5 Steps Before Installing a Lawn
– Step 1: Weed the area of the future lawn
– Step 2: Amend the soil
– Step 3: Till the ground
– Step 4: Level the ground
– Step 5: Roll and rake
Sowing grass is not very difficult. Preparing the ground beforehand, however, is a relatively thankless task. But it’s the careful execution of this task that will give you the green carpet of your dreams and make it easier to maintain.
This post explains how to prepare the ground for a lawn in 5 steps: weeding, fertilizing, ploughing, levelling and tamping.
1. Weed the area of the future lawn
If your lawn is heavily overgrown with weeds, it is necessary to weed it before ploughing.
– Start by mowing with a brush cutter if the weeds are very tall.
– Then weed using one of the following techniques:
◦ hand weeding for a small area that is not too weedy;
◦ weeding with a systemic weed killer for a large, heavily weeded area;
◦ or again, if you take 6 months in advance, weeding by solarization, by covering the ground with a thick tarp that does not let light through.
Good to know: if your land does not have too many weeds, you can mow it as short as possible, do not weed and plough directly.
2. Amend the soil
Amend according to the nature of your soil
The later maintenance of a lawn is greatly facilitated when it is initially established on favourable soil, i.e. a soil:
– neither too heavy, which would make it difficult to work and would encourage stagnant humidity, not very favourable to the good health of the lawn;
– not too sandy, which would allow water and nutrients to escape;
– not too calcareous, which would dry out easily, also letting water and nutrients escape;
– not too acidic, which would encourage the development of moss.
After analyzing your soil and according to its nature, add the necessary amendments:
– heavy clay soil: add river sand, potting soil or compost;
– sandy soil: add clay-limestone soil, peat, potting soil or compost;
– soil too calcareous: add manure or/and leaf compost;
– soil too acidic: lime or dolomite (sedimentary rock of marine origin).
Spread these amendments on the surface and then incorporate them into the soil during ploughing.
Note: if you are planting a lawn in the garden of a new house after the construction work, amending the soil is an absolute necessity.
3. Apply fertilizer
As soon as your lawn is planted, to promote its growth and its resistance to drought and excess humidity, provide it with basic fertilizers based on:
– phosphoric acid (P);
– and potash (K).
Apply these fertilizers at the rates indicated by the manufacturer before ploughing.
4. Plough the land
Ploughing is intended:
– first, aerate your soil and make it homogeneous;
– but also to bury the amendments and fertilizers and the weeds.
Ideally, plough several weeks and at least 15 days before sowing to allow the soil to stabilize.
Necessary: to facilitate ploughing, watch the weather to avoid too dry or too wet and sticky soil.
– Plow to a depth of about twenty centimetres, using, depending on the dimensions of your future lawn:
◦ a spade for minimal areas;
◦ a rototiller beyond 100 m²: in this case, work at low speed and make 2 cross passes.
– Complete the ploughing by carefully removing stones and stumps that would later damage the mower or impede its passage.
Note: If you are considering a built-in sprinkler system for your lawn, you may want to consider it at this stage to avoid having to break up your new lawn later.
- Level the soil
– After tilling, remove any lumps and bumps by levelling the soil with a garden hook or rake. If necessary, use a shovel to fill in some of the larger holes or flatten large clumps.
– Practice this operation about a week before planting, operating in dry weather.
– Take the opportunity to remove the last large stones.
If your land is on a slope, try to round off the curves at the top and bottom.
5. Roll and final rake
In dry weather, pack the soil evenly:
◦ simply by foot for a small area;
◦ by rolling over for a larger area.
Good to know: your footsteps should barely mark if you walk on a properly tamped floor.
– Refine your work by passing a rake: this will refine the soil surface to prepare it to receive the seeds.
Tip: Tilling has brought dormant weed seeds to the surface. After a couple of weeks, weed them out by hoeing when weeds appear. To eliminate them, you can use the technique of false seeding: water the soil as if you were seeding.
Equipment needed to prepare the ground for a lawn