CHENNAI: A lawn is the basic feature of any garden. The green carpet serves to enhance the beauty of the garden, be it large or small. Proper lawn maintenance plays a crucial part in any landscape design. A beautiful well-maintained lawn can make the entire landscape look good, whereas a lawn that is not maintained can completely ruin its beauty. The lawn not only harmonises with a decor of the drawing room, but also presents a suitable background for a specimen tree or a shrub, as well as for colourful beds and borders. The position of the lawn largely depends upon the layout of the garden in relation to the house. In general, lawn should be wide open with access to direct sunshine.
Preparation of site and grass selection
After choosing the site, the next important factor for consideration is choosing the correct type of lawn. The preparation of site includes digging, levelling and enriching the soil with organic manures or by amending with fertile soil. If the soil is very heavy, coarse sand may be added by removing subsoil to a depth of 20 cm. Drainage for excess rainwater should be made if the ground is not sloppy. The site should be thoroughly levelled with spade and pebbles must be handpicked.
If there is ample sunlight, the best and easiest grass is the Mexican grass which comes as turfs. Turfs are nothing but pieces of earth with compact grasses on them. These turfs should be placed on the prepared ground site, side by side and beaten down flat with a turf beater. The entire turfed area should be rolled and watered liberally. The other popular way of laying grass in by dibbling. Shade grass or blade glass is usually laid in this manner. This is the cheapest but a time-consuming method. Small pieces of grass roots should be dibbled 10-15 cm apart in a levelled ground when it is wet after rain. The roots spread and grow underground in the course of six months making a fairly compact lawn by frequent mowing, rolling and watering. However, in areas where there is shortage of water or sunlight, or for areas like terrace gardens where water proofing can become an issue, the best option is Astro turf. They come in many qualities and the good ones look exactly like real grass. It is synthetic and can be easily maintained and kept clean.
It includes rolling, mowing, watering and restoration of patchy places, which should be done regularly.
Fertilising the lawn thrice a year is adequate to maintain rich greenness. At times, well-decomposed compost at 10 kg/10 sq m area will be sufficient as top dressing.Weeds should be removed as soon as they appear, otherwise they spread, seed multiply and overpower the grass. In the absence of rain, watering is done regularly at weekly intervals.
Mowing should be done at brief intervals and never allow to produce seed stalks. Avoid cutting the grass too short as this can damage the grass, inhibit a deeper root system from setting up and give rise to weeds. Different grasses have different heights at which they can grow best, the ideal height of most grasses is three to four inches. Removing more than one-third of the grass leaf in a single cutting is not recommended. Mow only on dry grass and not when the grass is wet.
The best time to water the lawn would be during the early hours of morning. Watering during this time will allow the water to reach the roots without evaporating. Mid-afternoons may lead to water getting evaporated soon and watering at night times can give rise to the possibilities of diseases. While watering, care should be taken to spread the water homogeneously across the lawn without over flooding or missing certain areas/spots. If the lawn is placed on heavy slopes, make sure that the water does not run-off. Several rounds of watering would be necessary for such surfaces to ensure adequate penetration.