There are a few simple steps that you can follow to make sure that the area is prepared well and to ensure you are choosing the right grass variety for your home when you install a new lawn.
Conducting a soil pH test will help you determine if your soil is either acidic, alkaline or neutral. An ideal pH is between 5.5 and 7. If your soil is not within this range it can be easily adjusted with some treatment. For more information about conducting a soil pH test, click here.
A turf underlay consisting of a sandy loam is preferred for most turf varieties. If your underlay is a clay base or heavy soils, you may want to look into applying gypsum. This will help break up the clay base, improving the soil structure by better allowing for water and root penetration. For more information on using gypsum, click here.
Measuring out how much turf you need is not as difficult as it seems. Simply sketch the area on a piece of paper, break up the area into basic shapes and then measure and write down your measurements. To calculate the amount of turf you need, use our online calculator here.
After you have found out how much turf you need, add an extra 5% to factor in for cutting around odd shapes and objects in your garden such as trees and garden features – There’s nothing worse than being just a couple of rolls short!
When preparing underlay there are a few steps to follow to help your new lawn perform the best it can.
Firstly, kill off any existing vegetation using a non-selective herbicide containing glyphosate such as Round Up or Zero. This will not only get rid of any existing grass but will also kill any present weeds. After the first application you can mow low over the dead grass to remove the plant material, then follow with a second treatment. If you have a particularly invasive grass such as kikuyu or couch, we recommend that you repeat the above step 3-4 times over a month to ensure that all of the plant material is killed off. After the final application, use a hoe and turn over the existing base to de-compact the existing soil profile.
Depending on your existing base, you may need to add in a soil underlay. When adding a turf underlay, a sandy loam is best. For a Sir Grange Zoysia lawn, an underlay of 100 – 200 mm of washed river sand is recommended. For more information on turf underlays, check out our blog here.
The final step in preparing your underlay is to get the correct levels in order to have your turf laying flush against existing surfaces. We recommend leaving about 30-40mm below the height you are wanting, to allow for the thickness of the turf. Refer to your turf supplier for the specific thickness of the turf being provided. In this step ensure the whole area is smoothed out to avoid dips in your lawn.
Another factor to consider is drainage. Where will water flow towards when it rains? Try to ensure that no water will sit on the lawn or go towards buildings in heavy rain events. If it’s likely, then now is the time to look at having drainage installed.
When choosing the type of lawn that will suit your garden and lifestyle, there are a few factors to consider. Garden position and size, budget and the amount of traffic on the lawn are just a few of the things that it is important to consider before you make your final choice.
If your garden is drenched in all day sunlight, your options are pretty much wide open. From the sun loving couch grasses to budget busting kikuyu’s, most grasses will survive and thrive in these conditions. If you do have issues with shade, this does not discount having a healthy lawn though. Take a look at Sir Walter DNA Certified, well known for setting the benchmark in shade tolerance. In fact, Sir Walter is so popular over 100 million metres of it have been laid in Australia since it was discovered, and it still remains Australia’s favourite buffalo lawn. The same can be said for lawns that are given a good workout by kids and pets – take a look at hardy, quick repairing lawns or even discuss with your local turf supplier varieties such as TifTuf Hybrid Bermuda.
Some gardens are created as a thing of beauty. For a real showstopper of a lawn, have a look at Sir Grange Zoysia. A Zoysia grass that was previously used on golf courses overseas, Sir Grange is a stunning lawn that once established, requires very little maintenance to look great.
Once you have decided which lawn works best for you, make sure you do the research on your turf supplier and always insist on a breeder guarantee. With so many different types of lawn now available it is important that you know you’re getting what you paid for.
Now we are up to the most exciting step, laying your lawn!
The first step in this process is to spread a starter fertiliser such as Lawn Launcher. Starter fertilisers will provide your lawn with the essential nutrients your new lawn will need for root establishment and strong plant growth. Some starter fertilisers will also include moisture magnets, these will reduce the risk of your new lawn drying out in the heat.
When your turf delivery arrives, it is important to start laying the turf as soon as possible to avoid the turf drying out. If it is a particularly hot day, we recommend that you water each section of the turf as you lay it out to avoid it drying out.
Now the time has come to start laying turf. Start laying the turf furthest away from your exit to avoid walking and working over the freshly laid turf. Lay the turf in a brickwork pattern with the edges laying together. When working on a slope, it is recommended that you lay the turf across the slope. When laying the turf down, ensure that the roll of turf has good contact with the soil beneath.
If you need to cut turf to fit around trees and corners, use either a spade or shears. With the excess pieces, do not throw them away until the whole area has been covered.
Once completing the whole area, give the new turf a deep water immediately to avoid the turf drying out.
Now that your lawn has been laid, it is time to care for it! With a freshly laid lawn it is crucial to keep the water up to it for the first month after instalment to keep the lawn healthy and encourage root establishment. Although watering requirements will change with the time of year and weather, you should be deeply watering your lawn every day for the first 3 weeks or until you give the lawn its first mow. Freshly laid lawns may require more watering’s to avoid the roots of the grass drying up.
Keep traffic off your lawn for the first month so that your lawn can root down properly.
To see if your lawn is ready for its first mow, see if you can lift a corner of the turf roll. If the roll lifts, the lawn is not ready to be mown. If the roll does not move and is rooted down into the soil you are ready to mow. When mowing for the first time, raise your mower height on a slightly higher setting than normal, then over the next few mows slowly bring down the mower height to your preferred height.
After 6 weeks your lawn will be ready for its first fertilise. When choosing a fertiliser, we recommend an NPK fertiliser such as Lawn Solutions Premium Lawn Fertiliser. After application, give the lawn a good water to help avoid leaf burn.
Fertilising can be repeated every 8-10 weeks and continue to water your lawn when required.
For more information on laying turf, please contact your local turf supplier here.