How NOT to lay instant lawn – Pretoria

It’s all about the instant lawn today. We’re going to talk about what it takes to have a successful, instant green backyard. We’ll go over grading. We’re going to go over the depth of black dirt and dispel a few myths there. We’re going to talk about the watering schedule, when to water and how much. We’re also going to go over when you can mow the instant lawn. We’re going to teach you how to peel back the instant lawn and determine how healthy your instant lawn is, and then, the scourge of instant lawn, fighting the Japanese beetles, what to look for so you can cut them off before they become problematic. So, let’s get into it.

First thing I want to do is dispel a myth that you got to have four inches of pulverized screened black dirt. If you actually put that much black dirt on top of your sub grade, this soil, this black dirt, is going to compress and cause uneven waves in your instant lawn, but four inches isn’t necessary, and sometimes, incorporating it can be a little difficult, like tilling your entire backyard. So, if you can’t incorporate it, what I want you to do then, is to layer black dirt an inch to an inch and a half maximum. Sprinkle that over the top and make sure you do not compact that soil, because if you compact that soil, that black dirt, you’re not going to get the roots to grow into it. You sprinkle the black dirt on, and then you hand-rake that out and lay your instant lawn on top of that.

You can see in the background what Tim is doing is he actually hand raked out all of the areas before the instant lawn gets laid out. We don’t machine grade it. We don’t come in with a skid loader and level it all out, because that’ll compact the soil. So he takes that big old rake over there and just gets everything laid out. Here’s a rule, you never put instant lawn over existing grass. If you’ve got vegetation growing, you’ve got to strip and remove it because vegetation underneath, when you lay that instant lawn on top of it, it will decompose. While it’s decomposing it will heat up, killing the instant lawn on top of it. So you have to strip the vegetation underneath and lay that instant lawn. Whether it’s on black dirt or whether it’s just on sub base. It’s better off than laying it on top of existing grass. Do not do that.

To create a clean line like you see in this shot, he’s using an echo bed edger believe it or not. They don’t tell you to use this tool for this but it works phenomenal to create that line of separation. Works better than even a skid loader can do on its own. A skid loader can’t create a nice straight cut. That’s why we pulled out the echo bed edger and created all the cuts so that we had a definitive line from the turf that stays to the turf that goes. The next thing is the watering schedule. This is a critical element to the success of your instant lawn. Do not over soak the instant lawn. Simply peel back your instant lawn, look underneath and you just want the soil beneath the instant lawn to be moist. You don’t want it to be mud. Moist is good. Mud is bad. If you peel back that instant lawn and it’s okay to grab a corner of the instant lawn and literally peel it up. That won’t hurt it. When you’re doing that you can also do a quality test to see how your instant lawn is taking. You peel that instant lawn up, you should see little white roots starting to grow. That gives you an indicator that the instant lawn is enjoying the benefits of your labor and it’s starting to adhere to the sub soil.

If you look behind me what you see is they’re staggering the joint spacing. So it’ll be a full roll laid out, then the next roll starts at the half way point of the other roll next to it. Then we will cut in individual pieces to fill these in, in a brick layer basic fashion. That way we don’t get all the joint spaces lined up and the ability for water to channel and knock the instant lawn out of whack that much faster.

When to mow is another question that comes up. You can start to mow the instant lawn anywhere from three and a half to four inches. You don’t want to mow it too soon. You don’t want to mow it too short. That’s all that matters. If you can mow it below three inches, it can burn. If you start to notice you have brown patchy spots through out your yard, that’s a sure sign you have an infestation of Japanese beetles and you need to go to your local hardware store and pick up materials. All of the big box stores now sell materials specifically to fight Japanese beetles. At the first indication, which is those brown spots that make no sense why they’re showing up, you have a Japanese beetle problem. You need to cut it off at the pass. Just simply follow the directions on the package and you should be in good shape. Let’s go out to a site and look at the pattern.

