If your lawn is growing into your garden beds, and you’re not a fan of the overgrown look, there’s a few steps you can take to rectify the situation and prevent it from happening again.
Overall, the top tips to prevent your lawn from growing into your garden-bed are:
- Build a physical border to stop grass from getting into the beds
- Create some barriers in your lawn and garden design
- Undertake regular maintenance
If the lawn is already in the garden beds then you need to first get rid of it – killing off any grass is the best option – then take steps to keep it out. Depending on whether or not your turf is an invasive variety this is a complex or simple task. Couch for example can be extremely time consuming to remove completely by hand. Removing the grass from garden beds entirely is possible but it does require a methodical approach.
You can use a herbicide which is designed to kill grass, without hurting other plants but do so with care, especially if you are uses a spray approach. Many warm season varieties of turf are susceptible to non-selective herbicides such as Roundup or Glyphosate so any overspray will kill off the lawn.
Firstly, you should try and remove as much of the grass as possible manually – by hand or by using a hand-scythe or garden knife. If you are using a garden knife or hand-scythe cut as low to ground height as possible.
Cool season grasses (such as Fescue, Rye Grass) – doesn’t have runners so if you pull out the grass, roots and all, it will not grow back.
Warm season grasses (such as Buffalo, Kikuyu, Couch, Zoysia) – have a runner system and most also have a rhizome system which grows under the ground. They can tunnel under edging and up, establishing themselves in neighbouring garden beds. Once you have removed the plant above ground you will need to concentrate on what’s below the soil. There’s a couple of ways to approach this:
- Switch off the light – use newspaper, mulch or cardboard to smother the grass, spraying any shoots that come through with a herbicide.
- Use a non-selective herbicide such as Glyphosate or Roundup ensuring you do not spray any other garden plants that you want keep alive. The amount of grass present in the garden bed and the variety of the grass will determine the number of applications required – more than one may be necessary. You should trim back the grass in between applications. Once you have the invasive under control, keeping a spray bottle on hand will allow you to quickly manage any new invasions.
Establish some boundaries
Now that you have the grass out of the garden bed it’s time to keep it out. The best way to do this is to establish a border or edging – a barrier in between the lawn and the garden. You have a few options here – hard borders or soft borders.
Hard borders can be made from materials such as metal edging pushed part way into the ground, rocks, bands of plastic, bricks, pavers, concrete and even treated timber. Whatever you choose to use just ensure that the barrier is sunk deep enough into the ground so that the grass is inhibited from growing underneath the barrier.
Soft borders can include what is commonly known as an English border or space edge. Essentially, this is a shallow ditch dug right in between the garden bed and the lawn. With this option, any grass runners or weeds can be easily seen and dealt with. You could also use a non-selective herbicide to create a deliberate bare patch between the lawn and the garden bed – just be careful of any overspray.
The choice of barrier or edging is a personal one and will be determined by your garden design, your budget and how much maintenance you are prepared to undertake.