Whether you’re building a new home on a newly purchased bare lot or remodeling the landscape of your existing property, we can probably both agree that having a beautiful lawn is a necessity for any beautiful residential landscape. If you want a beautiful lawn for your Geauga County property then follow this simple guide to have a beautiful, easy to maintain lawn in record time.
#1. Property and Soil Preparation
Is your property a new lot? basically a bare canvas waiting to be transformed or is your property already landscaped but your lawn just looks, well… horrible? If it’s the latter you can spend weeks, or months, even years trying to turn your lawn around. This article is going to discuss an entire lawn makeover, basically removing whatever you have and replacing it with fresh new soil (loam) and either grass seed or turf.
The soil conditions on your lot or property are very important to the entire process. They will need to be tested (ideally) to determine the soil’s pH. If the soil needs to be amended then recommendations can be made after the PH of the soil is known. If your pH is too low or too high it can prevent your lawns root system from absorbing the proper nutrients.
Grading The Property
If this is the installation of a new lawn, or you’re having drainage problems with an existing lawn then we’ll need to make sure that your property is graded correctly. Typically a 2 to 4 degree slope away from any structures or buildings is the preferred method of grading but it can vary from property to property. At the same time you’ll need to remove (or work around) any obstructions on the property such as large rock or stumps.
Replacing an Existing Lawn
If you have an existing lawn that needs to be revamped then we’ll need to use machinery to basically “remove” the old lawn from your property. A mini excavator with a blade or a bobcat (skid steer) works great for this and the soil/grass from your old lawn can be hauled away and used as fill, or dumped on your property for you to use as compost.
New lot or replacing an existing lawn you’ll still most likely have to haul in fresh soil for your lawn or “loam soil” as it’s known throughout the industry. Loam soil is one of the secrets to healthy, luscious looking grass because of the special mixture of sand, clay and silt.
Loam soil helps retain moisture, drains well and because of the sandy composition, makes it easier for the roots to breathe, even after heavy watering or rainfall. If you want a beautiful lawn it starts with the right soil and the right ground preparation.
#2. Start From Seed or Go For Instant Grass With Sod/Turf?
This is a decision everyone asks themselves when looking to install a beautiful new lawn, or what you hope will be a beautiful new lawn! Consider the size of your new lawn, the slope and your budget and the decision is much easier.
With turf/sod you’re going to get instant, healthy, green, weed-free grass of a pre-determined species that grows well in our area of Ohio, it will be expensive, especially to turf a very large area. Starting your lawn from seed can take longer, but it’s also more cost effective if budget is a concern and you have a very large lawn you’re trying to grow. If you are trying to install a lawn on a very large area then hydroseeding is also a popular option.
There are other factors to consider when deciding whether to use turf or grass seed such as the slope of your property for instance. On sloped properties, grass seed can easily wash downhill in a heavy rain. This leads to frequent reseeding if your plans for a new lawn get interrupted by the weather.
If you want the most beautiful lawn, in the shortest amount of time and you don’t mind paying for it, then turf is probably the best choice. After your soil has been prepared and the turf delivered you’ll have grass covering your property in a day or two and it will be ready-to-use within a few short weeks. You’ll start out with a healthy, weed-free lawn and where it goes from there is entirely up to you, or your landscaper.
Be sure to calculate the surface area of your lawn correctly by taking accurate length and width (length x width = surface area) measurements and accounting for any obstructions like driveways, gardens and other areas that won’t need any grass. Whether you’re using grass seed or turf you can save yourself some money by accurately determining how much you need. If you are unsure or have a complex property that you don’t want to measure consider having a pro come and do the estimate for you.
#3. Keep Your Lawn Cut Regularly
If you want a nice looking, uniform lawn then you need to make sure your grass is cut, regularly, especially during the growing season in spring and summer. Mowing your lawn obviously brings immediate cosmetic benefits to your property but it’s also beneficial for the health of your grass too.
You’ll want the mower adjusted to take about 1/3 of the height of your grass. This will keep the lawn short and uniform but won’t be so short that it causes stress to the root system. Remember, the blades of grass are leaves and actually collect sunlight to convert into energy, so cutting the grass too short will stunt that process and leave your lawn looking stressed with minimal growth.
Another question that comes up with cutting the lawn is should you leave the clippings on the lawn or bag them up and remove them? On a hot dry day with a short cut on the grass it’s probably okay to let the clippings stay on the grass. When you have a longer cut, or it’s quite wet then it’s best to bag the grass up and get it off the lawn (for aesthetic reasons primarily). Wet grass will clump up and cause lumps and clumps all over your lawn. If beautiful and uniform is what you want, then clumps of wet, dead grass everywhere won’t help.
#4. Keep An Edge On Your Lawn
Mowing your grass is important but if you really want the lawn to look tidy and well-cared for then you need to have an edge, an edge to your lawn!
Edging your lawn does two very important things. First, it establishes and “end” to your lawn and allows another landscape surface such as your driveway, sidewalks or gardens to begin. Second, it makes the unique curves and lines that make up your property look much sharper and more well defined.
There are various methods to edge a lawn from doing it by hand using edging tools, to having an edging product such as a brick or gravel border installed. Whichever option you choose edging your lawn and gardens will create nice looking, clean lines around your property.
#6. Aerate and “De-Thatch” Your Lawn At Least Twice Per Year
Over the period of a few months (especially if you’re leaving your grass clippings on the lawn) your lawn will accumulate a layer of un-decomposed grass stems, roots and clippings that will accumulate near the surface of your soil.
This layer of decomposing organic matter called “thatch” prevents oxygen and other nutrients from reaching the grass roots. It’s important for your soil to have good airflow in order to promote the microbial growth that will help break down the organic matter that accumulates in this thatch layer.
A regular aerating and de-thatching program completed once or twice per year (your lawn care professional can tell you) is an essential part of growing healthy, good looking grass.
#7. Fertilize Your Lawn At Least Twice Per Year
Fertilizing your grass with the right fertilizer at the right time of year is a good idea. Your grass is a growing organism that can deplete the available nutrients in it’s shallow root system over a period of time. Fertilizing your lawn develops a healthy root system and lush, thick, green grass that becomes the envy of a neighborhood. You can however, fertilize your grass too much and over-feeding usually results in a dead lawn.
#8. Consider an Irrigation System or Sprinklers
Keeping your lawn and surround foliage and gardens well watered is another key to lush, healthy, vibrant growth and any areas that aren’t receiving ample water will be very noticeable. Irrigation systems can be expensive to install if you have a large property but they provide good insurance against the hot summer months.
Another benefit to under-ground sprinklers or irrigation systems is that they help conserve water by running only at optimal times such as the evening or early morning. If you have a smaller lawn an irrigation system certainly isn’t necessary but a regular watering regime still is required. For large properties, where budget isn’t the main concern then under-ground sprinklers and irrigation systems are really the only way to go.
Want The Lawn Care Professionals To Take Care Of Your Lawn?
Lawn care can be overwhelming, especially if you have a large property and just don’t have the time to spend on your lawn. Big Dog Landscaping is a full service lawn care and lawn maintenance contractor based out of Chesterland OH and serving Geauga County, Summit County, and Cuyahoga County. We specialize in lawn installations, lawn restorations, lawn consulting, lawn maintenance and more.
If you want a beautiful lawn but don’t want to maintain it yourself then give the team at Big Dog Landscaping a call today (440) 596-3822 or fill out our online contact form and someone will get back to you shortly.