Create a Perfect Lawn from Scratch
If you have dogs don’t bother reading. I’ve been there done it and given up. (Or get fake grass)A perfect lawn is coveted by many homeowners as it signifies a cared for home and wealth while providing a luxurious base for all al fresco activities. Sometimes, achieving a lush green manicured landscape is a little more difficult than simply scattering seed or treating an existing lawn with fertiliser, that’s why we’ve brought you tips on how to create the perfect lawn from scratch.
Dump the Debris
Many people start a new lawn when an extension has been carried out or they move into a new home. That’s when rubble can get in the way. Make sure you remove all stones, rocks and even pebbles if you can before applying an industrial strength weed killer (available from good hardware or country shops).It can take a month for them to die completely but if you only have a few, just dig them up by the roots to save time.
Turning Over a New Leaf
Next you need to turn over the soil. The best tool for this is a petrol rotavator that you can hire from many tool shops. The trick is to maintain as much topsoil as you can.
Rotavate as deep as 20cm working in rows up and down until you have covered the whole area and then change by 90 degrees and repeat the process. At this point its advisable to check the type of soil you have. Take some of the soil in your hand and squeeze it, if it holds together as one homogenous lump you have a soil with high clay content. Grass prefers a sandy loam soil.
Rake to remove any remaining stones that are larger than a small pebble. Make sure you dispose of any surplus soil as it will just get in the way. Use a rake to level out you can use a spirit level and a plank to check the evenness.
Now is the point you need to add suitable loam (Do not be tempted to use topsoil) or you may be putting back the same as you have already. As a rule of thumb use a loam that has a high sand content and buy from a specialist company- you need to add at least 50mm in depth
For an area 5m x 5m @ 50mm deep you will need 2 cubic metres or 2 metric tonnes.
Going the whole hog
If the area is just solid clay and has standing water through the winter months and you are looking to achieve a Bowling Green type lawn. Doing all this will not make a huge difference. For- perfection and if the area is not too large, or you may have a large budget, consider removing 250mm of the soil and have it carted away. (If you have easy
access for machinery this is not a huge task a Mini digger with a grading bucket will usually do nicely) This will enable you to incorporate under soil drainage or even heating if you so desire. You can do this by adding a layer of permeable landscaping fabric and then a 100mm layer of crushed stone prior to adding the new loam. You may also need to consider adding some under soil drainage pipes to channel the water away to a ditch or soak away or even collecting it in a large underground water harvesting tank to use for irrigation during the summer months. ha ha
Assuming you have got to this point using either of the options above
Now add a fertiliser to feed the soil, sprinkle all over at the prescribed rate and rake it into the surface. Now roll the surface using a heavy garden roller. It’s often useful to let the area settle on its own for a few weeks you can keep watering it to help the process. Any weeds or unwanted growth can easily be removed.
After the area has settled gently rake the surface and apply a further layer of loam this is best applied using a lute a specialist hand tool it will allow you level out any imperfections before seeding.
Sowing for Success
You may need to do a little research to decide which grass seed is right for your lifestyle, however as a general rule:
Short grasses, such as a dwarf rye grass provides the perfect base for a hard wearing lawn. This is popular with families as the lawn will withstand a lot of play before looking unkempt!
If you don’t expect a lot of traffic on your lawn, you could choose a finer blade, such as fescue, which is often used in stately homes to give the “perfectly manicured lawn” effect.
Buy your seeds from a lawn seed specialist there are hundreds of different variety’s to suit all types of intended use.
It’s best to sow the seed between April and October, Its better to use a seed-spreading machine as Different seeds will have different ratios for sowing. Pick a dry day when its not too windy otherwise you will find grass growing in all the places you don’t want it.
Rake in very lightly once you’ve finished, the seed doesn’t need to be deep at all.
Establishing Your Lawn
Naturally rain water is the best thirst quencher for seed, however if, after 48 hours the heavens haven’t opened, turn on the sprinklers! They need a good water that penetrates 2cm below the soil (you can judge this by placing a tray to catch some of the sprinkler water) so that when the roots form, they have a drink to quench their thirst.
Resist the urge to walk on your lawn until it is 5 centimeters long. Once it looks ready for its first trim, make sure your mower has very sharp blades as it may pull the delicate new grass out by the roots.
If you have dogs and are still keen to go ahead with this despite the warnings. Fence of the new lawn area with 2 rows of 8ft high chain link fence and top it with razor wire. Outside this put up an electric fence and build a Watch tower you could use Railway Sleepers for this. (see our artice -link at the bootom of the page) Then finally man the tower 24/7 at least this way you may stand haff a chance.
Sit back and enjoy or see our guide on maintaining your perfect lawn!