Lawn Care

Buying Garden Patio Furniture

When the weather permits, there is no better place to be than in the garden. Every garden should contain furniture of some sort to provide comfort and relaxation for when gardening chores take a back seat and idleness becomes the order of the day.

Your choice of garden furniture will be based on several considerations. Larger families will obviously need a fair amount of seating and table space for eating, as will more social folks who enjoy hosting regular barbecues during the summer.

Not everyone likes hot, direct sunlight so a garden furniture set that includes a parasol might be a good choice (to provide shelter from the rain in addition to shade depending on the British summer), or perhaps a swing seat that incorporates canopy. If you like a bargain, try and buy your garden furniture before spring when demand starts to rise sharply.

The look of your furniture is also important depending on the style of your garden. A plastic table and char set is perfect for the smaller domestic garden but may look out of place in a traditional rustic cottage garden. Plastic furniture does have its advantages though; it’s light, easy to store, won’t break easily and can be cleaned quickly.

Teak furniture looks good in the majority of gardens and is available in a huge range of styles and sizes, making it a very popular (and often good value for money) option. Teak can be left outside all year without any problems but will need re-oiling if you want to maintain the rich deep brown colour.

For the ultimate in comfort and easy storage, why not consider a hammock? If you’re lucky enough to have a couple of suitable trees in the garden, a hammock positioned under a leafy canopy will provide the most alluring of opportunities for drifting off during a hot summer. Even if you don’t have a natural fixing point, specially designed stands are available allowing you to position the hammock wherever you choose.

Lawn Care

Buying and Laying Garden Turf

When looking to create a new lawn, the advantages of using turf are obvious. Within a space of a few hours, bare earth is transformed into a new lawn. However, turf is more expensive than growing grass from seed and it requires careful maintenance during those first weeks to protect your investment.

Rolawn turf.

Turf is a classic example of ‘you get what you pay for’ so it makes sense to buy the best you can afford. If you go for the cheapest available and expect a decent lawn, you may be disappointed with the result.

Good quality turf costs money to produce and harvest properly. For a decent lawn, look for a turf that contains a mixture of different grass varieties and not just meadow grass. Either check with the supplier what varieties of grass the turf contains, or buy from a reputable source. Good quality turf will also be of a uniform thickness and be free of tears and holes. If it does have tears and holes, it was probably to young to harvest, or the soil layer is too thin. The correct age of cut turf is between 12-14 months and it should be harvested to order – not cut and then left rolled up until purchase.

The best known online turf supplier is Rolawn who supply two varieties of high quality turf cut to order and available for delivery. Use the turf calculator below to find out how much you need to buy.

Laying turf.

Turf can be laid at any time of year, but it is best to avoid carrying out turf laying in very cold or frosty conditions.

The preparation of the site is crucial to achieving a good lawn. If there is an existing lawn, this must be removed either by hand using a spade, or by hiring a turf cutter. The underlying soil needs to be dug to a depth of 4-6 inches and all roots, debris and large stones removed. For large areas you can save yourself a lot of time by using a rotavator.

The prepared area needs to firm and level, but not overly compacted. Walk back and forth over the area and ‘heel’ the soil, then level off using a flat edged rake. If you have the patience, allow the site to settle for a couple of weeks and check for any low spots and weed growth.

For the best results, buy some new topsoil and spread an inch or so over the new area. This will greatly encourage healthy root formation. If the underlying soil is poor, as is often the case with newly constructed homes, you may need to buy enough topsoil to replace the top 4 inches. Topsoil is best purchased from the same source as the turf. Suppliers will know and recommend the best soil type for your chosen turf. One of the best online sources of turf and topsoil is Rolawn. It is also advisable to apply a starter fertilizer to the area before you lay the turf.

If practical, always start laying the turf along a straight section of the garden. Give the bare earth a light sprinkle with water immediately before you begin laying the turf. Turf is best laid with the ends of each section staggered (similar to brickwork), this will lock the sections together and prevent long gaps. Cut the sections where necessary with a spade or old knife. Don’t try to bend the turf sections to form curved edges, lay them straight and trim to shape. Avoid walking directly on the freshly laid turf, use wooden boards to cross the area and to press the turf roots firmly down into the soil.

Water the turf thoroughly after laying and make sure the turf does not dry out for the first 2 weeks. After this period, the turf should have established itself and will require weekly watering during dry spells (just like any other lawn). Your new lawn can be mowed as soon as it’s long enough.

