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The garden is a bit of a mess though, and the 'lawn' is very bumpy, overgrown and generally unmanageable. So I'm thinking of totally digging it over and sewing a new lawn.
There seem to be two options; plant seed or buy turf. Is turf *very* expensive? If it's not, I might go with it for speed.
Does anyone know how long it takes before I will have my new lawn and can walk on it etc if I sew from seed? I don't really want to spend the whole summer with a mud garden :/
The last place I lived in had a yard as previous owners had kept dogs, I ripped it up, raked it, de-stoned it.
Mix the grass seed with a little sand as this helps to keep the moisture in, sprinkle all over, water and wait.
Usually takes about 4 weeks, then give it a gentle mowing, but not to short.
Birds will eat the seeds, cats will scratch and poop in it, but thats par for the course.
Just keep it nice and moist, best to water it in the evening.
A few things to remember before you turf:
The best times to lay turf are between March-June and September-November (UK)
> Weed! - before during and after rotivating you will need to make sure you have pulled up every little weed you can find. the cleaner your topsoil is now the fewer troubles you wil have later.
> Rotivate and rake clean the surface. you need to remove all rocks stones and clots and even the ground to within a couple of inches.
> Compost - there are many types (maybe you have your own) ask in a garden centre they will be able to point you to the bset type for new lawns. Dig it into the topsoil
> As you turf work on planks (to prevent damage to the grass before it bed in) and 'mesh' the edges of the turf as tightly as you can to avoid gaps.
> The turf should be firmly but carefully tapped down using the back of a spade to ensure that the roots and the soil are in good contact.
> Stagger the joints of the turf whilst laying like bricks in a wall.
> Water daily for the first few weeks
> As the lawn begins to take fill in spaces (they will occour) with hand fulls of scattered topsoil
> After a 2-3 weeks give the lawn its first cut.
I'm no horticulturist.. in fact I claim to have a brown thumb.. everything I try to grow will die. But that lawn has proven me wrong.
Check around your area for different grass seed mix, too. Some will do better in direct sun, or shade, or grow faster. Sod will do the job too, but I don't believe it has the same level of anticipation/satisfaction that comes from growing your own.
Seeding will take about two to three weeks for the first starts to get tall enough for the first mowing. It will be a sparse crop with a lot of soil and weeds growing between, but in two months it will begin to fill in.
However: how well it does in the long run is really all based on the soil and your fertilization/watering. We've got some selfish soil here, clay, rock, low nutrients . . . this is our fourth year and FINALLY have a thick filled-in lawn. But it wasn't easy. We had to water, water, water, and fertilize . . weed and feed . . . the first two years my wife was sure we'd never have a lawn.
So it depends on what's more valuable, your time or the cost of the sod, and what you have to work with for soil.
Be patient with it, and try to stay off the lawn in it's infancy. It'll be thick and green before you know it.
I put down a seed lawn here in Spain, about 15 years ago. Cost me a fortune in seeds, ant powder, water and work, but it did eventually look pretty good. That was a very hardy grass, think it's called gramma.
WATER, WATER, WATER
Well there seems to be plenty of that around here at the moment :/
I think that barring financial or other practical problems, I'm very tempted to go the turf route. Does anyone know, can I walk on the turf straightaway once it's laid, or do I have to wait a few hours/days/weeks?
The lawn area is finally dug. Have decided to go the seed route. I was going to choose turf because I wanted my lawn quickly, but I have now learned that there is *nothing* quick about any of this. Digging is really hard work, it's taken us this long just to do that! So I figure a few more weeks isn't a big deal. Will be planting the seed this week so I'll keep you updated.
Cheers for all the advice so far :)
Well, it's been about a week and a half after seeding, and I do have the beginnings of a (somewhat patchy) lawn. But if you are correct rocknbil, hopefully this will thicken out after a while.
Bizarrely, one strip of land, about a foot wide, is thick and lawn-like. The only thing I can put this down to is that this patch gets shade, and the rest doesn't.
I'm not sure if the present heat wave is the best time to be growing a lawn - it's been up to 30C almost every day since we seeded.
My husband is impatient though, and he wants to rake and plant more seed in the gaps. But I think perhaps we should wait a while in case we are disturbing new seedlings?
Your grass should fill in nicely over the summer and early fall, but it probably won't actually be thick and lush for another year or so. Overseed in the fall and fertilize the lawn - that will do it a lot of good.
I'm not sure if the present heat wave is the best time to be growing a lawn....
This is correct, it's a bad time of year for seedlings to grow but not a lot you can do about it other than trying to keep it damp, which is like trying to keep sand in a sieve. It will explode on you next spring though. Even some of the seedlings that aren't sprouting this summer will come up.
It's also notable to mention that as it warms up, grass nearly stops growing. I was mowing at least once a week up to June and have only mowed twice since, so the growth rate slows down a lot. Patience is also an important ingredient. :-)
Note that some people don't recommend watering grass once it's a couple weeks old. The idea is that it needs to develop a deep root system, which it won't do if its used to getting easy water near the surface. Might be worth some thought.
30C isn't very hot.
It is in England! Slightly cooler weather has now returned though.
We have been aiming to water it plenty, but there was one day we were away, and one day I *ahem* forgot....
I think I will concentrate water on the patchy areas, and water twice a day if it gets really hot again.
Thanks for all the tips :)
My point is that you could clear a bit of the lawn and lay sod so you can use it this summer. Then do the rest later as your budget permits. Just dont let the old lawn creep onto the new.
It is hot in Canada too!
We switched to the metric system when I was in grade 7, so I can converse in both farenhiet and celsius. I guess that would make me bilingual.
Just a note on lawns that turn brown. They are not dead, just in dormant stage. But if it happened to your seedlings, you will likely need to re-seed in the fall.
"I do nothing to promote the growth of grass."
Think about it.
My respect for his intelligence clicked up a point.
I'd also try to stay away from tall fiscu (sp)
I have this great grass here I love it. but I don't know what kind it is. it stays realy short and dense, spreads with runners, super soft and is almost sage green. very thin blade. Anyone know what it might be? sticklyme if you have a clue (indiana)