We want to use a brick pattern and there is specifically some suggestions of what do to on steep slopes. So let’s go there and check it out. Alright, so the way that we’re going to be laying this instant lawn is we’re going to be rolling it sideways on this portion of the hill and as we get closer to the steeper portion of the hill, we’re actually going to be stapling it. Now, if you lay it sideways and you get a torrential rain, you can expect the instant lawn to bend in the middle. You may see that occasionally. That’s where the staples come in. If you run it down the hill, what can happen is you can get channels that come between the instant lawn and you never see those until it’s too late. It’s two different ways to skin a cat so to speak. It’s the lesser of two evils. We prefer to take the steep hills sideways but to really thoroughly staple them. That way the water rushes down the hill, the instant lawn helps slow it. And if there is any bending you can go out and repair it versus laying the instant lawn with the hill straight up and down where the channels create. You can never see them because they go between the joint spacing in the instant lawn and it just disappears until it becomes an issue the first time you go to mow.

Follow these simple rules and you should be able to go from dirt and dust to a nice green lawn in one afternoon. Make sure that you water immediately the day of the installation. God bless and go get ’em. Let me know your experiences with instant lawn and any tips or tricks down below in the comments. I’d love to hear better ways to improve upon the process.


Levelling Lawn With A Lawn Roller – Cape Town

I’ve been getting a lot of questions about lawn rollers, and whether you should roll your lawn, and I’ve personally never done it. So, today I decided what better way to either recommend or not recommend that you do it, by actually trying it out myself. So, that’s what I’m going to do.

So, I rented the roller from a local hardware store, for only around ten dollars, or so. So, I figured that’s a pretty good price to try this thing out. Essentially, it’s very, very easy. We just fill it up with water. There’s a little plug in there that we have to take out and fill it up with water. Put that back in and we start rolling. And the point of this is that, because I’m going lower on my front yard it’s much more important that the ground is more even, and there’s not as many bumps. With our climate, the things that happen between freezes and thaws and all that stuff, it just gets bumpy over time, and I’ve never done this before. I’m going to try it out today.

It actually takes quite a bit longer to fill than you think it’s going to. Just keep that in mind.

Definitely a work out if you’re going to be going up hills. So, that’s the first thing that I’m noticing right now.

Okay, so that’s the initial part of the job there, on my front yard. Is it a lot of fun? No. Is it very easy? No. Would obviously be a lot easier if I had some kind of lawn tractor to pull it, or some kind of mower or something. It’s really not that but, it’s just, take your time on it, and don’t try to kill yourself on it.

I’m going to go in one more direction on my front yard, just to level things out one way, and then go the opposite direction on there. Then I’ll try a little bit on my side yard, and that’s pretty much going to be it. We’ll be able to tell once I use my real mower on here, which also has full rollers, which is going to help a lot to keep continuously flattening this out over time. Then I will also need to do some top dressing, for sure.

Alright, so let me give you a couple final thoughts, here, on what I think of the lawn roller and how it worked out. So, it did definitely improve things a little bit. If I had to give it a number, I would have to say probably, maybe 25% or so. Just from walking in and out a couple times and using my real mower a couple times, which is coming up in my next video, which you will see really soon. It definitely helped a little bit, not quite as bumpy as it originally was. So, keep that in mind if you’re looking to use one.

It is going to give you a little bit of improvement. It’s nothing extremely drastic. But, a little bit is better than nothing for a ten dollar rental. So, a couple other things to think about with this roller, as well, is you’re going to want to have your ground be soft enough that it’s going to actually be able to roll over it, and actually smooth things out a little bit. So, if you haven’t been getting any rain, you want to water ahead of this. You don’t want the ground so soaked, though, that if you walk on it, it feels spongy, or anything like that. Because, if you take this roller across there at that point, you’re going to be creating a lot of compaction and you do not want to do that.

So, it just needs to be wet enough that it’s going to be able to smooth things out. If it’s dry then it’s not going to do a whole lot of good. So, keep that in mind. You’re going to want to do some kind of watering, make sure that the ground is soft enough that this is going to actually do some good for your ground.

