In these times of low maintenance and environmentally friendly lifestyles, the wide green expanses of backyard lawn have gone the way of the dinosaurs. Backyard cricket on the lawn is a distant memory and no one I know has room for a long plastic waterslide any more.
But despite the mowing and watering, there’s still plenty to like about grass. By creating a surface to sit on, lawn can expand your yard or courtyard’s usability (if people don’t mind sitting on the ground). And you don’t need a huge yard to take advantage of a patch of lawn.
Even a small amount of grass can significantly reduce glare and help cool down a sun-trap courtyard, which goes some way to avoiding that familiar urban oven feeling that comes from sitting in a concrete courtyard or exposed balcony. As it is a soft surface, it also reduces noise (similar to carpet on a wooden floor).
There are many varieties of lawn to suit different needs. Some are suited to very bright backyards, others to more shaded areas. Some require lots of water, others little.
Grass companies will help you assess your own requirements by asking you a series of questions. These relate to how much sun the yard gets, how much traffic you imagine the lawn will receive and how much time you want to spend on it.
You can also request a more environmentally friendly variety that will require less watering and fertilising treatments.
The easiest way to get grass is to buy ready grown turf. It comes in rolls, and as long as you’ve prepared the soil and are ready to water it (bearing in mind the current water restrictions) it generally grows well.
Preparation for a small area should take about one day unless there are weeds that need to be poisoned, as this should be done at least a week before the turf arrives.
The soil needs to be dug out and aerated, and then it’s generally a good idea to lay topsoil. The area should be reasonably flat.
After the lawn arrives, it’s very important to water it regularly in the first week. This might seem excessive, but it’s essential to help the roots dig in to the ground.
After the first week, lawns should require only one or two waters a week at most, even in the summer months.
Another option for creating a grassy oasis is seeding, but this is more time-consuming and has less predictable results.