New Construction and Soil Prep for Healthy Turf
When building a home, one of the things easily forgotten is establishing turf. We often see it done at the last minute without much planning or thought. We believe the initial preparation of soil is the most important step in having a beautiful and healthy lawn to enjoy for years to come. Without a plan, homeowners will spend years on treatments creating expense with less than satisfactory results. Here is our five step plan for establishing turf.
Prepping Your Site
Before breaking ground for a new home, take the time to prep the site. Remove rocks, stumps, waste and any existing vegetation that may already be established. A soil test kit can be purchased to help determine your soil type and the necessary amounts of organic matter, fertilizer, and lime to incorporate into your soil prior to establishment. If possible, consider removing all top soil from the site and stock pile it on the property before breaking ground on the home’s foundation. These simple steps will help greatly after the home construction is complete. It sets the stage for establishing the landscape.
Grading and Preparing the Soil
After the home is complete it is time to establish the grade of the lawn. Use a box scrapper or soil conditioner to roughly grade the property and remove any remaining debris from construction. After the rough grade is established, reapply the previously stockpiled top soil evenly around the property. This is also the time to mix in organic material such as peat moss or compost as well as fertilizer and lime to ensure the lawn has proper nutrients for establishing your turf.
Seed or Sod
More often than not the decision between seed or sod comes down to budget. Sod is the fastest and most effective way to establish a lawn but it also comes at the highest price. Seeding takes a lot of management and effort to ensure initial establishment. A third option, recommended for sites with steeper grades or large areas, is hydro-seeding which combines seed in a mixture with mulch and fertilizer sprayed onto the desired area. Education on the desired choice is absolutely necessary before installation.
Type of Grass
The biggest piece of advice we offer is on grass type and diversity. Choosing a quality mixture of several different kinds of grass seed will ensure the long term health of turf. Care must be taken to choose seeds based on amounts of sunlight and shade along with desired look of the lawn. Mixtures are more resistant to disease and adaptable to different site conditions. Selection of high-quality, blended seed mixtures will greatly improve the establishment of a healthy lawn.
A Healthy Lawn Takes Time and Effort
Once a new lawn is established, the most important thing to remember with turf is the time and effort necessary for a beautiful lawn. We recommend annual aeration and over seeding. We also recommend fertilizing twice a year to contribute to soil health. We cut turf at a higher setting on the mower deck. The taller the grass the deeper the root system will be! Cutting grass at a taller height will ensure the vitality of your roots. Grass grows at the same rate whether it is tall or short and will need to be mowed the same number of times during the week according to rain , sunlight, and season. Short grass will struggle at times and may die off in spots. But, tall grass allows for a healthy root system to establish so during harsh conditions or off season the turf remains viable.
We hope these tips are helpful!
Landscaping most often tends to be the last priority of a home owner during new home construction. But there are many things to consider and include in the planning process. Here is a countdown of the 5 reasons why a well thought out plan should be developed before construction begins.
5. Camouflage your Outdoor Utilities
Every home requires gas, water, internet/cable, and any number of other utilities. Unfortunately, these utilities are often placed in highly visible locations around your home. Nothing ruins the aesthetic of your home more than a gas meter centered under the middle of your front bay window (we’ve seen it!). Camouflaging your utilities with strategically placed plantings or landscaping features will greatly improve the curb appeal of your home.
4. Install retaining walls
Retaining walls are essential in most home construction projects to ensure proper grading away from the house. Retaining walls can be constructed out of a variety of different materials to meet the aesthetic preferences of any home owner. Properly constructed retaining walls work in tandem with buried downspouts to ensure maximum water flow away from your homes foundation.
The following picture show a dramatic before and after of a much needed retaining wall.
3. Plan your outdoor living space
Planning your outdoor living space doesn’t have to be complicated. It does require forethought to ensure it meets your needs and wants. The most common “living space” we see in new construction is a plain, square cement patio that’s too small to fit a standard set of patio furniture. If you’re unsure about what functions you might want from your outdoor living space you don’t have to rush to make a decision. Take your time planning and don’t waste money on something you don’t like.
2. Control the flow of drainage
Eave spout placement is critical to all home designs. Equally critical is where the water from your eave spouts end up within your landscape. Too often we see poor or no planning for eave spouts which results in water collecting around a home's foundation or water running across sidewalks and driveways. Planning for eave spout outlets, using properly installed drainage tile, can easily prevent common water issues around your home.
The following pictures of bad examples.
1. Plan for the long term
The most important thing to remember with your landscaping is to plan for the long term. Landscaping can be expensive. Without a proper plan in place, a home owner can spend a lot of time, effort, and money on poorly thought out projects. Homeowners want their landscaping decisions to stand the test of time. Take it slow, don’t rush, and make decisions that will let you enjoy your landscape for years to come.
The following picture is an example of a computer generated rendition we are capable of doing in our office for any customer.
Creating beautiful outdoor spaces with passion, honesty, and integrity.