Nothing gives your home character and appeal as much as a well-tended grass turf on your lawn. But transforming your threadbare yard to a perfectly manicured lawn will take careful planning, making informed choices and meticulous care after the turf is laid out. Fortunately for you, we are there to see you through every one of these stages. We have years of expertise laying out the most scenic lawn turfs on both residential and commercial properties in Brisbane.
Why Should you Turf your Lawn?
There are many reasons why homeowners opt for turfing as a landscaping solution in Brisbane. We have selected the five most universal and compelling ones to help you make the best decision from an informed point of view:-
1. Visual Appeal
For most homeowners, the most compelling reason for turfing the lawn has to do with aesthetics. Grass is an evergreen form of vegetation and, with reasonable care where necessary, will remain in pristine condition all year round. Green turf will give your lawn a lively and welcoming aura that surpasses any effect you can achieve with alternatives such as concrete blocks or pebbles.
2. Turfing is an Eco-friendly Landscaping Idea
Grass turfs, especially those which require little mowing, are very environmentally friendly landscapi
ng ideas. Grass cover is not only a significant type of carbon sink but also encourages the development of an intricate ecosystem right in your yard.
3. Grass Turf Lawns are Play-friendly
Children love lolling and frolicking on grass. If you have a growing family, having grass on the lawn is not only a recommended but a sensible parenting idea. Playing on grass is also safer than other surfaces.
4. Turfing Makes Inventive Landscaping Ideas Possible
Natural turf holds and compacts soil so well that any contours which are part of your landscaping will be retained in the same condition for years on end. While many homeowners only think of turfing in terms of a smooth and evenly flat lawn; that is a somewhat boring approach to landscaping. Due to turfing, your landscaper can get as inventive as they dare to with ravines and hilly sections; pulling off a landscaping miracle of sorts on your lawn.
5. Turfing Prevents Erosion
Grass turf covers and ensures soil is held in place irrespective of how much run off water passes over your lawn. If the soil around your home is sandy or the gradient is in an incline, turf installation is the best way to ensure the soil is not eroded.
Selecting the Best Turf for your Lawn
Today there are dozens of turf grass varieties available to homeowners in Brisbane. As the city experiences sunny weather almost throughout the year, a wide variety of grasses can be grown successfully. Indeed, Brisbane and the wider Queensland region has a thriving landscaping industry with many turf farmers hybridizing local and exotic grass varieties to suit the region’s subtropical climate. If you are just embarking on your lawn turfing project, you will be spoilt for choice in selecting the most appropriate variety of grass to plant. Before we look at a selection of our most popular varieties, here are the questions which you should use in determining whether to pick one variety of turf grass or another:-
i. How much traffic is expected over your lawn?
ii. How much time and effort are you ready to expend on activities like mowing and checking the spread of the grass?
iii. How much of your lawn is mostly under shade throughout the day?
iv. What type of soil is found on your yard or garden?
v. Do you want grass turf where children and pets will play on or will you be erecting a “do-not-step-on-the-grass” warning?
vi. What other vegetation is available in the adjoining yard or garden?
vii. How is the drainage on your lawn?
As we shall presently see, the type of answers you provided for the five questions above will determine which of these turf grass varieties are best suited for your lawn.
Types of Turf Grass for your Lawn
Here are the four most common turf grass varieties for Brisbane homeowners:-
1. Buffalo Grass
We offer a type of buffalo grass that is native to Australia. It just about ticks every box when it comes to an ideal choice for lawn turfing. It is easy to grow and requires very little in the way of maintenance and growth control. In years gone by, buffalo grass had an unwanted bad reputation for causing itchy skin if someone lay or played on it. The version of buffalo grass we offer does not have this disadvantage though. It is a hybridized version which has softer leaves which give way under pressure.