More Lawn Care Tips from Detmse – The Lawn Experts

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Lawn Care

Topdressing Your Lawn

Lawn topdressing helps to even out minor undulations, break down thatch and improve drainage and tolerance to wear and tear. Spring and autumn are ideal times to top dress the lawn, however it can be carried out at any time as long as the grass is growing actively. It is important that the conditions and the materials are right, ie the grass should be dry to avoid the material sticking to the grass leaves and the topdressing itself should be dry so that it can be worked easily.

Start by mowing the lawn and carrying out any other maintenance required, such as spiking and lawn scarification to remove moss and thatch.

Spread the lawn topdressing as evenly as possible and work into the surface of the lawn with the back of a rake or a stiff brush. If the surface is uneven, adding extra top dressing will help to fill in low spots, but do not cover the grass completely.

It is also a good idea to add a high quality grass seed to the topdressing to help fill in any thin or bare areas in the lawn, particularly if the lawn has also been scarified.

Recommend rates of lawn topdressing application:

  • Spring & Autumn – up to 3 litres per m² (approx 4kg/m²).
  • Summer – up to 1.5 litres per m² (approx 2kg/m²).

Once you have finished topdressing, there should be no obvious clumps of topdressing on the surface and the grass should be clearly visible. A good shower of rain or watering the lawn (when you have finished) will put the finishing touches to the task.

The lawn should not be cut immediately after applying topdressing, as this will remove some of the material that you are trying to work into the surface and may cause unnecessary wear to your mower.

Rolawn Lawn Topdressing is a high quality, sand based lawn topdressing available in convenient hooded 0.73m3 tote bags and small bags.

Rolawn Medallion® Premium Lawn seed is a superior blend of cultivars for a healthy, green and hardwearing lawn.

Rolawn Minster Pro™ Ornamental Lawn seed is a blend of fine leafed, shade & drought tolerant cultivars for ornamental lawns.

More Lawn Care Tips from Detmse – The Lawn Experts

To receive regular free lawn care tips and details of promotional offers, sign up to the Detmse newsletter. This free guide will give you valuable information on how to look after your lawn and how to get the best from it taking into account any seasonal or climate conditions at the time.

Lawn Care

Lawn Feed and Fertiliser

Why feed your lawn?

Lawn feeds and Fertilisers are an essential part of maintaining a healthy, vigorous and attractive lawn. Not only does feeding produce a greener looking lawn, it also promotes a thick, close knit turf able to withstand weeds, moss and drought far better than an untreated lawn.

Spring lawn feed and Fertiliser

The spring lawn feed is the most important of the year because it replenishes nitrogen reserves essential for vigorous growth throughout the summer. A spring lawn feed will contain a higher proportion of nitrogen than autumn lawn feed in addition to phosphorous and potassium.

 

 

Rolawn spring lawn feed contains:

N Nitrogen – To promote thicker, greener leaf growth
P Phosphorus – Strengthens the roots
K Potassium – Strengthens the shoots

N-P-K fertiliser ratio of 11:5:5

Mg Magnesium – Protects against pathogens
Mn Manganese – Helps roots resist fungal attacks
Fe Iron – Promotes a greener colour

Autumn lawn feeding

During autumn, an application of a nitrogen rich Fertiliser is not required because this will only encourage growth during the winter months. Although an autumn lawn feed will contain nitrogen (albeit less that a spring lawn feed) the primary ingredients will be phosphorus and potassium to strengthen roots and shoots before winter.

Rolawn autumn lawn feed contains:

N Nitrogen – To promote thicker, greener leaf growth
P Phosphorus – Strengthens the roots
K Potassium – Strengthens the shoots

N-P-K Fertiliser ratio of 4:10:5

Mg Magnesium – Protects against pathogens
Mn Manganese – Helps roots resist fungal attacks
Fe Iron – Promotes a greener colour

Summer lawn feeding

A summer lawn feed is not necessary unless your lawn appears pale during June and July, also take into account dry weather which will affect the growth rate and appearance. See our lawn care article for advice on lawn watering.

Applying lawn feed and Fertiliser

Lawn feed is best applied on a calm day, ideally just before rainfall. The soil needs to be moist, but the grass foliage dry. During a dry spell, water the lawn thoroughly and apply the lawn feed a couple of days later. If it does not rain within a couple of days of applying the lawn feed, water the area thoroughly again.

It’s important to apply lawn feed and Fertiliser as evenly as possible to avoid both untreated and over treated areas. Such errors will show up as pale patches, or greener, thicker areas of lawn. The most accurate method of applying lawn feed is to use a drop spreader if you have a small lawn, or a rotary spreader for larger areas. Two products worth looking at are the Westland drop spreader, and the Scotts rotary lawn spreader.

