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How To Lay A New Lawn

This is a small re-turfing job I undertook recently. We're installing a new Palmetto Soft Buffalo lawn which will replace an existing Couch lawn that was in poor health due to excessive shade conditions. The client has kindly agreed to allow us to use these images as an instructional resource for others who may be looking to replace and plant a new lawn themselves. So lets go step by step through this entire re-turfing job, from beginning to end.

Turf Selection

As mentioned, the previous Couch lawn had been in poor health over the past couple of years due to shade conditions. And the reason for this is because Couch is a grass best suited for full sun, with a poor shade tolerance of around 10%.

As we can see - most of this Couch has disappeared under weeds which took over as the Couch lawn became weaker and weaker while growing in shade. So its time for a new lawn! And a lawn which is far better suited to these conditions.

We looked at Zoysia as the first option for a low maintenance lawn, Zoysia also has considerably better shade tolerance than Couch. However as the future shade conditions on the property seemed as though they may increase over time from the very large tree, an even more shade tolerant lawn variety was called for, and that lawn type has to be a soft leaf Buffalo - with a shade tolerance of up to 70%.

Killing The Old Lawn

The first step was to kill off the old Couch lawn. Couch has a vast array of very deep underground runners (rhizomes) which could easily become a nuisance to the new buffalo lawn if the old lawn wasn't killed off properly before the laying of the new Buffalo.

The old lawn was sprayed with Glyphosate 3 times over 4 weeks. Usually two applications of herbicide would be enough to ensure the job is correctly done, but in this case we had the last of the winter rains to deal with, so three applications were required.

Here is our old lawn before and after herbicide treatment

~ click images to enlarge ~

With the old lawn fully killed off, and now being the very beginning of Spring, it was time to begin our lawn transformation. With many recent rains the soil was very soft and wet all the way through. There was no need for a turf cutting machine here, a spade easily turned over the old soil and lawn.

The old lawn had a lot of excess soil underneath it, which would have positioned the new Palmetto lawn far too high above the surrounding path, so we had a lot of soil to rake through, collect and remove from the property.

Always remember whenever planting a Buffalo lawn - that it should sit below any surrounding paths, otherwise as the buffalo grass grows in height - it will quickly grow above the pathway - creating a possible tripping hazard. It’s always best not to plant a new buffalo lawn flush with pathways, always try to ensure the new lawn is sitting below the path during turf laying.

Notice that the sprinklers were clearly marked out so as to avoid any accidental damage.

Here is our soil in preparation for our new lawn

~ click images to enlarge ~

We've now removed all of the excess soil and we've done a rough levelling off, its now time to add some organic fertiliser… we chose Dynamic Lifter for the job, and gave it a good raking through the topsoil with a steel rake. The soil at this site was actually very good, so we really didn’t need to add much organic material or replace the soil at all.

Do not place any chemical fertilisers into the soil before planting a new lawn. Such fertilisers could easily burn the new lawn roots and cause damage to the new turf.

It's now time to do a final levelling and compaction for the soil prior to the new Buffalo turf being installed.

Here is our soil now fully prepared for the new lawn

~ click images to enlarge ~

Soil Prepared - Time For The New Palmetto Buffalo Lawn

The soil is now fully prepared for the new turf. The paths are all hosed clean, the soil is nice and wet before laying the turf, and so we're good to go. The job is looking good and is looking very promising already. Notice the Buffalo grass rolls in the background in the above photos… waiting and ready for laying…

For the contractor and the homeowner reading through this article, I really would like to emphasise the importance of keeping our work space as clean and as organised as possible at all times. From the pictures we can clearly see how easy it becomes to check that our soil levels are correct, as well as how easy it is to lay the new turf in a clean and organised fashion.

We even cleaned up all other leaf litter on the paths of this job - to ensure a professional finish and a great looking lawn and yard surrounds once the job was completed.

Planting Our New Buffalo Lawn

~ click images to enlarge ~

~ click images to enlarge ~

The new turf is now being rolled out in a brickwork pattern. Quite an easy task to do in essence. And once we get to the end of the lawn area - we use a strong serrated knife to cut the turf roll to fit.

The final laying of the turf is always easiest when all prior soil and area preparation are done correctly.

We continue to lay down all the rolls of fresh sod until we get to the final edge, where we will have to trim the width of the rolls to fit the remaining space.

The only thing we need to be careful of when laying our new turf rolls is to ensure that each roll is not pushed up too tightly or too closely or overlaps its neighbouring roll of turf. Such can create detrimental air pockets between the sod and soil.

If this happens - we create a possibility of having air pockets between the turf and the soil when the underside of the turf is not in full contact with the soil. If this happens - then the underside of the sod can quickly dry out and could even die off a little in the affected areas. It’s always best to leave a little bit of looseness or gap between each roll of new turf.

Our new lawn is now complete!

Air pockets have been checked for, the turf has been well watered in as we were laying it, our worksite is nice and clean, and its time to go home!

This new Palmetto Buffalo lawn went down beautifully.

Our Newly Established Lawn

Its now a couple of months later, and we're back to check on our new lawn and to give it a trim. The lawn is well established and is flourishing, and looks absolutely gorgeous!

Our new soft buffalo lawn is a success!

How To Lay A New Lawn

How To Lay A New Lawn

How To Lay A New Lawn

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