Advantages of Buffalo Grass
i. Drought resistant; requires little watering
ii. Only occasional light mowing necessary to keep your turf tidy
iii. Does not fade in the winter months or under shade
iv. Less invasive than couch or Kikuyu grass
v. Grows reasonably fast
Disadvantages of Buffalo Grass
i. Takes time to replace bald patches without replanting
ii. Some varieties have scratchy leaves
iii. Leaves are considerably broad and this gives impression of unevenness
2. Kikuyu Grass
Kikuyu grass is another favourite of ours owing to its verdant nature. It sets up fast and is very agreeable with the subtropical climatic conditions in Brisbane. We recommend Kikuyu grass for lawns which have heavy usage as the grass is cross knit together and will take plenty of abuse before noticeable patches begin to appear. Even then, the turf’s aggressive nature means any bald patches are quickly covered up naturally. This characteristic makes Kikuyu grass a favourite choice for turfing school yards as well as public parks and ovals. Due to this aggressive growth though, Kikuyu grass is the most invasive variety in our range and can spread quickly to neighbouring garden beds. We now provide a male (sterile) form of Kikuyu grass which does not spread as fast if you do not want the inconvenience of keeping the growth in check. The downside of this less invasive variant of Kikuyu grass is that it is equally slow at replenishing bald patches.
Advantages of Kikuyu Grass Turf
i. Very verdant and lush
ii. Grows quickly
iii. Quick at self repairing
iv. Ideal for high traffic areas
v. Comparatively cheaper than other turf grass varieties
Disadvantages of Kikuyu Grass
i. Requires more trimming to keep tidy
ii. Can spread to unwanted areas easily
iii. Requires plenty of sunshine, can fade off in shaded areas and in the winter
iv. Prone to weeds
3. Zoysia Grass
We recommend Zoysia grass as a good alternative for those who want to enjoy the verdant and soft nature of Kikuyu grass without all the need for care and maintenance. Indeed, Zoysia grass requires even less mowing than buffalo grass. That said, Zoysia is the slowest growing variety of the turf grasses we have on offer.
Advantages of Zoysia Grass
ii. Requires minimal care and mowing
iii. Soft to the touch
iv. Very drought resistant
v. Remains green even in the shade
Disadvantages of Zoysia Grass
i. Slow to grow and self repair
ii. Tends to grow unevenly
4. Queensland Blue Couch
If there is one type of turf grass with the most misleading name in our range, it is the Queensland blue couch. To begin with, it is not native to Queensland. Moreover, it is not closely related to couch grass at all. And, of course, it is not blue in colour! That said, Queensland blue couch is a good choice for Brisbane lawns as it is almost as lush as couch grass and retains its rich green colour almost all year long.
Advantages of Queensland Blue Couch
i. Thrives well in Brisbane’s subtropical climate
ii. Has limited invasive properties
iii. Can tolerate a lot of abuse without wear and tear
Disadvantages of Queensland Blue Couch
i. Has broader leaves compared to Kikuyu or couch grass
ii. Has very little tolerance to weed sprays
How to Lay Turf
If you want to get a great turf without losing time or money, approach the project in a systematic way. Here we present our proven ten-step procedure of doing this effectively. We have developed it from many years of turf installation in Brisbane and have been refining it over time to ensure efficiency and cost effectiveness.
1. Measure the Size of your Lawn
The first part in turf laying is determining the exact size of your lawn. It is extremely rare for a lawn to be a regular shape so you need to be a little inventive to determine the area accurately.
i. Start by drawing a careful sketch of the area to be covered by the turf on a blank piece of paper
ii. Break up this sketch into as many regular shapes such as squares, rectangles, triangles and circles as possible [see accompanying diagram]
iii. Drive stakes into the ground to mark the actual boundaries of these shapes on the lawn and then use strings or whitewash to outline the necessary dimensions such as widths, lengths and diameters
iv. Use measuring tape to determine the dimensions of each section, noting them directly on your sketch
v. Calculate the area of each section and then add them together to get a good idea of the size of the turf you need [see accompanying diagram]
vi. To be safe, add 10% of the total area as extra
2. Remove the Weeds
We have discovered that it is much easier to dig up a lawn if the weeds have been killed beforehand. Use the herbicide “Roundup” to spray all the conspicuous weeds around your lawn. Choose a morning when no rain is expected to spray the weeds. We recommend that you add a cupful of Seasol gardening solution and a few drops of dishwashing liquid to your Roundup suspension. This makes it easier for Roundup to stick to the weeds and increases its potency. Depending on the type of weeds on your lawn and how mature they are, Roundup will take between 7 and 10 days to kill them fully.
