Suffering the effects of too much rain? You can turn your swamp back into the verdant lawn you used to love!
WATCH: Charlie shows you how to prevent a soggy lawn
Lawns need and love water, but don’t want it hanging around – it’s a regular, fleeting engagement, rather than a permanent relationship. Weather extremes such as this year’s inundations along large parts of the east coast can play havoc with your lawn, leaving the relationship in a soggy, muddy mess. The solution? Good drainage.
Get the balance right
Too much water over a long period of time means air cavities in the soil are filled, the roots are deprived of essential oxygen and the grass dies. Too little water and the roots wither and essential nutrients in the soil won’t make it to the blades above.
A deep watering, done properly, works. Rather than giving your lawn a quick shower every morning, give it a long, deep watering only when it needs it – when it loses colour and feels dry. Daily watering means grass produces only shallow roots that die quickly when the watering stops. As well, much of the water evaporates, rather than sinking into the soil. A deep watering lets water go further into the soil, stretching the roots and making your lawn stronger.
Lawns are often laid on raised beds or terraces so they’re level. All raised bed walls are built with weep holes to let excess water drain away. But over the years these can clog up, meaning water sits in and on the soil, blocking air passages and rotting the roots. This means your lawn will die from lack of nourishment and weeds will move in.
How to improve drainage and re-lay turf
When your lawn is raised, as here, good drainage is key. When it’s not working, clear the space and start again.
Gather your supplies
- Geo textile fabric
- Blue metal aggregate
- Washed river sand
- Organic matter
- Turf rolls
You'll also need
- Cultivator or hoe
- Long masonry drill bit
- Metal rake
- Sharp secateurs
Give yourself a fresh surface by removing weeds and grass from the raised area, here on either side of tiled path.
Turn over soil with spade and break up clods with cultivator or hoe.
Using long bit, drill holes through outside of retaining wall to remove any clogged soil.
Dig 30H x 30cmD trench along inside of wall, retaining excavated soil.
Line trench with geo fabric, trimming with scissors so it’s 100cm wide.
Fill trench with blue metal; wrap with fabric so it looks like a sausage. Make sure it’s sitting at least 10cm below top of wall.
Cover sausage with retained soil. Level whole lawn area with rake.
To re-turf your lawn
Mix top dressing of 70% sand and 30% organic matter and sprinkle evenly over cleared soil.
Lay turf, edges as close together as possible. Trim excess with secateurs.
Water turf every day for a few weeks until roots start to take hold, then 3 times a week, then twice a week, until it doesn’t lift from soil when you pull at it. Revert to normal watering routine.
When you redo your lawn area, make sure excess water can drain away safely and legally.
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