Second thing is are we causing some compaction of the ground with this thing? Absolutely, yes we are. So, you have to be diligent that you’re going to be aerating your soil, if you’re going to use one of these rollers. I do mine for sure in the fall. Sometimes in the Spring and the Fall. So, one time of using this roller here, I’m not too worried about a little bit of compaction. But, if you were to use this every single year, or every Spring, and you’re not doing any aerating, then over time this is going to create a lot of compaction.

You definitely want to be doing some aerating. If you don’t know what that is, you want to learn more about it, I have some videos on aerating my yard. So, you can check those out as well. So, this roller worked for me, but I will be doing some top dressing of my lawn, as well. It’s probably a Fall project, when seeding is going to be the best time here, where I’m located.

That’s going to fill in all of those little uneven spots and kind of bring it up to the level of what we consider the bumps, right now. So, this did smooth out the top bumps on the lawn, but if you have some indentations anywhere, then you’re going to need to fill those with some top dressing.

In order to get it to be kevel over time, so that’s going to be the best process for doing that. But, for ten dollars to try this out, just to smooth my yard a little bit, I would say it was worth it. Just remember, again, that aeration is going to be very important. So, hope you enjoyed this video and it gave you some information on lawn rollers. Thanks so much for watching. We’ll see you next time.


How to Prepare the Ground before Laying Turf – Johannesburg

If the soil’s poor you can import some new soil and this can be spread over the garden before the turf is laid. If the lawn is going to join up on a pathway, you need to make sure that the soil is level with the path. Once the soil’s been tipped in piles over the garden, it can then be raked level.

This area has been rotovated and because the soil isn’t very good quality, we’re adding a little more good quality topsoil to it. When different soils got good quality after rotovating, it’s quite okay to rake this area and then lay the turf straight on top.

Sometimes to firm the soil you can use a roller; but another method, if the area’s not too big, is to walk on it like this, to heal the ground in and make it firm. After the ground has been firmed, it then gets a final rake just to get it as level and smooth as possible. You’ll know that the ground is just right when you step on it, and it just leaves a footprint but no more.

A pre-turfing fertilizer should be applied to the soil before you lay the turf. This will encourage the turf to root more quickly. The pre-turfing fertilizer is a granular product and should be scattered evenly on the soil before the turf is laid. A pre-turfing fertilizer is normally provided free of charge from us.

As soon as the preparation is finished, you can order your turf from us. Or we can do the prep for you! We have a range of good quality turfs, ranging from hard wearing family garden turf, to ornamental gardens.


How To Install Roll On Lawn

For this project, we need some gravel or grit, some compost or manure, some gardening gloves, fertilizer, a rake, a fork, some canes, string and a tape measurer, a cutting knife, some planks of wood, a sprinkler and some rolls of turf. If you want to create a new lawn, you’ve got two choices: You can sow grass seed or you can lay turf. But the preparation is the same for both. If you’ve had an old lawn which has got very weedy and moth eaten, you can strip off the old turf, stuck it and compost it, improve the soil below for laying a new lawn on. If it’s a lot of weeds on it, treat it with weed killer first, let the weed die, and then start the digging.

Conditioning the soil is the important part, and for this we really want to dig over the whole area to a depth of about six inches, about 15 centimeters down. Have a look at the soil while you do this. Remove stones and remove any perennial weeds that might be there. If your soil is very free draining, you want to do something to help it retain more moisture, so get some compost or some farm manure, sprinkle over the soil surface and fork this down. This will lock in moisture and improve the soil structure. Or you can get a water saving gel. These little crystals just literally sprinkled over the soil, and they absorb hundreds of times their own weight in water.

Once it’s all dug over, the important job is to firm it and level it. We want to consolidate the surface to make sure there’s no hollows underneath, and the best thing to do is just to go over on your heels and walk up and down the lawn to get rid of air pockets. What we want is a nice firm lawn surface. Otherwise, if you lay turf or you grow a lawn and it’s not firmed down properly or not level, you’ll end up with a really uneven result. Once you firm down with your heels, rake it again to even up any bumps or hollows, and walk over it again in the other direction. Really making sure that the whole area has been properly firmed. Also check your levels. What you want is for the soil surface to be in line with any edging strip, or if you’re butting a lawn up to a path or a patio, if you can lay the turf or grow the grass level with that surface, then when you’re mowing, you can literally go over the whole area. It makes the job much easier.

