How to Properly Grow a Lawn

Happy lawn
Anna Om /

The front lawn of every home speaks a lot about the owner. Normally you’d want to yours to be worthy of a magazine feature. It’s not easy to achieve such lawn, but it’s not impossible as well.

You’d have to invest a considerable amount of time and money in order to achieve that perfect green turf worthy of your neighbours’ envy. We’ve consulted with our professional gardeners on how you can do it.  In this lawn guide, we will go through the basic steps you need to take in order to grow your perfect green lawn.

Pick the right kind of soil

The perfect type of soil to grow a beautiful lawn
funnyangel /

In order to properly grow your grass, it is important to pay special attention to the soil. You should know what type of soil will be best for a flourishing turf, how to control the pH of the ground, and how to plant the seeds and help them turn into strong grass blades. Therefore, we are sharing with you here the most essential lawn tips, which will help you develop lush green grass.

What soil is the best for your lawn

The appropriate soil will help tremendously with growing healthy green turf. As the grass takes its nutrients from the soil, you have to know how to measure and control the pH.

A soil suited solely for the needs of growing grass would be a mixture of sand, clay and silt. Also known as loam soil. Here is what you need to know:

Soil types:

Sand is a great fit for all kinds of grass because of its ability to warm quickly and it’s fairly easy to cultivate. However, some of the bad sides of sand are that it should be strictly managed because it tends to wash out quickly and it doesn’t retain water very well.

Clay is a type of heavy soil. When wet it becomes very sticky and it’s amazing for water retaining. It’s very rich in nutrients and also has the smallest soil particle in the mixture.

Silt is a powdery substance that helps with the thickening of the soil.

Loam soil is the perfect fit for your lawn because soils rich in sand have good drainage. The loam soil is good at retaining nutrients and providing good airflow for the grass, which is one of the most important things when growing your green lawn.

How to test the soil

We suggest you test the soil before start planting grass seeds. While testing, you can also plan how you are going to use the lawn. Note any high travel areas, shady spots and places where you may use it for recreational purposes. All of these places can be potential patches or yellow spots. Here is how to test the soil:

  1. The first step is to mix the nutrients and create suitable soil.
  2. There are inexpensive soil test kits in almost any garden centre. A pH test kit will cost you around $10 – $20 AUD.
  3. In order to have the best possible results, you should gather around 20 different soil samples and let them dry on newspapers.
  4. Put the collected soil in test kit containers and send them to a testing facility.

How to read soil test results

One of the most important things that you need to know when reading soil test results is the pH level. The scale goes from 0 to 14. With 7 being Neutral, anything below it is acidic and anything above – alkaline.

All kinds of greenery prefer the soil to be on the acidic side of the scale. Nutrients are better absorbed in acidic soils. Of course, it shouldn’t be as low as three or four. The perfect acidity is around 6 to 7.

If you find out that your soil isn’t suitable for growing that perfect lawn, you can fix it yourself:

  • For soil that is too acidic, you can add limestone to increase the sweetness.
  • If your soil is more on the alkaline side, then you can use leaves as mulch or add sulphur.

The nutrients in the lawn soil are very important. However, there is one small problem. The levels of nutrients change quickly and there is no way to measure the amounts correctly. Instead, once the grass starts growing, make sure you observe it daily. That way you can have the most accurate notion of what’s going on in your yard.

Another important thing to know is if the layering of the soil is good. Make sure you reverse the soil. Otherwise, there is no sure way there is an equal amount of nutrients all around the soil to sustain a healthy lawn grass.

Prepare the soil for lawn planting

In order to thrive, the grass will need a nice and clean environment. You can dedicate an hour or two to clean the area and prepare the soil for the seeds. Here are the main steps you can take:

  • Clean the lawn from any debris – Remove any rocks, wood, dead leaves or any other debris that might be on the ground. Any debris should be removed and properly disposed so they won’t get in the way.
  • Loosen the soil – It’s very important to turn the soil, at least 10-15 cm. That way you’ll open space for the seeds to fall deeper into the ground.
  • Remove any big clumps of soil and even the area – Break them. Anything that is larger than the half of your fist is too big. Also, sometimes there might be stones covered in dirt that need to go. Use a rake to make the area even, so there are no big or small holes.
  • Starter fertilizers are always a good idea – Use a fertilizer before you start seeding to give more nutrients in the ground.

Plant the grass seeds correctly

How to plant grass seeds
kram9 /

After you’ve decided on creating a beautiful lawn, then you should know how to plant the grass correctly.

