Your home probably already has a lawn in place. Therefore, we start this chapter by explaining how to maximize the beauty of your existing lawn. The finest lawns, such as golf course greens and Turner Field, are grown on specially prepared dirt, and graded to eliminate drainage problems, rapid runoffs, and steep slopes. A good dirt mix is topsoil and sand, along with organic matter. These lawns are watered daily, fertilized on a consistent schedule, sprayed with pre and post emergent weed killers, and cut frequently with sharp bladed mowers. However, this sounds like too much work for the majority of us. So, how do we maximize the beauty of our lawns?
The first step in maximizing the beauty of your existing lawn is to concentrate on making your grass thick and plush. Consistent watering and fertilizing are the two most important factors in cultivating a beautiful lawn. The best defense against weeds is a thick, healthy lawn. Socking your lawn with weed killers may kill the weeds, but it also makes it more difficult for your grass to flourish. Bare and thin areas of grass are more susceptible to weed seeds. Weed killers kill weeds, but also can inhibit the growth of your grass. The care your lawn needs depends on the type of grass you have. Our lawn care and renovation recommendations are broken down by grass type.
Designing Landscapes with Grass
Your lawn adds beauty and value to your home and is one of the most versatile and functional plants in the landscape. Turf grass enhances the environment in many ways which are particularly important in urban areas. Turf is one of the most effective plant covers. It reduce soil erosion and surface runoff, while also recharging ground water, which results in more efficient use of rainfall. A turf area reduces heat by as much as 30 degrees below that of concrete or asphalt area, and as much as 14 degrees below that of bare soil. The cooling effect of the average lawn is equal to over eight tons of air conditioning, which is twice that of the average home central air conditioning unit. Turf also absorbs dust and other air pollutants and produces oxygen. In most landscapes, turf also occupies the largest area and provides the best area for outdoor activities.
Lawns occupy such a large proportion of most lots, and tending them can take so much time and effort, that its worth thinking carefully about how much lawn you need and what you need it for.
From a design standpoint, the lawns most important function is to serve as a unifier. Lawns link a garden’s major elements, such as trees, shrubs, flower beds, walks, and pools. It’s a transporter, both visually and physically, taking you from one area of the property to another. Lawns also enhance the other plantings by establishing interesting textural and color contrasts.
The Size of a Lawn
Your lawn’s size depends on several factors, not the least of which is your budget. If your establishing a new lawn, you’ll soon learn that laying several thousand square feet of sod can be a pricey proposition. Therefore, you may opt for a smaller lawn bordered by ground cover or natural areas. The size of your family also affects this decision. Children enjoy playing on spacious lawns, but couples and single adults often find small lawns more appealing. Don’t forget that the amount of maintenance is directly proportional to the amount of grass. The larger your lawn, the more time you’ll spend mowing, fertilizing, raking, and watering.
The Shape of a Lawn
Shape is something most people don’t connect with a lawn. In fact, in many neighborhoods, lawns are essentially shapeless, blending into one another in a continuous strip of green down one side of the street. This is unfortunate, for a well defined lawn can be a dynamic part of your overall design. One way to define your lawn is to place planting beds between it and the adjacent lawns. Edging your lawn with brick bullet edged pavers or concrete curbing will further emphasize its form. Keep topography and architecture in mind when deciding on the shape of your lawn.