Everyone loves wildlife-friendly gardens, crammed with birds, bees and butterflies, and have cut back massively on pesticides. But lawns are a different story for far too many people.

These neatly-manicured, emerald-green relics of yesteryear still reign supreme. Every spring, green-fingered squads come to sort the lawn, douse it with unnamed herbicides and fertilisers. Poor hapless daisies succumb to the onslaught, as does the life beneath.

The lawn then becomes a deadly monocultural desert for wildlife, not an integral part of a sus-tainable eco-friendly garden. Instead of hosting a range of grass species, daisies, clover and yarrow, a uniform green prevails. Our love of colour, shape, scent and texture ends where the lawn begins.

I simply can’t understand why this should happen. A lawn is a vital food source for many in-sects, and countless invertebrates we can’t even see.

Moth caterpillars, butterfly larvae and flea beetles feed on blades of grass. They in turn fall vic-tim to spiders and rove beetles. Earthworms, nematode worms, fly larvae and springtails con-sume and recycle decaying vegetation.

And blackbirds, thrushes, starlings and wagtails enjoy the security of an open, freshly mown lawn to dine on these tiny creatures. And, incidentally, we’ve a place for deckchairs, loungers and tables.

But with a large enough lawn, you could widen its appeal with differing mowing regimes. One part could have a monthly haircut. This lets some plants flower at different times of year. Hov-erflies, butterflies and bees use nectar from daisies, black medick and self-heal while I’m enjoy-ing the flowers. And nectar-rich white clover is a nitrogen-fixer, so makes a free lawn feed.

You could leave a third spot to its own devices and brighten it up by planting wildflower plugs. Give it an annual strim and rake up the vegetation.

I’m not suggesting a wild, unkempt jungle: every part of the garden is maintained and this ap-plies equally to a grassed area. For starters, a lawn, however long the grass, should be clearly defined, as are beds, rockeries and herb gardens. A clean, neatly cut edge is essential.

And if you’re treating parts of the lawn differently, clearly delineate them, so it’s obvious what you’re doing. This adds an extra dimension to your garden design. When sitting in a neatly mown patch, watch bees and hoverflies nearby, with longer grasses and flowers in the back-ground.

And why not mow a maze to provide endless entertainment for your children or grandchildren? You could change the layout at the monthly shearing.

Apply these eco-friendly principles everywhere in the garden and try extending this invertebrate-friendly approach to your neighbourhood. Pressure from council tax payers should nudge coun-cils in the right direction.

Local authorities buy approximately 36% of the pesticides used in the UK. But for the last 17 years, 15 city parks in the U.S. city of Seattle have been completely pesticide-free and damag-ing neonicotinoids have been banned in all the city parks. Since 2015, it’s been designated Bee City.

I’ve just received the results of a major 25 year study in the French city of Rennes. Since the 1990’s the Council has used no pesticides and different mowing regimes. Researchers found that monthly mowing had little effect but an annual cut dramatically increased the richness of plant diversity and invertebrates.

This benefit was especially true when the first cut was delayed till early July. And despite fears to the contrary, the public was happy with the policy in restricted areas where they rarely walked.

So, it’s great that cities, like Glasgow are now managing 30 sites as traditional grasslands, and are incorporating nectar-rich species in formal plantings.

Plant of the week

Pulmonaria ruby ‘Barfield Pink’. A very pretty Pulmonaria with pink and white striped flowers that are a valuable nectar source for early insects. Grows well in damp, shady places; its leaves are unspotted.