There are four key steps to get your new lawn planted and looking great. Let’s get started!
1. Check your soil
The pH levels of the soil are critical for laying a good foundation for your new yard. You can get soil tester kits from garden supply stores, or you can seek out an experienced landscape company to help you. The key for a great lawn is to have a mildly acid pH level of 6.0 to 7.5
For highly acidic lawns, ground limestone should be added. To increase a point in pH level, 50-100 pounds of limestone should be added per 1000 square feet. For highly alkaline lawns, sulfur needs to be added at a rate of 20 pounds per 1000 square feet.
Your soil test will show the need for additional elements, such as iron or nitrogen. Use standard fertilizers to add the needed level of these nutrients.All of these additions need to be worked into the soil with rakes or tillers until all clumps and concentrations have been broken down and smoothed out.
2. Decide what kind of grass to grow
Your climate is the primary factor in selecting the type of grass for your yard. If your area has cool fall and spring weather, then cool season grasses such as Kentucky bluegrass or tall fescue would be a good selection. These grasses can be grown from seed, with a germination period of 14 to 28 days depending on variety.
3. Decide whether to use seed, sod or plugs
The major factor in choosing seed, sod or plugs is time. If you have lots of time, then planting a lawn with seed is the most economical way to get your lawn started. If you need to get your yard in quickly, sod is the quickest, followed by plugs.
Cool season grasses are best started by seed. Planting in the fall takes advantage of the fall growing season, and allows the new growth to take off in the spring. Warm season grasses like Bermuda can be started by seed or sod. St. Augustine and Zoysia need to be started by sod or plugs for best results. These grasses need plenty of water to start but have adapted well to moderate climates that are sometimes quite hot.
4. Water as required based on seed, sod and plugs
For a lawn started by seed, do not over water. Once the lawn is established, then watering at the rate of one inch a week will maintain the lawn in good shape. For a lawn started by sod or plugs, water every other day, particularly in the early weeks. Once the sod has taken root, watering two to three times a week should be enough during the growing season. Planting a lawn can be a rewarding outlet for you as you landscape your home and property. Follow these tips, and you will find the task straightforward and doable!