To create a prize winning lawn you have to go above and beyond the basic maintenance tasks.
The first job is to slash the lawn to aerate it and loosen up the soil that has been squashed down hard after years of use. Lawn aerators have blades that knife down into the ground, letting in air and helping rainwater to drain away. Aerating is very similar to the treatment used on football pitches after matches as sports turf obviously receives harder wear than your standard domestic garden. Hand aerators are available, but powered ones are much less effort – some mowers can be fitted with special attachments so the grass is aerated at the same time as you mow.
Once aeration is complete, the lawn will require a top dressing. Bags of ready-made lawn top dressing are best for this or alternatively bags of seed compost can be used. Top dressing should be scatterd about 0.5cm thick all over the lawn and spread with a rake. A besom broom is then used to work the dressing into the surface and it should disappear between the blades of grass and not bury them.
Lawn maintenance can be exhausting, but you will definitely notice a big difference in the coming weeks if done properly.
If your lawn has been abused by years of heavy use and neglect it may be worth re-laying the lawn to bring your garden back to life. A quality well-kept lawn can make time spent in the garden during the summer months more enjoyable and at the same time add value to your home. It takes time to create a new lawn, but if done properly a new lawn will last a life time.
There are two options available when looking to create a lawn; lay pre-grown turf or grow your lawn from seed. There are pros and cons to both methods but whatever option you decide upon, the advance preparation needs to be done thoroughly.
Turf is the quickest method and should be laid from autumn to spring, except when the ground is frozen or muddy. Laying turf in late spring or summer is risky business as it may not ‘take’ properly in hot weather and will need a lot of water just to keep it alive. The best option is to lay in autumn as the lawn won’t be used during the winter months, giving it time to ‘settle’ in.
The downside to turfing is that it can be expensive as decent turf costs roughly as much as carpet. Depending on the size of your lawn it can also be very time consuming.
If you decide to buy pre-grown turf than the best type we recommend to use is cultivated turf. Meadow turf is cheaper but is often full of weeds and a job lot may contain a few turves that cannot be used because they have bare patches or are of uneven thickness. The most important thing to remember when buying turf is to consider the intended purpose of your lawn. If your lawn is to be used as a playground for the kids or if you have a dog; buying expensive turf would not be advised.
When you think of growing grass from seed you will probably think that it takes too long, as you have to stay off it for months while it grows. This is true, but if you sow in the autumn, you will have a perfectly usable lawn come the spring. This is definitely a good option to consider especially as you probably wont be using your lawn much during the winter anyway.
Sowing during the spring time is also possible but it will take around 3 months before you have a usable lawn; just at the time of the year when you want to use it most. If a spring start is your only option then buying turf would be the way to go.
Choosing seed over turf gives you a greater freedom to choose the type of lawn that best suits your needs as you can select a variety of seed that’s perfect for your situation. You can get grass seed that suits dry of shady positions, or which jas wildflower seeds already mixed into it. For family use, choose a hard-wearing mixture containing one of the modern ornamental ryegrasses like ‘Hunter’. They look good and don’t send up spikey seed-heads.
A lawn is the garden background to everything from starter homes to huge country estates. The quality of your lawn can make or break your garden and if you are considering a new lawn you have 2 options available. You can either lay turf or you can grow the grass from seed.
If you are planning on growing your lawn from seed, as opposed to buying in pre-grown turf, then here is a step by step guide on how to seed a lawn.
Fork the ground over and use your feet to trample it down and level the earth using a rake. If you want a fine lawn, choose a seed mixture without ryegrass or if your lawn with receive heavier use, use a hard-wearing seed that has dwarf ryegrass.
Sprinkle the seed at a rate of 50g per square meter. Use canes to create a square meter template that you can lay on the ground to help you spread the seed at the correct rate. A good idea is to measure out the desired amount in a plastic cup and put a mark on the cup so you can get the right amount of seed each time you fill it up.
Rake in the seed. Lay twiggy pea sticks or plastic netting over the soil to prevent cats and birds from eating the freshly laid seed. Water the soil in dry weather. Cut the grass in 2-3 weeks when it has grown to approximately 2.5cm in height.
If you have recently had a new lawn laid then there are a few things to bear in mind to ensure that the investment in your property lasts well into the future. There is no reason why a newly laid lawn shouldn’t last a life time as long as you take good care of it during the early growth stages.
Whether your new lawn was laid using turf or grown from seed, here are few tips to remember after the lawn as been laid:
• You should need to water a new lawn only if there is no rain for several days after sowing or turfing; do so thoroughly, then leave it a few days before doing it again. You need to water a new lawn only until the grass is about 2.5cm (1 inch) tall, and turf no longer lifts up if you try to peel back a corner
• Upright weeds like groundsel will die out naturally as soon as you start mowing a new lawn regularly.
• Don’t use lawn weedkiller on newly sown lawns until they are over six months old. New turf can be treated as soon as it is properly rooted and starting to grow.
