Start a Lawn From Scratch

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If you are interested in outdoor landscaping, and wish to make your lawn a thing of beauty, it is first important to consider what type of soil you have. Your lawn will only be as good as the soil you are working with, so you must evaluate it and then proceed from there. The next step is to pick out sod or seed that is of the highest quality. If you choose to use something that is very inexpensive, you run the risk of not getting the result that you want. And, that is simply like throwing money away.

Turn a critical eye to your yard and think about what you want your landscape design to be. Some areas may be better suited for grass than others; take this into consideration. Also, remember that a lawn is a simple way to improve the condition of your yard. It is also not that difficult to maintain, so it is one of the best things you can do to make your outdoor space more aesthetically pleasing.

Getting Ready

Before you start planting, the first thing to do is to get the area ready. That means going through the yard with a fine tooth comb and removing any trash in the vicinity. Also look for rocks that might get in the way of planting. You want to make sure to slope the lawn so that it is going away from the house. Every 100 feet should be sloped about six inches. Be careful not to make the slope too steep; it then becomes hard to care for. You can always create a terrace to help if you think things are out of control.

Make sure that your soil can drain, and keep in mind that you probably don’t need drainage tiles. However, make sure to check the requirements in your area. It is possible that you will have to engage in mechanical chiseling or that you will have to go through and dig holes in different places throughout the soil. However, you can figure this out as you go along, because it may not be immediately obvious as to what needs to be done.

Water and sewer lines may require trenches. You will have to go through and fill and settle these so that no depressions form in the lawn. If you are building a house, remember that your lawn is crucial to the way the home appears to others. When the workers dig out the area for the basement, make sure to save as much topsoil as you possibly can. The process of building a house really takes a toll on the yard, and there is often a lot of subsoil left showing. Subsoil has a number of issues; it doesn’t drain very well, for one. While you may be able to get grass to grow in it, it is preferable to use a different type of soil, like a sandy loam to loam, for example.

If you don’t have topsoil to use, you can fix up the area a bit by taking either peat moss or decomposed organic matter and laying it a few inches thick on the soil. You will then have an easier time aerating and tilling the soil, and it should drain better as well.

Ridding the Yard of Weeds

There are a number of weeds that can grow in a yard; the most problematic are those with deep roots, like dandelions or clover. These must be taken care of prior to the planting process. Purchase an herbicide and make sure to follow the directions as they are printed on the label. If you have a particularly challenging situation, you may need to repeat the treatment about two weeks after the first.

Setting up Sprinklers

If you want your yard to look its best, supplemental irrigation is important. This can be done in a variety of ways, including through an underground sprinkler system, flood irrigation or portable sprinklers. If you choose an underground system, keep in mind that you should install it prior to the seeding process. Make sure your water pressure is good. In addition, you need to have a decent irrigation system in place as well. Once you get everything put in, fill up the holes firmly so that there is no settling in the future.

Prepping with Starter Fertilizers

About two weeks before you get ready to seed, put down starter fertilizers. In general, you should look for a product that has potassium, nitrogen and phosphorus. (Amazon link) Read the label carefully; it will tell you how much of each is in the fertilizer. You want to go about four inches deep with the starter fertilizer for best results. In addition, to learn more about the soil in your yard, you may want to consider getting a soil sample so you can figure out how best to grow grass. If there is a university in your area, they may be able to help you analyze your sample.

Putting Down Seed

Seed is often preferable to sod because it is much less expensive. You may save as much as 25 percent by choosing to plant. Still, if there is only a small area that you are working with, there are options available to you.
The best time to begin planting is either in the early spring or the late summer. For example, the middle of August to the middle of September is a perfect time; it is warm enough during the day and cool enough at night to encourage the grass to grow. In addition, planting at this time means that your grass will be more resistant to both heat and drought than if you planted in the spring. However, if you wait too late, the grass won’t be strong enough to survive when the winter weather starts blowing in.

If you wait until spring, get started early, as soon as the ground is workable. It is not advisable to plant in the middle of the summer because it is just too hot and there is the possibility of drought. It can be done, however, if the area is irrigated well.

With a bit of work and an investment of time, it is possible to create a beautiful lawn to enjoy. You won’t regret putting your heart and soul into the project!

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