- Manisha Lath Gupta
Permaculture Design: Building Lawns
Updated: Apr 12, 2021
Lawns are very wasteful spaces, and no where in permaculture will you be advised to make a lawn. We were not keen on building a large lawn at this farm, fancy as it may look, because lawns guzzle huge amounts of water without giving anything in return. Moreover, lawns are not native to India. They grow naturally in the UK, and the British introduced them in India when they ruled over us, because they had a 'lawn hangover'. In the UK big grassy knolls showed off the property ownership and social status of the gentry. In addition to all the other 'colonial hangovers' Indians have, having a big lawn is one more!
However, since we were spending almost all our holidays at Aanandaa, there was a constant request from the children to give them at least some flat area where they could kick around a ball and play with each other.
The area next to the Outhouse, and close to the Haudi was a stony unattractive space because the entire excavated earth from the Tube well digging was dumped here. We spread the stones to level the land, and added some soil excavated while digging the pools to create a flat area and lawn next to the Outhouse. The children could now play here under our supervision.
While resettling the soil from digging the pools, we chose an area next to the channel, where water would often flood as it was relatively low lying. This area with its resettled soil became a natural choice to make another lawn, and provide some seating area for guests, and for the family picnic we have ever so often. This lawn, with its dotted trees, its wrought iron benches and the Ganesha statue has become an oasis in this permaculture forest.
I would not waste too much area making lavish lawns, but a few sitting areas definitely give visual relief and add charm to the farm.