When planning a lawn there are several considerations that should be taken into account before any work begins. Lawns can be neat and crisp, and grown solely for its lush green appearance, or you may prefer a less than perfect lawn which could be used for children to play on. Types of lawn depend upon the your lifestyle and the size and layout of the garden.
There are two main groups of grass to choose from:
• Tussock-forming grasses (which grow into a clump, but do not spread very much)
• Creeping grasses, which spread
Simple lawn shapes, such as circles, squares or rectangles, have more visual impact in a small or medium sized garden than too many fussy edges. Long, narrow lawns will draw the eye along the length of the lawn and this can be used to highlight a feature at the far end of the lawn.
Shapes and positioning of the lawn should be carefully planned so that all areas of the lawn receive sunlight at some point during the day. Lawns should not be planted next to buildings as the turf will not receive as much water as the rest of the lawn
Edges can help to create a border to the lawns, paths, driveways and garden beds. Curved edges create a more relaxed effect as opposed to straight edges which a create a formal effect. A well defined border with strong lines creates a definite boundary within a garden.
Edges can be created using a variety of materials including timber, brick and concrete. Edging a lawn can help with mowing because the mower can be pushed over the edge of the lawn.
Totally flat lawns don’t drain well and the grass growth is poor (particularly in heavier soils). If soil isn’t sandy, sub-surface drainage is necessary for a quality lawn.
Flat ground will produce the most uniform sward, so it is well worth taking the time to level the ground thoroughly at the start. The ground for a lawn should be flat but not necessarily level; a slight incline or slope on a lawn is acceptable and often an attractive feature.
If you have little time to maintain a lawn, then a synthetic grass would be a good option as it does not require any maintenance and will still look just as effective.
A lawn can be a major element of a gardens design and acts as the perfect foil to show off flower beds. The key to creating a quality lawn is by properly preparing the ground beforehand; this requires time and effort to get right first time around as it will be much harder to iron out any problems when there is grass covering the ground. Turf can take quite a long time to lay, but once complete, a properly laid lawn will last a lifetime.
If you decide to buy in turf instead of growing your lawn using seed, a good recommendation would be to buy cultivated turf as its ideal for creating a quality lawn. Meadow turf is cheaper but is often full of weeds and a job lot may contain a few turves that cannot be used because they have bare patches or are of uneven thickness.
Whatever type of turf you decide on, here is a quick how-to guide to assist you with laying a new lawn using turf.
Prepare the ground by forking it over and removing weed growth. Rake the area level and then trample it down with your feet before raking it level again. Ensure that the ground is firm and even before you begin laying turf.
Buy quality turf and lay it as soon after it’s delivered as possible. Firm it into place by patting it down with your hands. Always work forwards and place a plank of wood over the turf you have just laid to support your weight.
Stagger the joints like you would when laying bricks and make sure that the turves are tightly butted together. There should not be any cracks visible on your lawn. If dry weather follows, water frequently to encourage the grass to establish.
Keeping a lawn in tip-top condition doesn’t need to be hard work but it will take more than just the occasional mow. To ensure your lawn looks at it best throughout the year, it will need the occasional feed and the inevitable problems with weeds or moss will need to be addressed.
Little and often is the best way to mow. It not only keeps the grass looking tidy, but also eradicates a lot of weeds without having to resort to using weedkiller. During the spring and summer, the blades on a mower should be set to cut the grass to a length of 2.5 cm (1inch) in height. If the weather is dry then you should leave the grass about another centimetre higher at 3.5cm. This will help the grass get through a drought and stay lush.
If your grass hasn’t been cut for sometime then you should not cut the grass as short, instead just cut it too half the height and keep cutting closer over the next few weeks until its back to normal. This will ensure it stays green and leafy.
Feeding should take place after the lawn has been mown, especially for lawns that get a lot of use. This will help the grass to replace itself faster than it wears out.
Feeding should begin in spring once the worst of the bad weather is over and the grass is starting to grow faster. A feed high in nitrogen should be used throughout spring and summer as it will encourage lots of leafy growth. If you don’t have time to mow your lawn regularly you may choose to use an autumn lawn feed, as the grass won’t grow so quickly.
If you only want to feed the lawn once a year, then this should be done in late spring. If you are after quality then you may want to use a more expensive, slow-release feed or feed the lawn every 6-8 weeks from late spring until mid-summer.
The majority of weeds will be killed during mowing, however, rosette weeds such as daisies or plantain and creeping weeds such as speedwell and trefoil will need to be treated using weedkiller.
Rosette weeds are best attacked using lawn weedkillers and you can use either granular weedkillers or a liquid version that can be applied using a watering can.
Creeping weeds can be more difficult to treat and to get the best results with these you need to use liquid lawn killers that are designed specifically for small-leaved weeds.
