Creating a New Lawn

A new lawn can be made either by sowing seed or laying turf. The latter is more expensive but provides a usable lawn more quickly; the former enables you to choose your seed, depending on what use the lawn will be put to. If the lawn will be used primarily by children for playing, a strong mixture such as a rye grass selection should be used. For the average lawn you can buy an inexpensive mixture of several species without such broad blades of grass. Or you can purchase a flower seed/grass mix if you plan a garden meadow area. You can also purchase mixtures suitable for different types of soil and for shady conditions.

PREPARATION

Seed is best sown in September as this gives the lawn a chance to establish itself during the winter, when there is less likelihood of ‘traffic’ walking across it. Turf can be laid at any time of the year but is best done in the autumn or mid-spring. The preparation for lawns is the same for both seed and turf. As much care should be taken in preparing die soil as for any other part of the garden. It should be dug, raked, rolled, raked again, and the soil made fine, if necessary treating it with chemicals to reduce the perennial weeds (but sec also below). Raking and rolling should be undertaken when the ground is dry—never when it is wet.

SOWING SEED

Preparation should take place during the summer, so that continual cultivation of the site can eliminate weed seedlings. Do not use a hormone weedkiller at this stage as it will affect germination of the grass seed. Apply general fertilizer at the rate of 55g per square metre (2oz per sq yd) about ten days before sowing or turfing. Scatter the seed uniformly over the surface of the ground, if possible using a distributor; rake it in and if birds are likely to be a problem, net the area or use bird scarers. Always sow at the rate recommended by the supplier – fine seed will need many more seeds to the square metre than a coarser variety. Some seed is especially treated to be distasteful to birds. Water well if no rain falls. When the grass is about 4cm (1.5in) high, roll it lightly to consolidate the soil and then, in a dry spell, mow with the blade set high.

LAYING TURF

Laying turf is simple. First lay the turf around the edge of the site, so that you have the outline of the lawn. Then fill in the centre with turves, laying them as you would a brick wall—that is, interlocking so that lines do not run straight across. This can be done quite simply. Lift a turf on a fork and unfold each end, then press it into place firmly with the fork, tapping it down lightly afterwards. When you come to the end of a row, cut any surplus that lies over the edging turf with a sharp garden knife. Use pieces for filling in.

Always work facing the bare soil, so that your weight is on the grass you are laying. For this you need two planks; one to stand on and another to move forward. Using these prevents constant raking of the soil which you would otherwise tread on. A light rolling when the turf is laid helps to consolidate it, with a top dressing of soil or peat to fill in the joints. Before mowing, roll again and fill in any gaps. Then mow in the same way as for a grass-seeded lawn, with the blades set high.

Subsequent maintenance involves an annual top dressing of fertilizer, which can usually be applied at the same time as a selective weed-killer.

A well maintained lawn is well worth the time and money spent on it, as an attractive feature of any garden and a background to set off plants. Remember that flower beds created in a lawn will break up an open space and in the small garden will produce a fussy look rather than the open appearance you need to give a feeling of space.

17. May 2013 by admin
Categories: Featured, Garden Management, Top Tips | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on Creating a New Lawn

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