Visit: A Wildflower Meadow at the Edge of an English Cottage Garden.

Flower-Friendly

An English boxwood hedge edges a mown path in which daisies thrive. Photograph by Britt Willoughby Dyer.
Above: An English boxwood hedge edges a mown path in which daisies thrive. Photograph by Britt Willoughby Dyer.

Blurred Edges

In Northern California&#8
Above: In Northern California’s Napa Valley, designer John Greenlee planted a meadow garden, with a grass path edged by tufts of low-growing perennial grasses that are encouraged to breach the borders. Photograph via Greenlee and Associates in Napa County.

Architectural Digest

A stone “font” is surrounded with a square of unmown meadow—a simple but incredibly effective feature. Photograph by Clare Coulson, from  Garden Ideas to Steal from Wollerton Old Hall in Shropshire.
Above: A stone “font” is surrounded with a square of unmown meadow—a simple but incredibly effective feature. Photograph by Clare Coulson, from 10 Garden Ideas to Steal from Wollerton Old Hall in Shropshire.

 Between Beds

A grass path cuts through the orchard at Glyndebourne in Sussex, home of the original country house opera. Photograph by Howard Sooley, from Garden Visit: The Unique Charm of Glyndebourne in Sussex.
Above: A grass path cuts through the orchard at Glyndebourne in Sussex, home of the original country house opera. Photograph by Howard Sooley, from Garden Visit: The Unique Charm of Glyndebourne in Sussex.

Tinkering with Turf

&#8
Above: “Called ‘tinkering with turf’ and ‘grassy wild gardening’ by the garden writer Anna Pavord, gardening in this way brings to mind the ideas of avant-garde Victorian garden writer William Robinson, who loathed formality and bedding in particular,” notes Kendra Wilson. Photograph by Wilson, from Gone Wild: Tinkering with Turf.

A Secret Garden

The garden of author Celia Lewis is made up of lawn and paths through the wooded areas and has been a large inspiration for her book, An Illustrated Country Year. Photograph by Emma Lewis, from A Reader&#8
Above: The garden of author Celia Lewis is made up of lawn and paths through the wooded areas and has been a large inspiration for her book, An Illustrated Country Year. Photograph by Emma Lewis, from A Reader’ Secret Garden: Enchanted Burchetts Wood

A Prince’s Purview

Known for its mown grass paths, Prince Charles&#8
Above: Known for its mown grass paths, Prince Charles’ garden at Highgrove turns a simple landscape element into royal walkways. The secret to the transformation? Rich swaths of color and texture offset the velvety paths. Photograph by Andrew Butler, from Required Reading: Prince Charles And His Highgrove Garden.

For more on lawn care and grasses, see:

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