You look over your fence and your neighbor has the most beautiful green lawn you have ever seen. Those who have established lawns with bare spots, weeds, drainage problems, or the host of other difficulties that plague lawn keepers, will find suggestions on how to correct and avoid these flaws, this is a big project that will require commitment of time and energy.
Whether your tasks are major or minor, they are doable, and the results will make you glad you made the effort.
Things You Will Need
Steel Garden Rake
Chopped hay, leaves, rotted sawdust, rotted manure, compost
Rotary Power Tiller
Remove all building debris and large stones form the site. Bottles, cans, bricks, and wood waste will obstruct roots, impede water movement and sometimes cause disease. Mushrooms, not welcome in lawns, are the fruiting bodies of fungi living on rotting wood in the soil.
Add topsoil, first grade the area, to make certain drainage will be carried away form the house and to avoid small hills and valleys in the lawn that are both unsightly and a source of puddling.
Use a steel garden rake or arrange for mechanical equipment if the work entails moving a lot of soil. Steep slopes should be terraced rather than graded; although grasses will grow on steep slopes, mowing will be a headache. Remember, you are actually creating a sub-grade on which you will be adding topsoil; keep the top of this sub-grade four to eight inches below the desired finished lawn level.
Maintain the existing grade around trees. Many trees will tolerate up to eight inches of additional soil, or fill. To avoid problems, you may want to build a rockwell, extending out three or more feet all around the tree.
Before adding topsoil, mix organic matter into the subsoil using a rotary power tiller, if necessary. Chopped hay, leaves, rotted sawdust, rotted manure, compost, and peat are all effective for this purpose. A one-to three-inch-deep layer is acceptable and more is helpful.
Add 50 to 100 pounds of lime and 10 to 15 pounds of super phosphate per 1,000 square feet. Mix all of this into the subsoil with a tiller or by hand
Add a layer of topsoil, three to five inches in depth. Figure on twelve cubic yards per 1,000 square feet of lawn. Ideally, this topsoil should be tested, using a soil-testing kit available from garden centers in your area. Last Chemical Fertilizers should then be added and tilled in if needed.
The extra efforts you make to be certain your soil is of top quality before you grade, roll, and seed your new lawn, therefore, will pay gratifying dividends in years ahead.
Tips & Warnings
After watering or heavy rains, puddled areas quickly indicate trouble spots where grading must be improved.