Most gardens, in the UK anyway, have lawns. Some are perfect and would make a wonderful backdrop to a British tea party, others are not much more than dirt patches with bits of grass in it. Below is a guide to help you create the first scenario and what to do when you end up with option two – the weedy, unsightly dirt patch.
When you have to start right from the beginning, then the best time to establish a new lawn is in early spring and whenever you see a turf symbol on the ‘LWTM life-style calendar’. First, dig over the dirt patch and remove all unwanted weeds and stones. Then divide your grass seeds in half and first sprinkle them north to south and the east to west. This will make sure that you get an even coverage and no bald patches. Then rake the ground over with a big rake and sprinkle a fine layer of compost on.
All you need then is to watch for the grass to come up. If the weather is very dry, water the lawn seeds in – do this at least once a week. But if you do have some rainy days, then just keep off the grass and let nature do the work for you. In a few weeks, the first little grass stems will poke through. Try to keep off the grass as long as possible, until it is firmly established.
Once the grass has reached a reasonable height, choose a dry day (preferably when you sign the lawn-mower sign in the ‘LWTM life-style calendar’) to do your first cut. Set the blades of your lawnmower quite high, say 4cm (2 in) and finally lower them to the length you want – usually around 3 cm. ( 1 1/2 in).
Lawn care program in March/April and September/October :
Once your lawn is established it is important to keep it in good shape. The best months for this are March/April and September/October during the Waning Moon.
This procedure will take a bit of time, but will ensure that you have a great lawn.
- Step One: mow the lawn as usual.
- Step Two: Rake out all the moss, weeds and thatch. If you have a medium to large lawn it might be worth hiring a powered lawn raker.
- Step Three: If your lawn is prone to water-logging it is well worth spiking the lawn. It needs to be done every other year. This procedure will ensure that your lawn does not get compacted and that rainwater is free draining. For a big lawn, you can hire machinery to do this, but if your lawn is not too big a good old-fashioned garden folk will do this job nicely. Start at one side at the edge and stab the folk into the grounds, making a row of small holes. Then remove the garden folk. Move about 15 cm (4inches) on and repeat the procedure. This is hard work and you may need to work in small areas a bit at a time.
- Step Four: Edging This will require a lot of work the first time you do it. But if you repeat this process regularly, it will be rather quick and easy.
When you establish a lawn, it is a great idea to put stones around it, so it is easier in the future to edge the lawn. If you have no stone border, you can create an edge by using a garden spade or half-moon-shaped edging tool (this should normally be done in early spring). Perfect edges make a big difference and create a real wow factor.
- Step Five: Feed the grass: In September it is important to feed the lawn with a nitrogen-low feed to make it grow less and get it toughened up for the hard winter months to come. Although I recommended anything natural, like nettle brew. This is one task when ‘over the shelf’ products are hard to replace with ‘home-made’ equivalents.
- Step Six: Finally top-dress your lawn with a layer of compost. Fill a wheelbarrow full of compost and shovel earth onto your grass. It is important not to use too much, as you need to rake it into the grass. It might be better to use less and repeat it more regularly.
If you follow these steps consistently, you will keep a good looking lawn for years to come.