How to Build a Lawn that Grows!
Do not build your new home lawn until the outside of the house is completely finished! The last thing you want is to have people tramping around the house killing the new grass that is just starting to peek up through the topsoil.
When the contractors have left, it is time to call in the landscapers or do it yourself. Before you call any landscaping company you may want to have a design done of your new home surroundings. You will do this for two reasons! First, you yourself will want to know what your landscaping will look like before the landscapers start. The time to make changes with the design is on paper, not during construction. Making changes during construction is costly and leaves an opening for a contractor to soak you for the extra work they have to do that is not in the contract.
The second important reason you need a landscape design is so you can get firm quotes from three landscaping contractors. The contractor will come to your new home and look the site over carefully with you to make sure he understands what you want. Together you will look at the landscape design and talk about every diagram and plant that is on the design. Some landscaping companies offer design work free as long as they get the job.
I know for a fact that it is not always wise to except the lowest bidder’s price. I also know it is extremely important that you look at other homes the bidders have worked on and get references from each of them. I must say that once you hire a landscaper you are stuck with them unless they fail to follow the plan.
I am going to give you some helpful hints on building a lawn. The soil you use will determine the quality and thickness of your grass. Pay close attention to the grass over the septic system, it is always greener and thicker because it pulls nutrients from the ground. The septic system basically provides a fertilizer for the grass as any animal manure would do for a hay field.
The soil for the base needs to be earthy and maybe even a little bit of clay mixed in with it would be good. The reason is because this type of soil holds moisture far longer than a granular material. Do not use pit run gravel or sandy material for a base because the water will drain through it quickly. It may be ok in a wet season but as soon as things dry up so does your grass. Your grass needs a lot of water to maintain its green color and to stay healthy, poor grass will bring weeds.
Shape your lawn all the way around your new home before you start any flower beds or walkways. You must have the lawn graded for proper water drainage. If you are going to have an in ground pool or tennis court and even a walk way you must shape your ground first. All these things will need to be elevated higher than the lawn so water runs away from them. If you build your tennis court in a hole you will be walking on water, if you build your walk way in a low lying area water will drain onto it.
So again I recommend you finish all the construction work outside your new home before you build a lawn. If you are building a tennis court, walk way or in ground swimming pool you will have a lot of machine traffic going back and forth that will destroy your lawn.
Your soil base is heavy clay like material to hold moisture, do not use too much clay because it becomes very hard and will crack. When grading around the home or walk ways stay down about 3-4 inches, this will allow room for a blended soil that you will plant or hydro seed in. Again the base is to hold moisture and the screened blended topsoil is too plant your grass in. I warn you not too mess around with topsoil that is not mixed with manure or screened. Blended soils generate great looking lawn grass and screened soil spreads out so easy and looks 100% better.
Do not tramp your soil or pack it down after it is seeded, your earth needs to breathe to give oxygen to the grass through the roots. If you use proper soils and leave the soil loose your lawn will start to grow in a few days. You can seed the lawn by hand and use a leaf rake to mix it in with the soil, you can use a Brillion seeder that buries the seed for you and rolls it out flat or you can hydro-seed it.
Hydro-seed is grass seed, paper, and a green coloring. The coloring is so you can see what you have seeded; the newspaper is to protect the seed until it germinates. All this material is added to water in a big tank which is pumped through a hose onto your lawn.
If you plant early in the spring when there is a lot of moisture in the ground you really only need to seed by hand. Grass is very slow growing if at all in dry weather. If your lawn doesn’t grow the way you wanted, usually it is because it is too dry. Do not cut your new grass too soon; let it grow to provide shade and moisture for the slower seeds. Your new lawn will get thicker and greener by the day, in about 2-3 weeks you may be able to fire up that brand new Kubota lawn mower
Do not plant a lawn after the first week of September because it will likely die either from too much rain or winter kill. The best time to plant is May, June, July in parts that have winters and the rest of you need to build a good base and take your chances. Never water your lawn through the day because the sun dries it up faster than it will soak in. Always water your lawn in the evening; this will give it a chance to soak into the soil. The roots will turn and extend to the water source, if you are watering through the day the root will be burned up once the sun dries up the water. This is also a waste of water, use water conservatively and smartly.