3. Till up the Ground
In landscaping jargon, the term “tillage” refers to the process of digging and turning up the layers of soil where the turf will be laid. There is no particular method of digging that is the best for tilling up your lawn. You can use a rotary hoe, shoveling or forked hoe. We however recommend a rotary hoe as it is not only convenient but also ensures the dead weeds, as well as the soil layers, are mixed up properly. With a rotary hoe it should take you about an hour to complete digging a fifty square metre section of your yard. Manual digging will require more time and effort of course.
4. Add Essential Nutrients and Compost to the Soil
Adding some mineral nutrients is not an absolute must before turfing your lawn unless you live in an area where the soil has been extensively leached. However, it is still advisable if you would rather not leave anything to chance. We recommend spreading PowerFeed organic fertiliser first over the freshly tilled ground. Not only does PowerFeed enhance the mineral nutrient content of the soil but it also acts as a soil conditioner. Other fertilisers we recommend include Bactivate, Bentonite Clay and Zeolite. Follow the recommended directions on each package. If your soil is too thin, you may also consider spreading organic compost.
5. Cultivate the Soil
With the organic fertiliser and compost spread over the surface, you need to cultivate the surface again to ensure the soil is a rich mix ready to provide sustenance to the turf. A rotary hoe is again the best implement for cultivating the soil. Set the retractable hoe to a depth of about 35o millimetres and move it over the entire surface deliberately.
6. Level the Soil
Use a rake to level the soil’s surface. A normal gardening rake should be adequate for this but if you want to go the extra mile, grab a soil spreader and give it a once-over. As you level the soil, remember to give it a sloping tilt away from your house to assist with drainage.
7. Compact the Soil
Before using a compacter for your lawn, remember that your are compacting the ground to ensure a graded surface for laying the turf. This is not the same as compacting the soil on a driveway or your garden paths. Indeed, a very hardened surface will make it even harder for the turf to take root. Even more devastatingly, this means the roots of the grass will fail to reach the mineral sustenance you just added. Before using a compacter, water the surface using a garden hose (not a sprinkler). Unless your soil is very sandy, a single pass with a plate compacter should be enough to ensure the surface is ready for laying the turf.
8. Laying the Turf
It is important to plan everything in such a way that the turf is delivered on the same day that it is going to be laid out. Unless you are certain the day will be cloudy all through, it is recommended that you lay out the turf as early as possible in the morning. Begin by watering the surface adequately. This time you can use a sprinkler but take care not to make the ground soggy or cause water to run off and destroy the level surface you just compacted.
For the best results and to save time, begin by laying the turf along the perimeter of the lawn first. As you close up the gaps in the inner part of the lawn, use a staggering pattern similar to laying brickwork. It is also important to do the laying as evenly as possible without leaving any gaps. Always have an old bread knife on the ready to cut sections and ensure they fit the designated area perfectly.
9. Firm up the Turf
After the initial laying of the turf, your lawn will look green but it is unlikely to be evenly smooth. Correct this by running the compacter lightly over the surface, paying particular attention to the joints between sections of grass turf. This final compacting also helps eject any air pockets which may have been trapped underneath and which may have given you a false sense of evenness of the turf.
10. Some Final Touches
If you have followed all the steps to this point, your turf should have very good chances of setting up well and flourishing. But it does not hurt to make certain. Take some molasses and add it to a watering can so that it covers between a half and three quarters of the base. Add water and stir the molasses to form a good mix. Don’t be too vigorous with the stirring or else the molasses will foam up too much and cause you problems. Apply the solution evenly over the lawn. Molasses is a rich organic mix which will help to boost the flora and fauna on the turf as well as in the soil below. To round it all up, add 50 millimetres of Seasol to a 9 litre watering can and fill it with water. Apply evenly over the newly installed turf. That should mark a successful end to the process or laying your turf.
