The lawn identity – Part 1 of 2

A lawn is a great addition to any garden. What makes it better? To start with it needs to be level. This doesn't mean spirit levelled but evenly levelled, ie, no holes.

This helps to distribute water (which allows drainage) and gives an even cut when a lawn mower runs over it. To help level a lawn, I dump either sand or screened topsoil and then rake it over the holes using a self-levelling rake - a rake with three parallel bars with spaces in between. Over time, the lawn will grow into the material and raise itself.

Next you need to look at your edges. A lawn lives and dies by its edges. I use a brushcutter with 2.7mm cord and tend to either edge squarely or at a 45 degree angle. If edging squarely the cord needs to 'bite' into the soil, being held vertically with both hands on the shaft. This creates a gap between the lawn and its border. A classic formal look. A 45 degree edge needs the cord to rotate from the boundary towards the lawn leaving the cut grass on the lawn to be picked up by the mower. The head needs to be held firmly on a 45 degree angle while cutting, moving backwards tends to help as the cord won't 'kick' as much. This technique tends to give a smoother transition and more relaxed look. Areas around trees and on slopes should be cut and not sprayed as it encourages the grass to outcompete the annual weeds while also looking better.

Lastly, the grass needs to be mown. Ideally the grass should be cut to a height taking into consideration lawn growth and amount of use. A slow-growing lawn should be cut high. A highly trafficked lawn should be cut high also. Clippings from the lawn should be caught where possible. This prevents disease, seed spreading and stops clipped grass suffocating the lawn. Where it's not possible to catch the grass, mulching blades should be used (ie blades with an upturned lip that helps to propel the clippings around the deck).

Coming soon... The Lawn Ultimatum.

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