Your lawn can be a mix or mulch, ground cover or grass. Many people have been cutting back on the actual amount of grass in their backyard to help with time spent maintaining the lawn and watering.
photo credit: cupcakes2
But whatever amount of lawn you have it need to be healthy and full with out bare spots for the lawn to have a flowing look. And a healthy lawn can be a centerpiece in your landscape design and will cool the temperatures around your home.
It will also add cleaner air to you backyard. Add a few plants for color and accent and you have created a perfect backyard oasis to relax in and enjoy your free time.
Planting a lawn
Plant cool-season grasses in early spring or fall and warm-season grasses in late spring to early summer.
The first step is to determine you soil mix. You can send a sample to your local cooperative extension service or test it yourself with a home testing kit. This will help you to determine what nutrients you have and lack, what the pH is, and whether or not you need lime or sulphur.
Your neighbors may also know the soil conditions that are most common in your area. I know I have high acid and clay in most soil.
After you know what your soil lacks for a healthy lush lawn you can improve the soil by adding 2 to 3 inches of organic matter over the planting area. Compost and bark are two organic materials that are often used. A starter fertilizer may also be beneficial to your yard if you lack potassium and phosphorous.
Till the soil to mix in the organic matter to a depth of six to eight inches. This step may take several passes to get properly mixed into the soil. Smooth the planting area with a leveling rake.
You can sow seed, lay sod over the planting area or plant stolens. Which process you decide on will depend on your climate, time and the amount you plan to spend on your new lawn area.
In choosing your grass you can check which type of grass grows best in your area. Your garden center or nursery will be able to help you select the best grass for the climate and even for the use of your yard. A yard with heavy traffic or children will need a hardier grass mix.
Also keep in mind that you need to plant cool-season grasses in early spring or fall and warm-season grasses in late spring to early summer.
Avoid letting your newly planted lawn dry out. You may need to water more than once a day for at least a week or two after planting. You will also need to keep an eye on the moisture of the lawn for six to eight weeks. If the lawn dries out it will die in places.
You will also want to keep children and pets off the grass until it is about 1 ½ inches tall. At this time you can let traffic on the yard and even mow it. You may want to rope off your yard if you live in a town or area with many children to protect the lawn from intruders.
If your new lawn is watered well and has the right nutrients it will be healthy and look great for years to come.