Watering Tips
February 9, 2019
The Vegetable Plot: February
February 11, 2019

Improving Your Garden

Making improvements to your garden can contribute greatly to injecting a new lease of life into your home. Whether you are installing decking or simply laying new turf, these changes can pay dividends towards giving your garden a fresh new look.

Laying new turf will certainly make your outside space look neat and tidy and if you are thinking about installing decking or a new patio, for example, your garden will have a more welcoming, sociable feel.

You may decide to take on your planned alterations yourself and if so, it would be useful to have some DIY experience, or someone with the experience to give you a helping hand!

Whatever changes you are thinking of making, you can be safe in the knowledge that you will not only add significant value to your home, but also achieve a look that you can show off in those summer months and gain a usable outdoor space for your family and friends.

Laying new turf

If you are determined to lay the turf yourself then the perfect time to lay a new lawn from scratch is early autumn, when the grass can root easily. Before you begin, you must make sure that the area to be treated is prepared correctly.

You will need to ensure that all weeds, large stones and non-organic waste are removed from the surface. If you are replacing an existing lawn, dig off the existing grass to about two inches.

The next job is to create a completely even surface to lay the turf upon. Have a garden fork, spade and a rake handy to help you with this. Firm the soil by walking across the entire area, treading down the whole surface and then rake for a fine finish.

Once you are happy that you have a clean, flat surface, sprinkle granular fertiliser over the soil (this is available at your local garden centre and will help the new turf to root) and then lightly rake the surface once more. Finish preparing the soil by watering it. Your turf is now ready to be laid!

It is important that you lay the new turf within 12 hours of delivery to avoid deterioration. Start by laying your first row along a straight edge and ensure good contact with the soil by pressing down firmly with the back of a rake. Lay the next row, making sure the pieces of turf are pushed right up to the first row. Subsequent rows should be laid in a brickwork pattern until the area has been covered.

You will then need to water the whole area; it is best to use a sprinkler to avoid walking on the turf. Try to refrain from walking on your new lawn for a few weeks while the turf roots into the soil and trim it lightly with the mower blades set high.

And that is it! All you need now is a bit of luck with the weather and to keep the turf watered.

Installing a patio/decking

The process of constructing a patio or decked area in your garden is a little more challenging than laying new turf, but if you feel comfortable with a bit of DIY then this project can prove very rewarding!

It is important to plan, even before you have bought the kit, the location of your proposed patio/decked area. Think about the parts of your garden that catch the sun for extended periods of the day/evening or that give you a little privacy from the neighbours.

There are various designs for decked areas (for example low level or elevated decks) so you will need to decide which design you prefer or which would be best suited to you garden. If you opt for an elevated deck, you may need some professional help to install the foundations and supports for your decking.

You might also want to consider the purpose of your designated area and what you envisage having on there, to get some idea of the amount of patio slabs/decking you will need to purchase.

Before you begin installing your decking, it is a good idea to remove any turf or plantation that may grow up between the deck boards, and also to make sure that the area drains water effectively.

Kayleen Hoard
Kayleen Hoard
Welcome to Everton Park and Garden Blog - My lovely gardening experiences

2 Comments

  1. Avatar Jo says:

    My garden is looking really dry and the grass is very thin and patchy. It’s not even as if we’ve had a scorching summer! I’ve tried watering but it’s a very big lawn and just seems to go muddy.

    Thanks,
    Jo

    • Kayleen Hoard Kayleen Hoard says:

      Hi Jo,

      It sounds like the lawn if suffering from poor drainage. After years of people trampling over it, the soil under the lawn becomes compacted and the water cannot penetrate down to the roots.

      There are a few simple things you can do. In autumn, when the soil is slightly moist go around with a fork and stick it in as deep as it will go and rock it back and forth, do this every six inches or so all over the lawn. Then spread sharp sand all over and brush it in so the holes fill with sand keeping them open so that water can now drain away.

      In early spring you will need to scarify the lawn, which basically means getting a wire rake and vigorously raking the whole area to remove the dead grass. By doing this you will encourage new growth and also lift the stems of spreading weeds like buttercups, so when you next mow you will cut them too.
      Because the lawn is bare in patches it also may need re-seeding. You can get packs of seed from garden centres. Just follow the instructions on the packet, and this should give you a nice, healthy, green lawn for next year.

      Good luck!

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