Lawn Care

Lawn Care and Maintenance

Mowing the lawn.

Lawn mowing begins in March and continues through to October. The lawn can also be given a light cut during milder periods in winter. At the beginning and end of the growing season, cut the lawn once a week. During the summer, cut twice a week. If the event of a dry spell, reduce the cutting to once a week.
If the lawn is allowed to get out of hand, reduce the long grass gradually over 2 or 3 cuts.
The cutting height depends on many factors such as the variety of grass and time of year, as a general guide, a height of just over an inch is the norm for a utility lawn during the summer.

Grass clippings.

Many people advise leaving the grass clippings on the turf to retain moisture and return nutrients to the lawn. This is ok when the weather is warm and dry and the clippings are able to dry out, but when they become damp the turf can become spongy and worm activity can increase. Worm casts cause small bumps in the lawn and provide an ideal place for weeds to take hold. Also, if you have a few weeds on your lawn to start with, spreading the clippings can spread the weeds.

Watering the lawn.

After a week of dry summer weather, it’s time to think about watering your lawn. You can tell when the turf needs water, firstly it starts to lose it’s springiness, then the bright green colour of the grass will start to dull. It’s important to water as soon as you notice these telltale signs as it won’t be long before the grass begins to turn light brown. In addition, some weeds are more drought resistant than grass and will begin to spread. Regardless of how dry the lawn gets – even if it turns brown – it will survive and recover, but it won’t look good and any weeds may have spread in the process.

Depending on the soil type, it may be necessary to spike the lawn prior to watering. Check to see if the soil is baked hard. As a general guide, give the lawn an inch a water for each dry week. Place a cup on the lawn within range of the sprinkler and run the water until the water in the cup is an inch deep. This will give you an idea of how long to run the sprinkler in each area of the lawn. Don’t water too regularly; once a week during a dry spell is sufficient.

Lawn raking and scarifying.

Gentle raking during spring helps to break up thatch and lifts the grass in preparation for mowing. Thatch (also called a mat) is a fibrous layer of dead matted grass on the surface of the soil. When thatch becomes more than an inch thick, it reduces water penetration. A metal tine lawn rake can be used gently to break the thatch up. Leave around half an inch of thatch as a thin layer does help prevent water loss and will give the lawn a springy feel.

Scarifying is basically using a rake with more force and is best carried out in the autumn. The purpose of scarification is to remove thatch and other debris from the lawn. When carried out in September, scarification will help encourage the production of side shoots. It also helps to remove moss after the application of a moss killer.

Aerating the lawn.

The purpose of lawn aeration is to allow oxygen and water to penetrate below the surface of the lawn and to allow carbon dioxide to escape. Aeration is achieved by spiking the lawn with a garden fork driven into the surface to a depth of 3-4 inches.

It is only really necessary to spike the BEST CORDED ELECTRIC LAWN MOWERS if you have heavily trafficked areas such as pathways or play areas, or if you notice water laying on the surface during rains. These areas are likely to suffer from compaction below the surface and will benefit from spiking during September. Use a garden fork or hollow tine aerator and leave 6 inches between the lines of holes.

Pricking is a gentler form of spiking and is carried out during spring and summer. Again, the objective of pricking is to allow water to penetrate the soil. Special pricking tools are available that slice into the lawn surface, pruning the grass roots and promoting growth.

Feeding the lawn.

An attractive lawn requires regular feeding with fertilizer in order to maintain a healthy appearance. In addition to making the grass look greener, lawn fertilizer produces a dense close-knit turf, making it harder for weeds and moss to take hold. See out lawn feeding article for more information.

When choosing a spring lawn feed, make sure you pick one made up mainly of nitrogen. This is the most important element required by the grass and promotes vigorous, green leaves.

The easiest option for lawn feeding is to use a specially made lawn builder or a feed that is designed for a specific time of year, for example, ‘Spring lawn Feed’. Many lawn feeds will also incorporate a weed or moss killer. A drop spreader will help to you apply lawn fertilizer quickly and evenly to a small lawn. If you have a large lawn, you can use a rotary type spreader.

More Lawn Care Tips from Rolawn – The Lawn Experts

To receive regular free lawn care tips and details of promotional offers, sign up to the Rolawn newsletter. This free guide will give you valuable information on how to look after your lawn and how to get the best from it taking into account any seasonal or climate conditions at the time.

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