Regular maintenance keeps the lawn healthy without too much effort. If planting fromscratch, have well-prepared soil and the right grass for the climate. Regularly feed and water existing lawns and remedy any problems as they arise.
Planting a Lawn in Spring
Prepare the Yard
Rake the surface to remove stones and debris, working the soil to about 250mm deep. Apply a lawn-starter fertiliser and lightly water the levelled area for two days.
Check the Soil
Lay generous amounts of organic matter such as compost for water and nutrient retention and to help grass tolerate the soil pH. If grass grows slowly or shows unnaturally pale leaves, the soil pH may be unsuitable. Microorganisms that help grass take up vital nutrients thrive in soil with a pH level of 6.0 to 7.5.
Fertilise the soil, not just the grass, applying feed when the turf is dry to prevent strong concentrations clinging to blades of grass and burning them. Organic and slow-release fertilisers are less likely to burn the lawn or be washed out by rain or irrigation.
Grass for your Area
Grass species respond differently to the climate. In cold areas, cool-season grasses become green in spring and turn brown in winter, so sow seeds in early spring or autumn so they have at least six weeks to grow before the stress of temperature change. Most cool-season lawns need fertilising once in autumn for thick turf by having the roots build up nutrient reserves before going dormant. In mild-winter areas, warm-season grasses can withstand hot, dry summers, so seeds should be sown in late spring to early summer. Fertilise once in early summer and again in late summer.
Kentucky Bluegrass withstands frost, is resistant to wear and grows well in SA, NSW and Victoria.
Tall Fescue is drought tolerant, doesn’t run into the garden bed, has good colour and is hard wearing.
Bent Grass is evergreen grass for golfers, requiring plenty of water in summer and preferring full sunlight.
Fine Fescue is perfect for graziers, with speedy seed germination and only requiring light mowing.
Perennial Ryegrass is cheap and hard-wearing, for play areas and around pools.
Carpet Grass resists weeds, is hard wearing and is suited to coastal regions.
Buffalo Grass prefers full sun, is tough and grows very densely.
Durban Grass is slow growing and shade tolerant, offering good coverage under trees.
Kikuyu Grass is vigorous and hardy, tolerating dry spells. It’s also resistant to most weeds and common pests.
Couch Grass can tolerate dry weather, is an aggressive runner and hard wearing.