Kneel Before Sod: Installing a New Lawncomments (0) January 2nd, 2013 in Project Gallery
Most of our home improvement tips deal with home renovation or home remodel projects, but the lawn is an essential piece of Americana, a symbol of man's connection with nature and an enduring appreciation of owning land. It is also a reflection of you, the owner, so why settle for anything less than a healthy lawn of verdant grass? If your lawn has fallen prey to detrimental weather, aggressive weeds or it's merely a victim of your neglect, you owe it to your property to restore the lawn to its former green glory.
To start from square one, you'll have to end your lawn's failed existence and extract it from the earth. The two primary methods of removing lawns is either by using herbicide or mechanical separation.
If you're fairly handy and want to take on the removal process yourself, a sod cutter can save you a lot of time and back pain. Small yards should only require the use of a grape hoe. For situations where you need to remove boulders, concrete, trees or shrubbery, a backhoe rental can do the trick, but this can be challenging work and is really only a good idea if you have previous experience with one. Make your life easier by cutting the turf when the land is moist. Once your lawn is a barren patch of brown, reduce the area to a proper level with a landscaping rake. The ground should slope away from your home and approximately one to two inches below any landscaping fixtures and walkways.
Enlist the assistance of your county's Cooperative Extension Service-they will supply recommendations for when to seed or sod and where to send soil samples for testing. The CES will also suggest what amendments to add to the soil to ensure that it thrives in your area.
The Right Turf
What is right for your lawn: seed or sod? Though sod requires greater expense, skill and time to install, it comes with many advantages. Sod yields immediate results and is more resistant to weeds and erosion. For sloping lawns, sod won't be washed downslope like seed after the first rain. After sod is laid down, it requires less long-term care.
Determining the right grass is a matter of considering the lawn's exposure to UV rays, slope, location and season. Bahiagrass, buffalo grass and centipede grass are ideal for Southern states and are best suited for spring and summer seeding. For Californians, consider Kentucky Bluegrass or ryegrass for cool-season seeding in autumn; the soil temperature should range between 68 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit, perfect for avoiding weeds and promoting root establishment. Perennial Bermuda grass such as Blackjack or LaPrima are great for warm-season seeding.
Before installing the sod, add any recommended soil amendments, till them into the soil and hose down the ground. Use a lawn roller (filled with about a third of water) to evenly compact the soil. Extensively water your naked lawn a full two days before laying seed or sod. We'll assume you chose advantageous sod. First, add fertilizer high in phosphorous and a light spray of water. Starting at the lowest elevation, distribute the strips along the lawn toward your home. Soak each sod strip with water before moving on to the next. Slice the pallets with a utility knife to piece your lawn puzzle together and trim edges to fit around landscaping obstructions. Again, use the lawn roller to compress the pallets into the soil to eliminate any lingering air pockets, and top it all off with a thorough watering to a soil depth of eight inches.
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posted in: Project Gallery, restorations, How-to, installation, lawn, grass, sod, choosing
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