Having a green lawn can be one of the joys—or difficulties—of being a homeowner. It can take a lot of work and money, but can pay off with a beautiful lawn to lay on, play on with the kids, or just sit back and view.
Here are some ways to plant a lawn and keep it in good shape:
Seed or sod?
Planting grass seed is the least expensive way to start a lawn, though it can be labor intensive.
Start by removing dead materials and weeds, add at least four inches of topsoil, till the ground and make it level. Then spread the grass seed.
Another method of seeding is to do what’s called broadcast seeding. Dry grass is spread on the prepared soil, watered and covered with straw.
Hydroseeding is another option. It uses seeds, mulch, fertilizer and other materials that are pumped from a tank onto the prepared ground.
Laying down long strips of grass that’s already growing, called sod, is back-breaking work that you may want to hire a professional to do.
If you’re going to do it yourself you’ll need a truck for delivery, rake, rototiller, lawn roller and seeds for spot seeding after installation. If you don’t have a truck, then delivery can be half the cost of sod.
The DIY Network recommends measuring the area you want to sod, digging organic matter into the soil, raking the soil level, unrolling the turf and laying down whole pieces at a time in rows, and creating tight seams.
Fill in the seams by brushing in topsoil, then roll the sod with a lawn roller to push the sod firmly against the soil beneath it, and then you’re ready to water, mow and eventually fertilize it.
It may take four weeks or so to grow a lush lawn, but with proper care, you’ll soon be able to run your bare toes through it.
Caring for your new lawn
A lawn requires a lot of care. Weeds, for example, can take over a lawn. A herbicide can be used to kill them before they germinate. Once they’ve sprouted, you may have to remove weeds by hand.
When mowing your lawn, don’t mow it too short — never more than a third of the grass blade. Also remember to water the lawn in the morning, which allows the sun to dry the grass. Watering at night can lead to some diseases on the grass.
Also fertilize it with nitrogen and only use what the label recommends. If your lawn is thin is some areas, seed over them to fill them in.