And once you’ve really done that job thoroughly, try and leave the area for several weeks so the rain gets on it, and the ground consolidates down and settles. Then we’ll be ready for laying the new turf.

We’re now ready to create a new lawn. It’s to start with straight edge when you are laying your turf. And today, we’re going to use a straight edge, just at the base of this hedge. I’m keeping the edge of the new lawn a little bit away from the hedge so that it’s not in the dry shade there. Now, I’ve got to measure out the area to work out how much turf to order. And for this, I need to measure the length and the width and work out how many square meters of turf I’m gonna need to cover this whole area.

When you work out how much turf you need, it’s always worth adding on extra 10% so that you got enough for curves or to go around features in your garden. Then you can either go in to store and buy the turf you need on the day you’re going to lay it. Don’t get it in advance and stick it in a corner of the garden. Get it and lay it on the same day. But for bigger projects, you can always order the turf online and have it delivered to your home.

And now, before I buy the turf, one final job, and that’s to mix in a little bit of fertilizer in to really encourage good new grass growth. I’m either going to sprinkle in a general fertilizer like Grow More or something bone meal, which has got lots of phosphates in it, which is really good for encouraging root growth. And just sprinkle this over the area and rake it in to the surface. Then we’re gonna be ready for laying the turf.

Start laying your turf along your chosen straight edge. Ours is at the back here under the hedge. I’m just gonna overlap the leading edge of the turf over the edge so we can cut that neatly when we’re finished and unroll the turf completely. Once it’s unrolled, butt it up to your straight edge, and just tap that down loosely. We’re gonna firm it down more later on. But tap it in to place to settle the turf down in to the soil. Uncurl the leading edge, which you’ll find is quite bent over, firm it down and then get your second turf.

Now, the second turf needs to follow the straight edge along again, but make sure it’s really butted up tightly to the first turf. You don’t want to leave any gaps between the two. Otherwise, the grass will dry out, and it might die. So really push the two up together, bend them in and firm them in really tightly. If the grass does dry out at all and gaps develop, you can always fill in with some compost, a little sprinkling of lawn seed, to fill any gap there.

And now, you can start cutting the edges. I’ve got a wooden edge around this bed, but if you got paving, it’s the same procedure. Get yourself a very sharp knife. Be very careful when using a knife. Work out where the edge is and just push the knife through the turf in line with the edge. Just work slowly and very carefully, keeping your hands out of the way of the blade. Cut away any excess so you can clearly see where you’re working to, and just get the edge very neatly down, tapped in to place. And as you can see, the finished surface of the lawn is just level with the edging. So when it comes to mowing, you’ll have no problem at all going over the edge. And just continue working right the way around the lawn.

Tamp down really well as you’re doing the job so that you’re settling the turf tightly down on to the ground below. And now the final straight edge. I’m gonna use the edge of this board as my cutting guide. To stop it drying out, you can just get some John Innes compost and butt that right up tightly against the edge of the lawn to stop it drying out so that the grass will root down and establish well.

If you have any tiny narrow gaps, you can cut a thin strip of turf to fill in, or just get some compost, a John Innes lawn-based compost is ideal, fill the gap with compost, and then just get a little bit of grass seed, which you can sprinkle along the top, and tease that well down in to the gap. And that grass seed will germinate and fill the hole perfectly. Also, in dry weather, you get gaps between turfs, do exactly the same thing.

And now, you need to water the turf thoroughly, making sure that the water soaks right the way through to the soil below because that’s got to be moist enough for new roots to grow down in to. Don’t walk on the new turf until it really is well-rooted, which will take at least two to three weeks. You can test by trying to lift the turf up. If it comes away, it’s not rooted. Once you find that you’ve got resistance there, the turf will be well-rooted, and it’s time to give it its first mow. Give it a very shallow mow to start with, not cutting it too tight, and then gradually lower the height of cut of the following cuts.

So for now, water properly every day until the turf is really well-rooted, and within a few weeks, you’ll be able to enjoy a beautiful new lawn.