Even the best kept lawns are susceptible to moss but if it’s a constant problem it may be due to the lawn having poor drainage or being in the shade for a lot of the time. Moss can be difficult to deal with and often the best option is to apply mosskiller twice a year during spring and autumn and use a powered lawn raker to comb out the dead moss.
Feeding is also advised to encourage the grass to colonize any bare patches that moss may find its way into.
A garden should have good drainage as an overly wet landscape can create problems as its unhealthy for plant life and for humans as well as creating potential safety hazards.
Excess water can be prevented by ensuring that rainwater moves through the topsoil quickly. Once through, it will need to be removed from the subsoil either by passing to even deeper layers or by collecting it in drains that flow away from the site.
There are several ways to test a soils drainage abilities; the most affective way is to dig a hole about 1 foot deep in the desired test location. Then fill with water and allow it to drain completely. Immediately after, refill the pit and measure the depth of the water with a ruler. 15 minutes later, measure the drop in water in inches, and multiply by 4 to calculate how much water drains in an hour.
Less than 1 inch per hour is poor drainage, indicating the site may stay wet for periods during the year. Plants that don’t tolerate poor drainage will suffer. 1 to 6 inches of drainage per hour is desirable. Soils that drain faster than 6 inches per hour have excessive drainage, and you should consider choosing plants that tolerate dry conditions and “droughty” soils.
Drainage can be improved in a number of ways. These include:
• Increasing the infiltration rate of water into the soil by improving the permeability of the soil. There are several ways in which this can be achieved; cultivation, mixing in soil additives (e.g. sand) and chemical treatments (e.g. lime)
• The provision of sub-surface drainage to facilitate removal of water from the soil, e.g. drainage pipes. There are many types of pipe to consider including those constructed from materials such as clay, corrugated plastic, fibreglass and PVC. Pipes are usually placed at a depth of around 600mm and the distance between them can be adjusted according to the type of soil.
• Managing surface water runoff effectively and efficiently. This can be simply achieved by sloping surfaces within the landscape so that the surface water is directed to an area where it can be efficiently disposed of (e.g. a surface drain)
When creating a drainage system, its important to check any council regulations that may be in place as well as considering how it will affect other drainage patterns already in place. The drainage system should also be designed to withstand the amount of water that may result from heavy rainfall in the local area.
Our garden maintenance packages include a professional lawn care service that ensures your lawn remains at its best throughout the year. There are many benefits of having your lawn under our professional care including:
The main advantage to our clients is the aesthetic appeal that having a healthy lawn brings. Excellent quality lawns are very pleasing on the eye and make for a great place to relax and entertain guests during the summer months.
A well landscaped garden can add between 15%-20% to your properties value and if you ever decide to sell your home, a nice garden is seen as a huge selling point.
During the summer months children loving playing outdoors, especially on the lawn, and anything that gets them away from all the electrical devices they now have at their disposable, any reason to get them out in the fresh air should definitely be encouraged.
A 225m2 grass area will create enough oxygen to meet the needs of a family of four, every day. Acting like a gigantic sponge, lawns absorb all types of airborne pollutants such as dust and carbon dioxide, as well as noise. Less weeds means less weed pollen; a relief to those with allergies.
Grass is the perfect medium to link all the other plants around it. An expanse of green will harmoniously connect any of the colours that border it.
Lawns prevent erosion by water or wind and the loss of valuable topsoil.
A healthy lawn can absorb up to 4-6 times more rainfall than farm fields, returning the moisture back into the water table. A University study showed that thick lawns can slow the velocity of run-off and allow the water to infiltrate 15 times better from a high quality lawn than from a patchy lawn with a lot of weeds.
…use stepping stones or build a path in places where you will need to walk regularly, this avoids wearing out the lawn.
…mow your lawn on a regular basis – grass keeps growing slowly even in winter if the weather is mild.
…lay a patio in a sunny spot where you want to use garden furniture or a barbecue, as extensive use in one area of your lawn will cause significant damage.
…use lawn feeds in showery weather, as they need watering in. In dry conditions lawn feeds can actually burn the grass, so avoid using them when the soil is dry.
…choose your time very carefully to use combined feed and weed products to get the best of both worlds. Always read the instructions first. For best results, apply when it is not likely to rain for at least 12 hours, and water them in if it does not rain after 24 hours.
…wait for liquid lawn products to dry or until granular ones are watered in before allowing pets or children to play on a treated lawn.
…let autumn leaves pile up over the lawn; rake them up, otherwise the grass turns yellow underneath and fungal diseases can set in.
…walk or push barrows over the lawn when it is muddy as this creates ruts that set solid later, making mowing very difficult.
…walk on grass in frosty weather.
…use mosskillers or weedkillers in rainy weather as they need to remain on the moss or weeds for at least 12 hours to be effective; they are taken in through the leaves, not the roots.
…put grass clippings on the compost heap for the first 4 or 5 cuts after using lawn weedkiller. Compost them separately, then use under a hedge or around shrubs, not where you grow flowers or vegetables, which are more sensitive to weedkillers.
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