Many permaculture practitioners detest the idea of maintaining lawns just for the sake of having it for aesthetic purposes. More often than not, they see these outdoor spaces as viable areas for growing food instead of the plain old complement to the overall beauty of a house.
In terms of applying certain permaculture design principles to our lawns, the question is whether we will get a more favourable result in terms of function and visual appeal? Can we develop a permaculture design foundation for the basic household lawn?
The Varying Purposes of Lawns Throughout History
For the sake of awareness and to fully understand where all this is coming from, let us delve briefly into the origins of lawns; the reasons why we take extra special care of them, and the somewhat complicated topic of incorporating permaculture standards.
The Lawn Institute states that the early lawn concepts trace back to the 12th century, a time that introduced the existence of and the philosophy of turf grass lawns. It was originally intended for the purpose of feeding livestock, which kept the grass short in a more natural way. This brings about large stretches of land covered with close cut grass, perfect for nurturing animals.
A handful of centuries later, trimmed lawns became sort of the symbol of wealth and affluence in many parts of Europe. During that era, people considered land as valuable resource. They used it to grow food in order to provide everyday sustenance and nutrition, as well as a valid source of income.
The Concept of Sustainability in the Design of Today’s Lawns
The design ideologies of permaculture are universal, in such a way that it can be utilised in any type of plant-growing technique or approaches. They are widespread in the industry, and are applicable to common household lawns too.
When it comes to design, we have to rationalise the presence of every element, from the actual growing process of permaculture to the complementation other rather trivial facets like border edgings. Since the system, as explained simply by Heath Cote, entails agricultural and social design principles that act with nature, instead of against it, it is vital to consider materials that work in our favour.
Part of the whole idea of permaculture design is the inclusion of environmentally responsible materials, such as pressure-treated wood for the aforementioned lawn edgings, for instance. Screwfix showcases a plethora of lawn edgings infused with preservatives that protect these resources from deterioration and other natural factors without harming the actual ground in the process. This is very important, as it covers all the bases with regards to sustainability and decoration. In other words, it adheres to permaculture standards, while purposely beautifying the lawn as a whole.
All in all, using something like lawn edgings not only creates an appropriate separation, a border of some sort in the garden; they also represent an all-encompassing rationale from a permaculture and a design perspective. We now live in a world where we constantly adapt different, somewhat polarising, principles to come up with an idea, a philosophy that stays true to the subject’s core values.
To learn more about the topic, continue reading through the articles here on Permaculture Design Course.