If, by any chance, you are having trouble deciding on a specific type of grass, then certainly check our post on How to Choose the Best Grass Type for Your Lawn. You can find all the specifics about the most popular kinds like Kikuyu, Zoysia grass and more.

Which is the best time for planting grass

The season plays an important role when planting a new lawn. Are you planting during Spring? Or, are you doing it in the Autumn? Both can result in good lawns, however, there are some differences in the ways you grow the seeds.

  • Spring grass planting demands more time before you start applying weed control chemicals. You should wait for at least three mowings before you start using them.
  • Autumn grass planting requires some careful planning. It’s extremely important for the seeds to germinate completely before the ground freezes.

How to plant a new lawn

Depending on the lawn there are different ways to seed it. When planting a lawn from scratch, meaning there is just soil and no growing grass, there are some rules that should be followed in order to ensure healthy growth for your lawn and proper density of the grass.

  • Plant around 15 seeds for every 6 square centimetres – If you overseed an area, seeds will end up fighting for space and nutrition, which will cause thin grass. You can either use a lawn spreader or do the job by hand. The difference is that the lawn spreader will do the job faster. However, if you are planting on any area that is too small for a lawn spreader, better stick to manual work.
  • After putting the seeds in the soil you should cover them with dirt – This should be done gently, as not to hurt the seeds. It’s important not to cover the seeds with more that ⅙ of a centimetre of soil.
  • Keep the grass bed moist in order to increase the germination – Daily watering is needed until the grass is at least five centimetres high. Also, it’s important to keep the roots moist.

Daily watering is needed until the grass is at least five centimetres high. Also, it’s important to keep the roots moist.

How to overseed your current lawn

However, in case you already have a lawn but don’t like the look of it,  you don’t have to completely remove the whole grass. You can improve its look through overseeding. Here’s what you have to do if you want to plant grass seeds on an existing lawn:

  • Clean up the lawn – Any debris should be removed so they won’t get in the way.
  • Mow as short as possible – Before you start doing anything to the lawn, you should cut the grass as low as possible. That way you will ensure that most seeds will fall on the ground, and not on top of the leaves.
  • Loosen the soil in bare spots – The places that have no growing grass should be loosened up. That way the seeds will fall deeper into the soil.
  • Seed – After you’ve prepared the lawn, make sure to seed the places you see fit.

Mow the lawn the right way

How to mow a lawn the right way
topseller /

Once the grass starts growing, cutting it properly becomes the number one priority. Many homeowners ruin their lawns not by watering incorrectly, but by mowing the wrong way. No need to worry, though, we have a list with the basic lawn mowing tips to remember below!

A common mistake is to cut the grass lower than it should be, which leads to turf damages, brownish grass and an unhealthy looking lawn. To avoid all of this, make sure to mow the grass no lower than ⅓ of its size.

Other important rules on how to mow a lawn correctly:

  • Always mow when the grass is dry. Either cut the grass early in the morning or late afternoon. Never in the heat of the day.
  • Mow differently every time. Change the pattern in order to keep the soil even. Also, grass leans towards the direction that you mow it in. Different patterns will result in a more upright grass.
  • Clippings are good. Leave them in normal quantities. As long as they don’t form clumps, clippings are a great way to add compost to your lawn.
  • Don’t mow as much next to trees and shaded areas. In these places, grass has to fight for more nutrients and light, so it’s better to leave it longer.
  • Always keep the blades of the mower sharp.
  • A good rule is to buy 2 blades and use the sharp one, while the other is being sharpened.

Enjoying a lush and green lawn is hard at first, but once you get to the upkeep stage it all becomes a bit easier. Of course, you can always ask a professional for lawn care advice or assistance on the beginning stages, in order to fully maximise your chances of having a beautiful turf and avoid mistakes.

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Michael Foley
Michael Foley
3 years ago

Thank you so much for this!

Lawn Mowing Specialist
Lawn Mowing Specialist
3 years ago

The ultimate lawn care and mowing secret it comes down to simply one thing: Keep the grass long and cut often. For a thick and lush lawn only remove one third of the leaf per mow and mow regularly. Most people cut their lawns too short for two reasons: 1) They don’t like mowing so they don’t mow as often as they should. 2) They justify over cutting by thinking that the lower the cut the longer it will take before they have to mow again. Unfortunately, grass has different ideas. In nature, animals that graze tend only to eat… Read more »

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