The cheapest way to make a lawn is from seed, you can also then choose the type of grass you want.

Turves, however, will give you an instant lawn that you can use right away.



Sow grass seed any time in summer when the weather is damp, but late august and early september give the quickest germination and you are less tempted to walk on the young growing grass in the winter time.

Turves can be laid ant time the ground is not waterlogged, frozen or baked dry. But during the spring or autumn is the best time.

The finer the grass seed, the better the finish, but the more trouble it is to look after.

Rye grass, on the other hand, stands heavy wear but will always look rough, so mix it with some finer varieties.

Buy you grass seed ready-mixed with a bird deterrent and you won’t need to protect your newly sown lawn. Cotton strung over growing grass cuts the birds’ feet, incidentally, so if you have to protect your lawn, it’s kinder to use nylon netting instead.

Dig, level and rake a new lawn site well in advance. It needs to be left to settle for at least three weeks before grass is sown or laid, otherwise you may get switchback surface.

Work a little compost and some bone meal into the soil before you lay your lawn but do not add lime unless the soil is very acid-it will encourage clover and coarse grasses.

Before you lay each piece of turf, check it out for weeds, these are much easier to pull out at this stage, rather than when they are on the ground.


lawns

Turves come in 3ft by 1ft rectangles, flat pieces 1ft square and in larger rolls like carpeting. The larger the pieces, the more expensive it is to buy but the results are better in the end since there are less edges to ‘knit’ together.

Always lay rectangular turves like a brick wall so that the joints overlap.

Pat them in place with the back of a spade and fill in the cracks by brushing fine soil into them.

Roll new lawns as little as possible and never get the soil wet. The small rollers on a cylinder mower are all you need to roll the average lawn.

Dress grass with a special lawn fertiliser in the spring but don’t overdo it or will get a jungle of lank grass which will not stand up to difficult conditions in hot dry weather.

If your lawn is very weedy, use a combined fertiliser-herbicide which will kill off the weeds and make the grass grow to fill the gaps at the same time.

The first time in the year that you cut the grass, and the last, should be done with the mower blades set high.

Leave the grass clippings on the surface of the lawn when you cut it during a hot and dry spell, they will help keep the moisture in.

Grass clippings left on the lawn at other times of year, however, look untidy and encourage worms to come to the surface and leave their casts all over it.

The grass on an average lawn should be 1/2" (12mm) to 3/4" (18mm) long. Fine grass with a bowling green finish should be shaved to 1/4" (6mm).

Little and often is the way to mow your lawn to get the best-looking grass. You may need to do two cuts a week in the peak growing season.

Lawn sand- a mix of 1 part ferrous sulphate, 3 parts ammonium sulphate to 20 parts of fine sand, can be used to get rid of moss. But check the root cause behind it- it could be bad drainage, too much shade or compacted soil.

Be careful if you are using special weed-killer on your lawn. It works on the principle of killing off broad-leaved plants and if any drifts on to your flower beds, it will kill off the flowers too. Don’t use it on young lawns.

Spike your lawn regularly to aerate it (prick it all over with a fork, rather as you would pastry or shortbread). It lets air and water into the roots of the grass.

Scarify your lawn too- rake it gently first across then down to get up any dead or decaying vegetable matter and stimulate the grass into fresh growth.

Naturalised daffodils, snowdrops and crocuses look good in a lawn but make cutting a problem (their leaves must be allowed to die down naturally). Plant them in clumps, so that you can steer round them.