There’s a greater range of specialised products available to ensure success with your lawn, regardless of climatic conditions, soil type or usage. Avoid the confusion by talking to your local Zones Landscape consultants – they know your areas and know what’s going to work.
Getting the basics right is essential, but before you begin, there are a couple of things to consider. The first is size and shape; keeping it simple makes maintenance less complicated. Avoid planting specimen trees or shrubs in a lawn. They do little more than add time to the weekly mow. And what kind of wear and tear is the space going to experience? This will determine the type of seed you sow. Will it be a soothing oasis of green or a playground for a boisterous bunch of kids?
Autumn, when the ground’s still warm, and spring, when it starts to get warm, are the best times to plant a lawn and essentially you need to take just four simple steps; prepare, plant, feed and maintain. Begin by killing off and removing any existing growth – grass, weeds or moss – and ensure drainage is adequate. Add a layer of lawn preparation mix to provide essential nutrients and fertiliser, and compact the soil to make sure it’s even.
The next step is choosing the correct seed mix for the site. How quickly do you want results? Is it a ‘show lawn’ or a busy area requiring a wear-tolerant cover? Is there all day sun or semi-shade? Is it drought prone or exposed to salt-spray? How much time can you devote to maintaining it?
Gardeners with a lush green lawn will tell you the secret is regular feeding and watering. While it’s obviously important to water a lawn that’s being established, summer heat will stress the grass and watering at least once a week is necessary – more if the soil is light and sandy. Always check council regulations regarding use of sprinklers or soaker hoses. Feeding every few months with a nitrogen-rich specialist lawn fertiliser, particularly when the lawn is moist after rain, will encourage dense green growth and mean fewer weeds.
Let root systems develop before mowing a new lawn. This means growth to about 5cm with mower blades set on high. As the lawn matures, regular mowing will encourage growth and blades can be set at the level desired. Just don’t cut too close in hot weather. Whatever the size or shape of the lawn, make sure the edges are well defined and maintained.
Rather than handling a lawn project from scratch there are alternatives which leave out a step or two. Instant lawns can literally be rolled out when required; hydroseeding – effectively spray-on lawn – is another option and there are solutions like wool-based mats, embedded with lawn seed. Artificial turf has also become increasingly popular.
‘’The last five years have seen a move towards synthetic turf with it being used in commercial and home applications throughout the country. The continued development in synthetic yarn technology is now producing a realistic, natural turf alternative for the landscape market in NZ’’, says Phil Lewis from Team Turf.
‘’An all weather, mud free backyard provides endless hours of usage for kids and pets throughout summer and winter. This low maintenance solution is ideal for small, shady areas on the south side of the house through to full section installations covering the main living areas off decks and pools’’.
Regardless of the type of lawn, success is dependent on following the supplier’s instructions. And don’t be afraid to seek advice from the chap next door whose lawn always looks amazing. There’s nothing a Kiwi bloke likes more than bonding over a patch of grass.
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*All information is believed to be true at time of publishing and is subject to change.
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