Laying a New Lawn: Step-By-Step

Stuart Wellbert
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Guide to Laying a New Lawn

Step-By-Step

Here is a basic step-by-step guide to planting your own yard. Firstly, you need to decide on the type of grass you want to plant in your new lawn.

The first step is to dig the area where the lawn will be. At the bottom, level the area so that the soil is flat and wide enough for the seeds to settle in. Always make sure the area is flat and well-prepared because this is an important part of the process.

Secondly, you need to remove small stones or any remaining dirt. Later on, some time after it’s settled in your soil, you can rake off any rough spots or extra dirt and get rid of it.

Thirdly, it’s time to use a rake to even out the land. You need to remove the excess soil, so don’t fill up the area with dirt again. The seeds will settle in perfectly fine, even if you don’t level it properly.

Now it’s time to treat the seeds with lawn food so that they grow effectively and last as long as possible. Some people choose to add grass seed to their soil, and this is okay too. They can do this either before or after drilling holes into the soil where the seeds will be placed.

Step 1: Preparing the Ground

Before you start laying turf, you need to ensure you've done enough preparation work. Your existing soil needs to be the right type for laying turf. It needs to be at least 1m deep, have reasonably good drainage and texture. If your soil is poorly drained, it could lead to poor turf growth. If it is too sandy, it could also lead to poor turf growth. The depth is important, because you don’t want to lay turf over concrete or steep banks. If your soil isn’t suitable, you may need to upgrade it.

Depending on the type of soil you have, you can bulk it up with organic material such as compost, bark mulch, peat or well-rotted manure. For free topsoil, contact the council and ask if they have any soil that people have dug up when they were developing their own gardens.

Your existing lawn will need to be removed and recycled if possible. If you’re lucky enough to have a soil depth of at least 1 meter, you’ll need to create a base using a suitable material. Some materials used for a base include:

"There are many different types of turf. If you have the options available, you can choose which one you think would suit your needs best."

Step 2: Choosing Your Turf

For many people, selecting turf grass is a careful process. Deciding which type of turf grass is best depends on your needs, such as your climate zones, your privacy needs, your budget, your rooting system or sun and shade exposure. Prices and availability may also be a factor.

=== Climate Zones

Lawns that grow well in dry climates, which have low or no winter rainfall and sporadic rainfall during the growing season, require a different type of turf grass than those prefer wet regions with high rainfall or those prefer high rainfall during the growing season.

If you want to get the most out of your investment, you may choose to include two types of turf grass in your new lawn. A low-maintenance Bermuda grass may be best for shady areas and hot and dry regions, while a high-maintenance Kentucky bluegrass may be best for sunny regions. This ensures that your lawn is aesthetically pleasing for most of the year.

=== Privacy

If you have lots of trees, plants and bushes in your backyard and you want to keep them growing, you will want to consider installing a more impenetrable type of turf grass. Choosing a turf grass that will not choke out a tree's roots is an important consideration. However, you may want to consider removing some bushes in the area around the tree. Doing so will help the roots get better access to oxygen, nutrients and water through the new turf grass.

Use a small shovel to clear the dirt of the surface. Use your rake to break up any clumps of dirt at the surface of the hole. This will make it easier for you to spread the grass seed.

Make sure to remove any debris from your lawn.

The depth of your holes should be approximately 3"-4" deep and at least 2"-3" apart.

When you've completed digging the holes, it's time to evenly distribute your grass seed.

The depth of your holes should be approx. 3"-4" deep and 2"-3" apart.

Pack the soil firmly around the hole and attach the lid to the hole. Be sure you have proper drainage.

Step 3: Laying Your Turf

After you’ve prepared your soil, your Seed is in place, and you’ve considered in which directions the sun will rise & set, use a line level to make sure that your surface is as close to level as possible. Use a spirit level to get the surface as level as you can at this stage and then use the manual lawn edger to edge your lawn to level the area as much as possible.

Use powder to make a 15 mm wide line around the edge of the area ready for turf to be laid along the edge. All of your turf will overlap this edge by 15 mm. So, if your liner's width is 10 mm, allow another 5 mm from the turves width making a total of 15 mm overlap. This will ensure that a clean edge is achieved.

Check that you have a good first layer from your liner, if not, use an edging tool to lift it up and lay again until satisfied. Cut the first piece of turf in half and you're ready to begin placing it.

Place the first piece of turf loosely onto the line you've created with the powder. Use the rubber edging tool to press the turf lightly to the line so that it will stick to it, ensuring a good start. Remove the cutting tool and cut the turf 6mm off the powder line.

Step 4: Tidying It Up

You're probably eager to go for a walk or play on your new lawn, but hold off for a day or two!

Wait at least a few hours (preferably a whole day) so it can settle down. After it's been freshly laid, the edges may stabilize in a pleasing shape, but then grow. The grass may shoot up again after you walk on the lawn… you might be tempted to give it a trim. Resist the urge!

The grass needs a couple days for the chemicals in it to stabilize for the first time. If you cut or mow it, the grass you cut off will be full of chemicals, since fertilizer lingers on the blades for a while. Grass shoots up again because of the rain and comingling of the turf. Let the soil mixed in the turf dry out for a couple days.

Use a small shovel to clear the dirt of the surface. Use your rake to break up any clumps of dirt at the surface of the hole. This will make it easier for you to spread the grass seed.

Make sure to remove any debris from your lawn.

The depth of your holes should be approximately 3"-4" deep and at least 2"-3" apart.

When you've completed digging the holes, it's time to evenly distribute your grass seed.

The depth of your holes should be approx. 3"-4" deep and 2"-3" apart.

Pack the soil firmly around the hole and attach the lid to the hole. Be sure you have proper drainage.

Step 5: Maintenance

One of the easiest ways to tackle this job is to have a sprinkler on hand. You’ll need it to water the new grass at regular intervals to keep it alive until it can fix roots in the soil. You do not need to keep it on constantly.

You should check water levels weekly and add water if less than 1/3 inch of rain has fallen in a seven-day period. Use a water meter to keep track.

Watering at the optimal time is important—ideally at the height of a rain or dew cycle. This is when the shallow late-afternoon sun will help it retain moisture through the night.

Watering lawns causes nitrogen loss if too much water is applied at any one time and that promotes weed growth. The first three or four weeks after seedlings have grown is the time when nitrogen must be applied carefully to help the new plants establish their roots.

After four to six weeks, two more applications of fertilizer with 4-8-4 or 3-8-3 ratios can be applied every seven to 10 days until June. It’s a good time to aerate, too, to loosen the soil as lawns start to green up.

Some homeowners like to use Fertilome Alfalfa Meal to add nitrogen to the soil to stimulate growth.