Building your lawn is a process that takes more than than lying grass; applying water and watching it grow. You must build layers and care for each layer properly. It’s more than just seeds, sod, and dirt; it’s the construction of an ecosystem.
1. Determine Planting Zone
Before building a lawn, you should determine your planting zone. Planting zones are climate regions in certain geographic locations. The zones are numbered 1-11 with each number representing different conditions. Certain grasses fare better in each zone – therefore the planting zone becomes an important tool in the creation of a lawn. List of Zones
2. Selecting and creating the right soil mixture
The first step to building a lawn is the soil. Soil is the base of the lawn and the growth is dependent on the quality of the soil. To build a lawn without quality soil is risking the money, time and effort spent creating the lawn.
An important part of soil is the PH level. PH levels range from one to fourteen with the optimum for a lawn being five. The PH level measures the acidity or alkaline nature within the soil. The higher the PH level of the soil, the higher amount of acid the soil contains. Ensuring that the PH level is mid-line allows microbiotic organisms to flourish creating nutrient rich soil.
3. Fertilizing the soil with Lime
Lime is used to increase the level of acidity in the soil. Lime comes in two forms; calcitic, and dolocitic. The difference in the two being that the calcitic contains no magnesium. Lime is implanted at least four inches into the lawn and could take months to react and have an effect on the soil therefore its best to plant the lime prior to the grass. Ensuring that this is completed will create an optimal growth environment for your lawn.
4. Planting Grass
You have 4 choices when planting grass: Sod, seeds, sprigs, or plugs. Each choice will require some effort. The easiest to plant are seeds closely followed by sod, plugs than sprigs. There are benefits to using each method in regards to time, and quality. Each of these methods have different characteristics which are summarized below.
Sod comes in rolls of grass that are ready to apply to the ground. Sod comes in sheets of seventy-two by eighteen inches and is to be laid perpendicular in a brick-like pattern. Sod provides instant gratification with the results of the lawn, and is relatively easy to apply.
Seeds require that all turf be removed from the soil for optimal results. The seeds are applied directly to the soil, and than watered. It is important the soil not be disturbed after the seeds are in place, and all traffic be halted to the area. The soil must receive the accurate amount of water as too much, or too little could stop the seeds from development.
Sprigs are often installed by professional landscaping company with a machine. It is important to note that sprigs can indeed be planted by hand but it is a meticulous undertaking that warrants much detail, and effort. When a lawn is created with sprigs, runners are installed under the ground. These runners contain joints which the grass will emerge from to connect with other joints and create the lawn.
Plugs are planted into the soil. Plugs are created in round or square shapes and are uniformly two inches in diameter. Holes are than created at even intervals throughout the area of the lawn and a plug is placed into each hole. Plugs take up to three months to grow and spread into each other creating a full lawn.
The lawn must be watered, nurtured (fertilized) and treated with pesticides if required. It is important to take each step in the process with care – so the grass will be greener on your side of the fence!