To Lawn or Not to Lawn:
In my last article I discussed planning and designing a garden for beginners. I left out one of the most important parts of the garden, the lawn. I thought it important that a whole section should be devoted to this topic. Starting a new lawn is not an easy project to undertake. There are decisions that have to be made. I’ve listed some of these below.
1. Do I actually want a lawn.
2. If I do want to make my lawn green, how will I go about this.
3. Will I seed my lawn
4, Will I lay Turf.
5. What sort of seed or Turf should I use.
6. How do I prepare the soil ready for my lawn.
I have tried once again to keep this discussion at a basic level so that it will be easier for the beginner gardener to grasp the fundamentals of starting a new lawn.
Do I actually want a Lawn:
That probably sounds like a funny question to ask on an article about building lawns. The point is that if you have decided to design say, a cottage garden, then there is a likely hood you won’t want any lawns. Very few cottage gardens have lawns as most are designed to be full of perennial and annual flowering plants with meandering pathways. If you have a container garden then you definitely won’t want a lawn. But, in most other cases a lawn is a mandatory part of the garden. Somewhere to rest, play or have picnics.
If I do want my Lawn Green, how will I go about this:
So you definitely want a lawn and you want it green. Well what other color could it possibly be. How do you go about this. Well you have several choices. These are:
For the sake of simplicity we will look at Seed and Turf. Clumps are sections of turf and plugs a small pieces of turf. The latter two methods are a bit more difficult to undertake and to maintain then the first two. Hence, we’ll leave them as they are probably not the best for beginner gardeners.
Will I seed My Lawn
At one time seeding a lawn was the only real option available and the main method used by garden designers. I can still remember my father, an avid gardener, preparing and seeding his lawn when I was only a small child.
There is a numerous variety of seed available for lawn development. The type of seed you purchase will depend on climatic conditions, soil conditions, sunny or shady conditions and personal preference. Just a few of the huge amount available are listed here.
4. Rye grass
5. Fine Fescue
6. Tall fescue
What type of seed you use will depend upon the factors I listed above. It would be best, should you decide to take this course, to see your local garden center and ask for there advice. They will be aware of, and stock, the required seed.
Because this Article travels all over the world through the Internet. I have tried to include grasses that are available in most area’s.
Also, as this article is for the beginner gardener, I won’t be going any further into seeding a lawn at this stage.
Will I Lay Turf.
This would be my preferred method of starting a new lawn for the beginner gardener. Half the job is already completed. The lawn, or turf as it is called, is already grown and ready for you lay.
Just like seed, you have numerous options available when it comes to turf varieties. Again, it all depends on your climatic conditions, soil type and personal preference. Some varieties available include.
These are just a few of the many types available.
Preparing the soil for your Turf.
Soil can be an issue for the beginner gardener. If you don’t get this part of the job correct there’s a good chance your lawn might struggle, or worse, die.
1. The first thing you will need to do is to remove any weed clumps that might be left, using your hoe. Make sure that no weeds are left on the site as these may come up through you turf and become a problem later.
2.The second item on the list will be to get your site nice and smooth. You will need to rake your lawn over using a metal rake. I prefer this as the prongs, or teeth, are stronger and will do the job a lot better. When raking you are looking to remove any remaining rocks and hard clods of dirt, along with tree roots and other foreign items. You may need to use your mattock to remove any difficult roots.
3. When you have completed the above tasks you will need to do a PH check on your soil. You can purchase a PH kit from any online garden site or from your local garden center. There will be directions on the kit to help you understand this better. Take several tests from varying parts of the site. This way you will get a more accurate diagnosis.
Ideally your readings should be between 6 to 6.5, if they are under 6 you will need to add dolomite or garden lime. The amount you add will depend on the pH level. Again, your packaging should give you directions on this. If your readings are above 6.5, you will need to add sulfate of ammonia or Agricultural sulfa at the relevant amount.
4. Now you are ready to add some fertilizer to the lawn. I prefer to use old, fine manures, but you can use available starter lawn fertilizers. Why do I say fine? Because the last thing you want is lumps under your turf. I find that the best manure for the job is old chicken manure. I can’t emphasis ‘old’, enough. If you were to put down fresh, or partly aged manure you stand a good chance of burning and killing your turf. Chicken manure is high in phosphate which is necessary for a good strong lawn. Spread the manure evenly over the whole site.
5. You can now, gently and, evenly, spread the manure over the lawn, incorporating it into the first inch (2.5 cms) of the soil. Make sure your soil is smooth and ready for laying turf. Now you will need to give the whole area a gentle watering.
Ready To Lay The Turf.
At this stage of the development you should have previously measured your site and purchased the turf variety that’s suitable for your area. You can now start rolling out the turf over the prepared surface of the site, starting from a straight edge. Make sure you unroll the turf gently to avoid any damage to the grass. At one point you will read the curved areas of any garden beds or paths you have built previously, using a large sharp knife, cut the turf to fit those curves.
When you have completely rolled out all the turf you can gently water it in. Make sure that you water the lawn on a regular basis until it has settled in. How often you water it will depend on the weather in your area. If it’s hot and dry then I’d probably give it a good soak twice a week. Less often for milder or cooler weather.
You Now Have a Lawn
You will now have completed your lawn and all that remains is to give it a month or so to settle down before you start enjoying it with your family. Remember that the lawn variety you will choose depends on several factors. Your climatic conditions, your soil and your preference. I have only listed a small amount of seed or turf available. There are many other variants available.
If you have any questions, I will do my best to answer them. Please leave a comment below on this article.