Beginner Lawn Guide — From Lawn Maintenance to Artificial Grass

In a way, owning a house is probably the most common dream we can talk about. It is something we all can relate to. Having a place we can call our home that we can personalize in our own unique way.

Among all the things we can add to a home, a lawn is one of the most common ones. It adds a lot of personality and it can be modified in many different ways to achieve a certain level of beauty.

But the challenges of creating one are real. Considering most of us don’t understand the basics of owning a lawn and how to make one from scratch, we might fail along the process and end up with a big mess if we are not careful.

There’s also the fact that lawns are compatible with many other aspects of housing like gardens, decorations, lighting, and signs. Because of that, coming up with a beautiful lawn design before engaging the installation and maintenance is another challenge that adds up to the pile.

That is why researching is a very important aspect of starting your own. And in this article, I will guide you through the installation process, so you can be more prepared for it, and decide whether you want to make the investment and effort, or have a professional service provider do it for you.

The Beginning of the Adventure

Regardless of the type of lawn you decide to go for, the first aspect of the adventure will always be the preparation process. Preparing the soil for the lawn grass is what decides how healthy it will be and whether it will look good or not.

But before that, it would be wise to decide whether you will go for artificial grass or regular grass. At some point in the guide, the process of creating a lawn might differ based on your decision, and we will discuss it later, but for now, the preparation is the same for both options.

Preparing the Soil

The first thing we have to do is preparing the soil. This can be divided into three different things: getting rid of weeds, removing the upper layer of the soil, and planning the water pipe system.

Getting rid of weeds will make the second step much easier, and a much cleaner process as well. You can either engage the task with a non-toxic weed-killing solution or just physically remove it with your hands or gardening tool.

The first alternative is recommended since it will make the process smoother. You should spray the solution two weeks prior to the removal so it has time to do its job. Spray it thoroughly and using plenty of weed killer so it gets the job done.

When it comes to tools for removing weeds and the upper layer of the soil, you have weeding scythes for cutting weed and rakes for hard soil and debris like rocks or leaves. Ideally, you should have them at hand for the occasion. A shovel and pickaxe are also great for the second part of the process since it makes the removal of the soil a much easier one.

After that, you will have to plan the piping system. In this step, you might want to have the help of a professional plumber, since this process can be a little delicate and might require certain tools and even knowledge for it to be completed successfully without complications.

Still, you can always try it yourself if you feel confident about it. I am sure that with enough preparation and research, it can certainly be done.

Preparing for Planting

Here’s where, depending on which type of lawn you decide to have, the process differs. This step is specific for traditional lawns and is not part of the process of installing artificial grass.

Traditional grass is installed through a seeding process where you first have to prepare the soil so the grass can grow healthy and beautiful. Believe it or not, not all soils are capable of holding grass and that is why you need to prepare the soil for the planting process.

First of all, you will need to conduct a soil test. This will let you know how healthy your soil is. Things like its pH level and how much organic matter it has can affect the growth of the grass, so conducting a test will let you know how to proceed.

You can either hire a professional lawn service provider to conduct the test for you or purchase a test so you can do it yourself. Regardless of your choice, the test will let you know if you should improve its state and how.

Here’s a guide on how to properly do it, in case you decide to DIY: https://www.diynetwork.com/how-to/outdoors/landscaping/how-to-prepare-soil-for-planting-a-lawn.

Choosing a Seed

Here’s also another step of preparing a traditional lawn with real grass: choosing the seed. There are many types of seeds for you to pick from, and sadly, we can’t help you with this since only you know how you want your grass to grow.

Thankfully, we can give you specific advice: researching.  Researching seeds will give you a solid idea of how they will look when fully grown, how they interact with the weather you live in, and how much maintenance they will require.

Thus, try to pick a seed that fits your needs. Most seeds will have a seed tag showcasing important information any buyer should know, so try to pay attention to it too.

Along the process, you might need to water and fertilize the soil before planting depending on the type of seed you decide to go for, so pay attention to this before making any decision.

Preparing a Base for Artificial Grass

Now, when it comes to artificial grass, the process is much different. Since the grass will be installed instead of planted, it won’t require you to make as many preparations with the soil, but on the other hand, you will have to prepare a base for it.

This is frequently called the sub-base material, and we need to install it for a single reason: regular soil tends to expand according to different conditions. A good example is how soil can absorb water from rain then expands itself, and shrinks after it dries.

This can affect the state of the artificial grass, causing damages and even deforming it in the process. A sub-base material protects the soil from these movements and allows the artificial grass to remain the same for years to come.

The most commonly used base is a combination of sand and gravel, but you have many options at your disposal. Rocks, stone, or decomposed granite are some of the options.

This is the reason why artificial grass is often chosen by people: because the installation process is much easier and cheaper. Another advantage of artificial grass is that it requires less maintenance, as we will discuss in the next section

Lawn Maintenance

Now, once the lawn has been installed, whether it was regular grass or artificial grass, we will have to conduct regular maintenance. How much maintenance the lawn will require will depend on the type of lawn we own.

A general rule of thumb is that regular lawns require much more maintenance than lawns made with artificial grass, and this is because of the nature of the plant itself. A regular lawn will require overall more watering and care based on the incidents that might occur along the way. If you visit this article, you will get a solid idea of what I’m talking about.

Mowing is an important aspect of the maintenance process as well since it is absolutely required to keep the lawn beautiful and healthy. Protecting it from pests and from the weather, too.

Some people install a watering irrigation system so their lawn remains healthy and beautiful, saving some time and effort along the process. This is why the planning of the piping system is so important since it can be a future investment that will save you a lot of trouble.

Still, a naturally-grown grass might feel better to the touch and be more beautiful, but it depends entirely on how we are comparing it to artificial grass.

Cheap artificial grass might not look as good, but high-quality artificial grass is capable of providing the same aesthetic level as naturally grown grass, even looking better on some occasions.

The best way to take care of artificial grass is by gently removing debris and leaves, watering it from time to time, and making sure it doesn’t get damaged by kids playing or pets digging.

Generally speaking, artificial grass requires much less effort and less water, which can help when it comes to the water bill, and is an overall best choice for those who don’t have as much time or energy to take care of it.

However, a regular lawn has its charming points, and some people enjoy the process of taking care of theirs as well as making sure that it looks beautiful, so there’s also it.

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