For many people, a beautiful lawn is one of the most enjoyable parts of home ownership.If your lawn isn't quite how you'd like it, sprucing it up is a great home improvement project! If you've never had a lawn before, it can be a little overwhelming at first. There are many different types of grasses, fertilizers, and rules for lawn care to learn.
What Grass Do You Need?
There are two main types of grass to know about:
- Warm Season - Warm season grass tends to go dormant and turn brown in cool or cold temperatures. Bermuda, Zoysia, Bahia, and St. Augustine are some of the most common types of warm season grass. For optimal year-round growth, they should be planted in spring and reseeded during the winter.
- Cold Season - Cold season grass will tend to grow dormant and may brown in the height of the summer months. Fescue, Ryegrass, and Kentucky Bluegrass are among the most popular cold season selections. Since these types originate in northern climates, they grow in the spring and the fall.
Buying the Right Seed
Types of seed for sale include:
- Straight Seed - This type of package includes just one kind of seed. It's common with warm season grass.
- Seed Mixture - These packets contain various seeds that each balance one another's strengths and weaknesses.
- Blended Mixture - These mixes contain several types of the same grass species, leveraging their unique strengths.
- Lawn Repair Mixture - Grass seed, fertilizer, and mulch are combined in these packages, which help fix lawn damage.
When choosing a seed mixture, there are some considerations you need to know. Any good seed mix will indicate precisely how much of each type of seed the package contains. Avoid any packets that are labeled "variety not stated," as this may indicate poor quality seeds.
You should also look out for the germination percentage. This percentage gives the expected percent of seeds that will develop into grass under ideal conditions. Since conditions are rarely perfect, it's important to look for a germination percentage over 75%.
Planting Your Grass
Before planting new grass, work the soil with a sharp garden tool and remove all weeds and hard debris. Mix in organic material to aid in water retention, then rake the soil smooth. Spread the fertilizer evenly over the readied area, then plant the seeds. For best results, be careful to sow your seeds evenly. Every seed package will have directions for you to follow.
Watering Your Grass
Grasses have different water needs and tolerances for the amount of hydration they receive daily. While some grasses native to desert climes barely need water at all, most traditional turf grasses must be watered regularly. Daily watering is required at the outset of planting regardless of type.
In the early growth phase, it's a good idea to layer straw or hay on top of the seeds. This process helps them get more moisture as the soil begins its development. Daily watering should continue until the grass is three inches high. Usually, watering can be scaled back to every other day after that.
Creating a lawn you can be proud of is a home improvement project that gives plenty of joy to homeowners around the country. Unlike many other things you can do around your property, this is one home improvement project that could become a fascinating hobby for years to come.