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Gardens around the world cause viewers to catch their breath and drop their jaws. The Gardens of Versailles, the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, the Kenrokuen in Japan, the Summer Palace in Beijing — the list goes on. The colorful blossoms in a variety of sizes, the diversity of textures all in a single landscape, make for true and undeniable art. However, when was the last time you heard a lawn described as such?
Can a simple grass lawn be considered art? And if so, is there any way for the average homeowner to achieve an artful lawn on their property?
What Makes a Garden a Work of Art
Before we can jump into asking these questions about grass, it might be beneficial to first review why gardens are considered art. The vast majority of gardening is a science more-so than an art; it concerns keeping plants alive, so you might appreciate their beauty or collect their bounty. However, some gardens are artful as well as scientific because they are purposefully arranged to create a scene.
Sometimes that scene is beautiful for the sake of being beautiful. Sometimes that scene comments on the natural ecology or environment, and sometimes that scene tries to say something about culture, politics or art itself. Conceptual gardening, as this latter category is frequently called, is controversial and rarely seen outside of artistic spaces, like museums and galleries, but it certainly demonstrates that gardening can be more than a few pretty flowers in a pot. And, perhaps, lawns will eventually be seen with the same critical eye.
Lawn Art Starts With Impeccable Care
It’s not uncommon for gardeners to experiment with colors the way a painter does or with texture and shape as a sculptor might. Gardeners also must contend with shifting light, like photographers, not only so the plants will stay alive and thrive but also so the garden will remain beautiful all day long. Yet, unlike a painting, sculpture or photograph, a garden requires constant maintenance even after it is “done;” plants constantly and rapidly change, creating a new look on the piece.
Lawns are much the same. As living things, lawns grow when given the proper nutrients — air, water, fertilizer — and on the flipside, lawns die when they are improperly cared for. While an unhealthy lawn might pose a commentary in some form or another, the truth is that most artful lawns begin with proper maintenance.
Unfortunately, lawn care is much more complex than you might believe. There is a reason so many places ask you to stay off the lawn — recreational use of grass can result in serious and lasting harm, such as the introduction of foreign pests and disease, the compaction of soil, the breakage of blades and more. Even if you are careful with how you use your lawn, you also need to know precisely how to mow and water as well as administer other treatments, like fertilizer, aeration, overseeding and more. Until you get the hang of lawn care, it might be best for typical homeowners like you to rely on lawn professionals. For instance, TruGreen.com lawn care offers useful tips and tricks as well as professional services, so you can spend less time on yard work and more time on your art.
Carving Art Into Your Lawn
There is a relatively easy way to kick your lawn up to the next art level: mowing patterns. Using your lawn mower, you can carve patterns, pictures and anything else you want into your lawn, creating artwork for you and your visitors to enjoy. Mowing patterns can be simple, like the striping you see on baseball fields, or they can be complex, like a crop circles or a character portrait. You can mow in different directions and at different heights to achieve different colors and textures. This strategy transforms your lawn into your canvas, which virtually guarantees that your lawn will be considered art.
Placing Art Around Your Lawn
If you are reluctant to cut into your lawn to create art, you aren’t alone. Because lawns require such care, it can be intimidating to make any significant moves to affect its health. A safer strategy is to surround your lawn with art, like outdoor sculptures and gardens. In fact, most revered gardens —including those we mentioned above — provide expansive and impeccably cared for lawns where visitors can picnic, lounge or rest their eyes. Still, these green spaces are artful for their décor, which include commissioned art pieces. You don’t need to spend a fortune to decorate your lawn; instead, you should adorn it with pieces that make you smile and fit your yard’s existing aesthetic.
A garden is undeniably art, so why can’t a lawn be as well? With the right care and attitude, you can surely transform your entire landscape into a gallery-worthy work of art.