While the hardest work in turfing involves getting the lawn ready and laying out the turf, providing care for the turf is no less important. We have divided the aftercare procedure into two sections: the first fortnight and another section with tips and guidelines for long term care and maintenance of your turf.
The First Two Weeks after Laying the Turf
While it is acceptable to feel a sense of accomplishment after your turf has been laid out, in the days immediately after laying, your turf calls for meticulous care. For the first ten days, you must ensure the turf is kept completely moist. Unless it is raining we recommend you water every inch of your lawn four times daily:
– Early morning
Watering your lawn four times a day does not equate to flooding it. Too much water is just as harmful as too little of it. Do not let your turf become waterlogged. Turf grass varieties such as Queensland blue couch are especially sensitive to plenty of standing water.
NOTE: It is normal and quite common for your turf to turn slightly yellow over the first couple of weeks from the time it was laid. This is a natural result of the turf acclimatizing to your lawn. The yellow colour will fade off as the grass sets and begins to thrive.
Long Term Care for your Turf
1. It is important to check your lawn daily to ensure that the grass is not wilting from lack of water. However, unless you have planted the most fickle varieties of lawn grass, daily watering is not necessary.
2. During the first fortnight of your turfing project, ensure you apply molasses, Seasol gardening solution and PowerFeed once a week over the entire lawn once a week. Skip the third week and afterwards only repeat the ritual once a month.
3. It is important to check your turf thoroughly at least once a week to ensure the grass is not getting infested by pests or weeds, getting diseased or spreading away from the desired confines.
4. Apply Seamungus Green Crumble once every two months on your lawn. Spread the organic fertiliser crumbs at the rate of roughly 40 to 60 grams per square metre immediately after mowing and apply water soon after to ensure it dissolves quickly sinks in uniformly.
5. Every four months, spread a blood and bone based organic fertiliser or a slow release alternative such as Scotts Lawn Builder over your turf.
6. Apply a soil wetting agent such as Yates Waterwise Granules or Munns Wetta Lawn once every six months
7. Once a year, top dress your grass turf with a thin layer of organic compost, spreading it on top of the lawn and raking it in. Early autumn is the best time of year to do this.
Mistakes People Make When Laying Turf
There are some mistakes some homeowners make as they plant grass on the lawn or yard. Here are the most common ones that you should avoid:-
1. Growing grass from lawn seed
This is not a mistake about laying turf. Rather, it is a mistake all about opting not to use turf for your lawn and instead growing the grass from seed. The kind of turf we offer is all grown from live vegetative material. While the farmers we source the turf from have combined experience running well over a century, even they do not have the skill or wherewithal to grow grass right from seed. Deciding to do it yourself is more likely to cause you a massive headache.
2. Poor turf Variety Selection
As outlined in the section on turf grass varieties, there is no dearth of choice of superb lawn turf varieties for Brisbane homeowners. Some homeowners however make the mistake of not giving adequate thought to the considerations outlined in the first and second sections of this guide. This often leaves them with turf for which they cannot provide adequate care and maintenance or one which is ill-suited to the nature of their lawn and its usage. Even a cursory glance at our guidelines should ensure you do not make the same mistake.
3. Too much water
Many homeowners consider laying out a turf on their lawn as one of the home improvement projects they feel most proud about. It is therefore not surprising that in a bid to offer the best care for the turf, many homeowners also tend to overdo it. Water logging the turf is therefore one of the most common mistakes that people commit especially in the immediate aftermath of laying out the turf. When the layers of turf have just been set, plenty of water can be trapped underneath without apparent indication that this is the case. After watering your lawn walk randomly around the lawn, carefully sounding out any sign off sogginess beneath the surface. If you notice any such, avoid watering that specific section in the next period of irrigation.
4. Too Little Water
Too little water can be just as dangerous as a lot of it. Some turf grass varieties such as Kikuyu grass require plenty of watering from the time the turf is laid and even later. We always provide detailed guidelines to homeowners about watering their lawn immediately after turfing and in subsequent days. Most of the turf grass varieties however require very little watering after the initial period of planting however so this shouldn’t worry you unduly.
Turfing Brisbane has a lot of options. Be sure to get in touch today for the best quote and design for your lawn.