If you’ve got a garden, there’s a high chance you will have a lawn to go with it. Maybe it was there naturally, or perhaps you’ve planted the seeds yourself – whatever the case, you’ve got a nice fresh lawn that acts as a starting point for the garden of your dreams. However, it’s easy to overlook how important gardens can be, and how much they matter when you’re trying to tie all the different elements, decorations, and plants together.
So, how do you go about creating a lawn to be proud of? It’s not as simple as using one easy little trick, and there’s no one-size-fits-all way to ensure that it looks amazing. It can take quite a lot of work, but, thankfully, you won’t need to repeat the process every week: lawns don’t change much when they’re left alone. We at Best of Machinery have created this short guide to help you create the perfect lawn in any situation.
Choosing and Growing Your Grass
It may seem strange to novice or inexperienced gardeners, but grass comes in a vast range of different types, and they’re not all identical. Some will only grow in cold climates, whereas others might need a constant supply of humid air to stay alive – others can endure dry situations really well but drown easily, and a few varieties might even thrive in situations where other plants die almost immediately. It’s impossible to list them all in a single short article, but we don’t really need to since most seed packets or sellers will tell you what kind of climate and ground the seeds should be planted in.
However, planting the seeds isn’t as simple as throwing them into a hole and forgetting about them. They need to be properly nurtured and fed to survive the initial growth stage, and you’ll have to compensate for any natural food or water they might be missing. For example, if you’re in a hot climate, don’t be surprised if you need to water the seeds for a while so that they have enough moisture to grow correctly.
Caring for freshly-planted seeds is easy. First, make sure the existing soil is clear and doesn’t contain any clumps, excess water or gardening chemicals, then simply spread the seeds out across the area. Once they’re in place, drag a little bit of soil on top of them to cover them up, then start very lightly watering them at least once a day to start the growing process. Eventually, the grass should spread into the areas you’ve missed, creating a wide coating of grass.
Deciding Where to Plant It
The only thing more important than knowing how to plant your grass is knowing where to plant it. Like most plants, sunlight, shade, weather exposure, and proximity to water can all make a massive difference in how well a lawn grows, especially if you’re using completely fresh seeds.
For example, some types of grass will struggle to grow correctly without direct sunlight, so you’ll need to make sure that they get a decent amount of exposure – however, the seeds might also die if they get too hot, thus leaving them fully exposed to the sun can also be a bad idea.
Again, this comes back to the type of grass you use, but it will still make a difference even if the grass will grow fine anyway. Growing grass near a pond or stream will reduce how often you need to water it yourself, and placing grass seeds in the shade might give them a slightly darker shade of green thanks to the reduced sunlight. It will affect the appearance of your entire lawn, even if it doesn’t seem like it makes much difference at first.
Caring for your New Lawn
Once your grass has developed into a fully-grown lawn, you’ll still need to take care of it properly. There’s a lot that can go wrong when you’re looking after plants in general, and lawns are often the targets of insect infestations or fungal diseases that can dramatically reduce how healthy the lawn looks.
You should always focus on pulling up weeds, moss, and other plant-based infestations if you’re able to. While they might not spoil the aesthetics of your lawn too much, they can still harm the grass beneath the soil, and might eventually lead to barren spots or areas where the grass is actually struggling to stay alive due to a lack of nutrients. You’ll need to remove the roots as soon as you can: if you don’t, they’ll just grow back and continue harassing your grass, even if you cut the entire head off the plant. Don’t forget weed killer!
If you mow your grass a lot or have a lot of plants that shed leaves or drop certain pieces of organic waste, you could end up having to deal with mulch – this is basically just a top-layer of dead natural matter that makes it hard for your grass to get the water and nutrients it needs. You can usually just get rid of it with a garden rake, and it can double as a useful composting material if you gather it up properly.
Inadequate drainage will also cause problems, especially in wet weather or rainstorms. Some soil types are more absorbent than others, so you could end up with your lawn getting waterlogged and struggling to use up all of the water it’s been given. If you don’t have a way to change the soil, aerating the lawn is always an option – however, if your weather is generally quite dry, you can simply avoid watering the garden if the weather forecast says it might rain.
Maintaining the Lawn
A big part of having a high-quality lawn is making it look good, so maintaining your garden properly is a key part of even the most basic garden design or layout. Mowing is the single most common way of doing this since it keeps the grass short and tidy, instead of letting it grow to a height that looks messy and unkempt. Unfortunately, mowing too close to the ground can have adverse effects on the health of your grass, especially in hot climates – if the blades aren’t tall enough to shade one another, they can dry out much faster.
It’s also possible to skim over bumpy or raised sections of the ground and accidentally shave away too much grass, leaving a bare-looking patch that can’t be fixed until it re-grows in that area. Ideally, you’ll want to remove around one-third of your grass’ current height whenever you mow – this is enough to keep it looking neat without hampering its ability to grow back and heal from damage.
In colder weather (especially the winter), you’ll need to mow less often. The inverse is true in summer since the extra sunlight, and warmer temperatures will promote faster growth, meaning that you’ll have to cut the grass back down to size more frequently. It’s also a good idea to try and mow borders or corners if possible since these are easy to miss and can make your garden look much messier than it really is.
Adding More than Just Grass
When your lawn is happy, healthy, and fully-grown, you’ll be able to make some changes to its design, layout, and overall atmosphere. Many people like to create lawn stripes by mowing in alternating directions, which creates rows of different-colored grass (in reality, it’s just facing different ways) that add some extra neatness to a wide space, whereas others might set up decorations and flowerbeds in the middle to make it look less open and empty.
A lawn may be one of the most important parts of any garden, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only thing you need to focus on. Other plants and decorations can make up for anything it’s lacking, and they can add more color to an area that will mainly just be a single shade of green. Even the most professional gardening competitions will praise a clever use of non-natural decorations, so don’t feel like you need to ignore them just because they are not part of the grass itself.
If that doesn’t seem to work, remember that borders and partitions can be incredibly useful for separating different areas of your garden without getting in the way. If you’ve got a specific area that you want to use for decorations, you can create a small barrier to show that it’s not part of the main lawn without having to create an entirely separate garden that’s cut off from the main one.
This can also be great for keeping track of areas where you want the grass to grow out longer, meaning that you won’t accidentally mow it while you’re trying to tidy up the main part of your lawn.
While many of these ideas will work, that doesn’t mean that they’ll fit with your personal style or preferences. Go ahead and try different techniques to see what you get – maybe you’ll come up with something that turns a boring back yard into a really relaxing, peaceful outdoor space, or perhaps you’ll find a set of decorations that transform an empty space into an incredibly useful and practical seating area.
There’s no guaranteed way to make your garden look perfect, but that just leaves more room to experiment! After all, with so many different types of grass, mowing techniques, decorations, and ways to set out your garden, it’s almost impossible that any two lawns will end up being precisely the same. Either way, hopefully, our guide can act as a great starting point to get you trying new things, or at least make you interested in trying to create a garden that you can be proud of.