garden sustainability

The grass is greener…

I am moving into a new place soon that has a small space for a garden. At the moment, the ground is covered with gravel, but I would like to grow grass instead. I would prefer not to use any grass that is GM, but still green, soft and that isn’t too thirsty. The garden is quite shady. Any tips or advice would be greatly appreciated?

Tarien Roux

6 replies on “The grass is greener…”

Hi Tarien
In order to give you a look that is natural but not scruffy, I have come up with the following plan:
Start out by planting the whole lawn area with Cynodon grass. This species is indigenous and waterwise. (Kikuyu grass is highly invasive and water-greedy.) As the lawn matures, observe where bare patches occur. Where the lawn has died due to shade, plant Otholobium decumbens (indigenous flowering groundcover that is recommended as a semi-shade lawn substitute). Where the lawn has died due to being walked / driven over, cover the bare patches with gravel.
I specialise in garden designs for small and unusual spaces. I offer a very affordable e-Landscaping service. If you’d like a three dimensional design that makes full use of your small space, and attracts wildlife to your garden, please have a look at my website or contact me
Best of luck!

Cynodon does need a lot of sun to survive, rather use Berea shade – Dactyloctenium australe (available as plugs or instant) or Kearsney grass – Axonopus compressus (available only in plugs).
Practically though, If the garden is shady, it might be better to keep it as gravel if you intend on walking in it, or plant a groundcover if it won’t get much traffic.

Just a thought – chances are that if there’s gravel there already, the previous owners may have already lost the battle with grass. Also, you didn’t say where you were – if frost is an issue, it may limit your options still further.
Another option would be to prune to let more light in?

Sorry to be a party popper 😉

Hi Ross
Thank you for your advice… it is small, but I would like a little spot to lie on. My feeling is that the gravel is more for convenience sake as it is a rental, but it is small enough to maintain easily. So I’ll have a go at grass. I’m in Cape Town… not sure whether frost is an issue… as I’m a bit of a novice tending my own garden. The shade is mostly from trees, but the shrubbery will be pruned indeed, as they are rather wayward.
Many thanks

Hi Ross

I stay in Polokwane and want to now what about LM Grass for shade
and then also where sun is the whole day.


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