A lush green lawn is the clearest signifier of well loved and tended garden. Essential in both visual and practical terms, the perfect lawn can be enjoyed and admired by everyone, but they can be difficult to create or maintain. Weeds, patchiness and uneven ground can all make a lawn look less than perfect, and it takes hard, consistent work to get the desired effect.
Here is a guide to creating a lawn, both from seed and turf, and for looking after it properly.
Growing a lawn from seed
First of all, you need to get the ground ready for your seeds. Assuming that you don’t already have grass in your garden, mark out the area you intend for your lawn and remove any debris and weeds. A strong weedkiller like glyphosate will do the job, but it may take a few weeks. Then dig or rotovate the topsoil, and make sure that it is level.
Now you can add a fertilizer (follow the instructions for a guide to how much you use per square foot) and rake the surface so that is fully integrated into the soil. Scatter a handful of seeds per square yard, and then rake the seed into the soil’s surface. If it hasn’t rained after a couple of days, you should water the area yourself. Generally, warm and moist weather provides the best conditions for shoots to appear fast. All going well, expect to see the first shoots within three weeks of scattering the seeds.
Laying a lawn from turf
For quicker results, a layer of lawn turf is the way to go. Whereas seeds can take a few weeks to start to grow, with lawn turf you and the family can be out on the grass after a couple of days. Prepare the ground as you would for seeds (see above), up to and including the addition of fertilizer.
When it comes to actually laying the turf, start in one corner and work across, so that you are always facing the bare soil. It’s a good idea to work on a board, so that you don’t leave any foot indentations in the turf. Use a roller to go over the turf once it has all been laid out, this should help to firm it a little. Don’t tread on the grass for the first couple of days, it will need this time for the roots to develop.
To avoid the grass turning an unsightly brown during dry spells, you should water it regularly. Keep the grass short with regular mowing, but not too short, as closely cropped grass is more susceptible to moss.
Of course, the greatest risk for the perfect lawn is weeds. If you have recently grown your lawn from seed, don’t use weedkiller for the first six months, as the grass will need this time to become established. If you do have an older lawn that has a lot of weeds, one method of getting rid of them is to first of all feed them with high-nitrogen fertilizer. This will make the weeds grow larger, which in turn will make it easier for you to get rid of them, as they also become softer and more vulnerable to the right kind of weedkiller.