Installing your own lawn is only easy and a success if you are well prepared and follow a few easy steps to install and take care of the new lawn not only at the beginning but for all seasons to come.
It is best to ensure all the old lawn, weed or plants are removed. Some old lawn roots are not too much of an issue as the new lawn if cared for properly will dominate. Do not worry too much about stones or other rubble provided the surface is sand or soil, remove any large pieces of stone or heaps of rubble. Stone or rubble under at least a 10 cm layer of sand is adequate and will serve purpose.
Now you can landscape the area to achieve a relatively even surface. Shift soil around and remove any unwanted rises or pits to offer an even landscaped appearance, (remember your lawn will adopt the appearance of the area with all bumps and rises or slopes). It is best to slope your lawn away from any building structures to ensure the water drains away from structures to avoid damp or other water related problems to your building structures. Whether it be rain or irrigation the runoff will take the route of the slope.
If you wish to install irrigation now is the time to do it. Cut your trenches for your pipe and place your pop up units in the key areas. Make sure that the radius of the water jet overlaps the next one by at least 30% to ensure full cover. Place your sprinklers so they spray away from any building or structure where possible to avoid damp and water related problems. Refill the trenches and ensure you mark the sprinklers so as to avoid covering them with your new lawn sods or turf.
Now use a straight edge, a building straight edge if available, (a thin plank will also do the job). This should remove the finer bumps and undulations ensuring there is a flat surface for the lawn to sit snugly against. Once you have done this and the entire area is level it is time to give it a roll with a well weighted roller to compact the surface area. Run a straight edge over the area again after rolling to ensure the surface is flat.
Sprinkle some Super Phosphate to the finished surface. An organic medium that also works well is Bone Meal. This helps with the sod rooting and adds some strength to the plant. Compost lightly with an aged compost. If you have dogs, using bone meal will encourage them to dig up your new sods, so possibly avoid this if you have dogs, or keep them out of the area for the first week in summer or first two weeks in winter. A winter transplant takes longer to set than one in Summer.
Now it is time to lay your lawn. Lay your turf sods snugly up against each other. Pull the sods up against each other and fit them snugly to facilitate that instant lawn finish. When this is done it is possible to lose 5% cover of the area to the fit. If you purchased your lawn from Rollonlawn.com you will have an extra 7%. Each square meter is three pieces and 7% extra, so fit them well.
Once the lawn is placed, test your irrigation again setting the units where needed. If no irrigation is installed wet the lawn well with a hose. Once the lawn is well wet, roll the lawn. This ensures that all gaps between the sod and the soil surface is removed as much as possible, and gives the new roots soil to push directly into. Rolling the lawn also takes care of some undulations and bumps from the laying process and gives that instant lawn finish we all love to see for our grass patch or lawn.
It is key to setting a new lawn that it receives adequate water. The lawn base or soil under the new lawn should be kept moist and not allowed to dry out completely. This compromises the new little hair thin roots pushing through and can result in total lawn failure. It must be managed and if it is too wet and remains soaked for too long this could lead to rot, so a balance is required. Check the soil under the new lawn and keeping it moist is the goal. This should be done for the first two weeks. A new lawn takes up to 5 times the amount of water to set than to maintain, Irrigation is key to the success of your transplant.
Mowing is also key to the setting of the new lawn and depends on the rate at which the lawn grows. Growth rate does vary from season to season. In summer it will be way faster than winter. Do not allow the lawn to grow higher than 90mm. The average mower does not allow for more than 75mm as a maximum height setting and you should never mow more than one third of the leaf off at any single mow. This exposes the soft bits of the lawn and Burns yellow. The entire lawn can go yellow and complete lawn failure is a possible outcome, AVOID IT.
When your lawn is set and you wish to treat it to a lawn dressing, it’s important not to cover the entire plant, but rather to dress lightly. You should be able to see the compost at the base of the lawn, and you must still see the green leaf exposed. The leaf is what digests the compost, so a completely covered lawn will smother the plant and your best intentions will be quashed. When using chemical fertilizers such as 232 or LAN it is best to do light dressings and more frequently than a heavy handed approach.
The seasons change, and as they change so do your lawn’s needs. 80% Of all lawn failures are water related, so as the seasons get hotter or cooler adjust your irrigation programs. Soil types also influence water retention so get a feel for your lawns irrigation needs and apply accordingly. Your lawn will last for years if you keep your finger on the pulse. Enjoy your new lawn and may you have many green fun filled days and experiences on it…