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Gardening: Making A Lawn with Turf
For most people, a garden is not complete without an area of grass, or a lawn. Australia's climatic conditions, especially in the hotter areas of South Australia, Western Australia and Queensland, can make growing a nice stretch of lush green grass a challenge to the keenest gardener.
You could opt for an artificial lawn, one made from synthetic or artificial grass or turf. These can look very realistic, and provide a hassle-free and maintenance-free patch of green.
But not everyone wants a synthetic surface, and with the right tools and a consistent approach, most gardeners can create a lawn from scratch or rejuvenate a struggling one.
A good quality lawn can not only add to the appearance of your home, it can also increase its value, prevent soil erosion and help to absorb heat and noise to keep your environment cooler and quieter.
If you prefer not to take on the challenge of planting a lawn yourself, you can get turf laid for an almost instant lawn.
Turf - also known as 'instant lawn' is grass that has already been planted and started growing, and is supplied in rolls that are laid in strips across your lawn area.
You can lay the turf yourself or get a professional to do the whole job for you.
Step1: Calculate the Amount Required
To work out the number of square metres of turf required for your new instant lawn, you measure the length (in metres) of the area and multiply it by the width. For example, 17 X 5 Metres = 85 square metres.
Order your instant turf to take delivery on the day you plan to lay it.
Step 2: Prepare Your Ground
Whether laying the turf yourself, or having someone else do it, you need to be sure the ground is right to give the grass the best chance to grow.
The basic steps for preparing the ground for turf are the same as for planting a lawn yourself.
Using a mattock, dig up the soil and remove all stones, lumps of clay and other stony rubbish. Get rid of weeds and other plants with a good application of a herbicide like Round Up or Zero.
Continue to cultivate the soil - either by digging with a spade, or with a rotary hoe - to a depth of about 15 cm. if you water the day before you plan to dig, it will make the work easier. Water again after cultivation.
You may need to check for drainage, and to make sure the site is level before laying your turf. Also consider installing a pop-up watering system at this stage to make watering more efficient.
Step 3: Consolidation
Consolidation is an important part of the ground preparation as this determines how the site will settle.
The most common method is by rolling the area with a water filled roller. These 'landscape rollers' can be hired from most landscape outlets. The aim is to ensure the soil is firm, but not packed, to enable good root and water penetration.
The instant lawn is approximately 15mm thick so ensure the soil height allows the turf sits flush with the features such as paths, gates, fences etc.
Step 4: Laying the Turf
Make sure the soil is moist to give the grass roots a chance to penetrate.
Sprinkle the lawn starter supplied with the turf over the soil and lightly rake it to a depth of 5-10mm into the soil.
Start laying your instant lawn along a straight line such as a following the edge of footpath or driveway.
Stagger the joins in each new row, like a row of bricks. Butt all joins tightly together, without overlapping or leaving spaces between strips of turf.
Using a sharp knife, cut the turf to shape around trees, flower beds or along curved borders.
Roll lightly after turf is laid to ensure good ground contact and to remove air pockets.
Step 5: Watering Your Turf
Water your turf immediately after laying, soaking to a depth of at least 15cm.
For the next 12-14 days, water it generously to encourage root establishment.
Gradually cut back the watering to a good soaking twice a week in dry weather. This encourages deep rooting to form a drought tolerant root system.
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