Guide to Starting a New Lawn Guide to Starting a New Lawn

We all dream of the perfect lawn: lush, green and weed-free. However, achieving this requires some important initial "ground work."

Soil preparation is definitely the key to achieving a beautiful lawn, along with good drainage and contouring. So, before you commence with any seeding or sod laying you must examine the quality of your soil and check the pH.

Soil testing kits can be bought, which are easy to use and will ascertain the soil quality, determining what, if anything, will need to be added to balance it up. If you prefer to have it professionally tested, you can enlist the services of an independent soil-testing lab. When taking samples for testing, you may need to take random samples from around 10 to 15 places to a depth of about 3 to 5 inches and then mix all the samples together. This will give you a good representation of the full area - although if your soil appears to be the same over the whole area, with no specific problem areas, it may only be necessary to take one sample.

Planting the Lawn

Once you have ascertained the quality of your soil, it is time to begin preparing it. You will need to remove any debris from the surface area such as, sticks, stones, old roots, weeds, etc and then level the land. The soil will then need to be broken up and turned over with the aid of a rototiller to a depth of at least 6 inches. The rototiller will obviously bring more debris to the surface, which will also need to be removed.

If you have problem soil, such as heavy clay, this is the time to add any soil improvers to break it up, along with fertilizer. Continue to mix with the rototiller and then gently rake over the surface area and roll to firm the soil. Finish off by giving a final and gentle rake.

The next important stage in your new lawn is to decide whether to use sod or seed and which type and quality to buy. Laying sod is obviously quicker and produces an instant lawn; seeding is cheaper but offers a wider variety of grass types. It may be that you live in a particularly hot climate and need drought-resistant grass; you may want a top quality show lawn, or a durable area for children to play on. The type of lawn you require will determine the type and quality of grass needed.

The next step is to measure out the lawn area to determine how many square feet or meters of coverage you require. If using sod, ensure that it looks healthy before putting it down. Once down, roll with a lawn roller. Seed can be sown by hand or with the aid of a spreader. Always check coverage instructions on the seed box or sack, before commencing. Choose a calm day and cover the area evenly, finishing with a thin layer of soil on the top.

Once down, your new lawn will require regular watering until it has established itself. During this time period, it may also be necessary to fence off the area to prevent animals and children from walking on it.

It may seem like a lot of hard work to achieve the perfect lawn, but the correct preparation right from the outset is crucial in achieving that goal. This allows you to have a lawn that suits your individual requirements and, at the same time, stays looking good for years to come.

Read on to learn more about Starting a Lawn from Seed.

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