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 care guide, we will go through all the steps you will have to take in order to grow your perfect green lawn.
Basics of Lawn Care
In order to properly care for your lawn, you have to learn and understand the basics of caring for it. 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 care for them. All of this will help you grow a beautiful green lawn.
What Soil is Best for Your Lawn
The appropriate soil will help tremendously with growing a 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.
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 plants, which is one of the most important things when growing your green lawn.
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 nutrient rich and also the smallest soil particle in the mixture.
Silt is a powdery substance that helps with the thickening of the soil.
The first step is to mix the nutrients and create suitable soil. We suggest you test the soil before begin planting grass seeds.
There are inexpensive soil test kits in almost any garden centre. A pH test kit will cost you around $10 – $20 AUD.
When testing the soil, it’s a suitable time to 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.
In order to have the best possible results, you should gather around 20 different soil samples and let them dry on newspapers. Put the collected soil in the test kit containers and send them to a soil testing facility.
How to Read Soil Test Results
Reading soil test results from the lab can happen in two ways. You can either ask the professionals to interpret them for you. Or you can always do the googling and learn for yourself.
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 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 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 soil are very important. There is one small problem, however. 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.
How to Plant Grass Seeds Correctly
After you’ve decided on creating a beautiful lawn, then you should know how to plant the grass seeds correctly.
First, you’ll need to decide on the season. Are you planting during Spring? Or, are you going to plant in the Autumn? Both can result in good lawns, however, there are some differences in the ways you grow the seeds.
Spring grassplanting demands more time before you start applying weed control chemicals. You should wait for at least three mowings before you start using them.
For Autumn grassplanting you should plan accordingly. It’s extremely important for the seeds to germinate completely before the ground freezes.
Loosen the soil It’s very important to turn the soil. That way you’ll open space for the seeds to fall deeper into the ground.
Remove any big clumps of soil Break them. Anything that is larger than the half of your fist is too big. Also, sometimes it might be a stone covered in dirt.
Starter fertilizers are always a good idea Use a fertilizer before you start seeding to give more nutrients in the ground.
However, it’s highly likely that you already have a lawn, you just don’t like the look of it. Well, don’t worry. You don’t have to completely remove the whole lawn. When you want to improve the look of your garden and make the grass thicker, you should overseed the existing lawn. Here’s what you have to do in order to overseed correctly:
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.
Planting the Seeds Properly
There are some rules that should be followed in order to ensure good growth and proper density, It’s best if you choose a lawn spreader. It’s going to do the job faster and it’s also one of the most proper ways to do it.
If you are planting on any area that is too small for a lawn spreader you can do it by hand. The rule of thumb is to 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.
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.
After planting you should 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.
How to Mow a Lawn Properly
Once you need to take care of the already grown lawn, mowing it properly becomes the number one priority. Many homeowners ruin their lawns not by watering incorrectly, but by mowing them the wrong way.
Most people cut the grass lower than it should be and that damages the turf. Make sure to mow the grass no lower than ⅓ than it is. If you repeatedly cut the grass close to the ground this will result in brownish grass and unhealthy looking lawn.
Some rules to stick by:
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.
Managing to have a magazine looking lawn is hard at first, but once you get to the upkeep stage it all becomes a bit easier. Of course, you can always consult with a professional on the beginning stages, in order to fully maximise your chances of having a beautiful turf.