Forestry Commission logo

Long Grass and Wild Flowers

Grass areas are often mown on a regular basis to provide informal play areas, yet long grass and wild flower planting can also provide habitat and play space.

How to create

  • Aim to manage grass areas around play spaces with different mowing regimes. Long grass is great for playing in, pulling out to make a ‘bird’s nest’, or throwing when cut and it can attract butterflies, grasshoppers and other insects that children love to watch. 
  • In addition, mixing grass areas with wild flowers provides other great play benefits. Select a wildflower mix suitable for your site location; there are many mixtures that might be used including general purpose, woodland, hedgerow, wetland, sand, loam, calcareous and clay mixtures. Be careful that you don’t inadvertently end up introducing a seed mixture that is not welcomed into an existing protected habitat (SSSI).
  • There are two main types of wildflower / grass seed types:
  • Spring flowering: Cut at end of June, rake up hay and remove or leave for play. Might include primrose, daisy, bugle, lady’s smock, cowslip, fritillary, lesser stitchwort.
  • Summer flowering: Cut at end of September. Might include harebell, field scabious, meadow buttercup, musk mallow, knapweed.
  • Long grass might not be advisable in areas where ticks are prevalent.

Useful contacts

Many web sites offer advice and direct ordering, for example see


Last updated: 8th March 2016

England's Woods and Forests are cared for by Forest Enterprise England, an agency of the Forestry Commission.