Lawn Care 101: The Guide to a Fantastic Lawn

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Lawn care guide.

If you are a house owner and have a front or backyard (or why not both) then most likely you want to have it looking great. Having a well-maintained lawn can give a whole new look to a house, and even increase its resale value.

When it comes to managing a perfectly shaped lawn, there are a lot of tricks that can help you. But there is also quite a lot of basic knowledge you need to learn. Otherwise, you won’t be able to grow a proper, magazine looking lawn.


The Basics of Lawn Care The Basics of Lawn Care

The perfect type of soil for growing a beautiful lawn.

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You can’t have a nice turf if you don’t  know the basics of lawn care. As a proud homeowner, you’d want yours to look best. But as almost everything, you need to put in time and quite a lot of effort before you can enjoy your beautiful, picturesque lawn. Even then you should keep maintaining it because it can all go away.


The Perfect Soil for Your Lawn

From the beginning, it’s very important to have the perfect soil mixture in order to grow a healthy lawn. The rich green colour and the longevity of the grass comes from the quality of the soil.

A soil suited solely for the needs of grass would be a mixture of sand, clay and silt. Also known as loam soil. The reason why loam soil is the perfect fit for your lawn is that soils rich in sand are great for drainage. This type of soil is also very good at retaining nutrients and providing good airflow for the plants.  


Sand is a great fit for all kinds of weed 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.


When you’ve made your mixture and everything is in place you should test the soil. It’s fairly easy to test it, as there are inexpensive soil test kits in almost any garden centre. They come at about $10 – $20 AUD.

After you’ve got the test it’s time to decide how the lawn is going to be used. Plan where pets may play around and sit.
Also, make sure to note any shady areas. All these can be potential patches or become yellow.

Now, it’s important to take 20 different soil samples and let it dry on newspapers. Put it in the containers and take it to a soil testing facility.


How to Read The Soil Test Results

When it comes to understanding the results that come from the lab, 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 is the pH level. The scale goes from 0 to 14. With 7 meaning Neutral, anything below it is acidic and anything above is alkaline.

All kinds of greenery prefer the soil to be on the acidic side of the scale. Nutrients are better absorbed in acidic soil. Of course, it shouldn’t be as low as three or four. The perfect number is around 6 to 7. If you find your soil isn’t suitable for growing that perfect lawn, then you should fix it yourself. For soil that is too acidic, you can add limestone that will increase the sweetness. If your soil is more on the alkaline side, then you can use leaves as mulch or sulphur.


The nutrients in the soil are also 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 How to Plant Grass Seeds Correctly

How to plant grass seeds.

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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 the 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 planting 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 planting you should plan accordingly. It’s extremely important for the seeds to germinate completely before the ground freezes.

Depending on the lawn there are different ways to seed it. For a new lawn that’s just soil and has no growing grass you should take these steps:

  • Clean the lawn from any debris
    Remove any rocks, wood, dead leaves or any other debris that might be on the ground.
  • 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 How to Mow a Lawn Properly

How to mow a lawn correctly.

Shutterstock/topseller

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.   

 



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