DIY (Do It Yourself) Guide – Laying Paving
A DIY guide for Installing & Repairing Lawns
Maybe you would want to have the grass look greener on your side well! This can be the case if you have a beautiful house and like lush grass to complement the décor. It could also be the case that the grass is rutted or has bare areas and needs repairing.
How to install your lawn
Installing the lawn can be done in two different methods – That of sod or seed; the former implies planting the grass into the soil while the latter involves planting seeds in the soil that will sprout. Planting seeds is a much lengthy process and the soil may be vulnerable to weed growth and erosion. It is almost much less expensive than planting grass.
The first step to installing grass is to measure the area that you would want to cover. You then need to do some research. There are many different species of grass. You most likely would like one that is best suited for the geographical area where you live. In Australia for instance there are two types of perennial grasses (weeping grass, wallaby grass). Some grass types also require a lot more maintenance than others. Knowing the type of grass depending on the geographical region and the amount of time you are willing to put up for maintenance is essential. Species of grass can be installed at different seasons. Doing a bit of research or asking the local gardener can be quite helpful. Your next step is to prepare the soil. Get rid of any rocks and pull out any weeds in the area which you will plant the grass. You would want to fertilize the soil with compost and use a rotary tiller. Dig about six inches into the soil. Next, tamp the soil down using a roller filled with water.
For seeding, it can only be done during the fall, winter, or the spring season. So depending on your geographical location make certain that you seed in the correct season. You then have to determine the appropriate quantity of seeds per square foot so that you can buy enough seeds to cover the whole area. A seed spreader can be used to scatter the seeds proportionately. The seeds will need to be watered as much as possible. If your lawn does not receive enough sunshine for at least six hours a day, you might think about installing gravels.
When placing sod, you can purchase them from your local gardener. They cost a lot more than seeds and are labour intensive to install. Good sod will have moist roots, green grass and not fall easily apart. The sods need to be rolled out on the lawn. Sods are best planted during the spring or summer season. Water the sods abundantly as much as the seeds afterwards; they can be watered a few times in a week.
Depending on the type of damage visible on your lawn and the extent, certain measures can be taken to repair the lawn. You must first consider whether repairing the lawn is appropriate or if it would be much better to just install a new lawn. If for instance, you have more than 60% of moss or weeds on your lawn, you would be better off installing a new lawn.
If in the eventuality you decide to repair you lawn then, follow these simple steps:
- Trim the lawn to about 10 mm. If the lawn was too short, you will need to allow it to grow. If too long, cut it gradually; most likely you will need to adjust the blade of your mower so that you can trim to the desired length.
- Feed the grass with fertilizer. Lawn fertilizers are perfect for the circumstance. Apply about two grams for each square meters. In dry weather, you will have to water the grass after the application
- If you do not have a scarifier, rent one and run it on the grass after three or four days. The scarifier combs the grass. The lawn should not be too dry to use the scarifier. A good idea is to wet the grass the previous day. It is often easier if the grass is even. The scarifier produces lots of matter that can be collected using a mower having a grass collector
- Leave the grass so that it can recover for about one week and then, trim the grass again. Once trimmed, after three days, apply a weed killer. This is best done on a warm day but not very hot day.
- You should start noticing a bit of improvement to the grass. If not try and have a soil test.
- Apply on the surface of the lawn grit sand. This is to level the surface of the lawn. Spread the sand using a shovel and brush it on the surface without smothering the grass. The application should be done over a couple of weeks
- You will then need to seed the lawn during the autumn (which ever season is best for your geographical area) afterward spread again the sand a mixture of peat and sand in a combination of 50%. Leave the seeds to germinate. If the weather is dry, water the lawn accordingly.
Other tips for lawn repair
- Crabgrass — crabgrass can often cause a lot of damage to the lawn. It often competes for space and if not controlled can invade whole areas of the plot. The best method to control crabgrass is to apply herbicides. The herbicide has to be applied only where the crabgrass has taken root.
- Flooding — flooding can be very damaging for a lawn. Often after a flood, debris can be found on the lawn and in some occasions the water may strip away the lawn. To repair such damage, start by removing all the debris then, if the damage caused is excessive, apply new soil and plant seeds accordingly by spreading with a spreader. Cover the seeded area with hay and water only if necessary.
- Shaded areas— grasses often have difficulty surviving in shaded area. In those places, the grass may become thin. In such places over seeding. Best to seed as early as possible (late March) before any leaves covers the tree so that the grass will have maximum sunlight and become well established before the area becomes shaded by the leaves
- Premature dying — it is often caused by localised compaction, fungal disease, or tress. Take a sample of the soil; if you notice specks, it’s a fungal disease. Adding wetting agents can help improve the capacity of the soil to hold moisture and help in water penetration.
Tree roots damages — it may happen that growing tree roots force the lawn surface upward and sometimes becoming exposed. If the damage is minor, covering the roots with frequent dressing may solve the problem. if much more sever, it may require opening the turf and probably removing the root. It would be advisable to consult a tree surgeon as it may impact on the health of the tree. Once the root is removed, soil of the same type should be added and the turf replaced.
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