Posted on 13/09/2017

Establishing a new lawn

Establishing a new lawn

With warmer weather, more hours of sunlight and the winter sprinkler ban over, now is the ideal time to establish a new lawn at your home.

The Water Corporation has put together a handy guide on installing and caring for a new lawn and recommends looking for a warm season grass to save time on watering and maintenance.

The following varieties are drought tolerant and suitable for WA’s warm conditions:

  • Soft leaf buffalo – soft leaf, low allergy, low maintenance
  • Queensland Blue – soft leaf, non-invasive, excellent resistance to weeds
  • Velvetene – soft leaf, low maintenance, grows in full sun or filtered shade
  • Couch – soft leaf, moderate maintenance, disease and pest resistant
  • Kikuyu – soft leaf, excellent wear, medium maintenance
  • Zoysia – soft leaf, excellent resistance to weeds, low water usage

Before installing your lawn, it is important to prepare and amend the soil to provide a healthy base for growth. Incorporating soil amendments, a soil wetting agent and slow release fertiliser into the top 15cm will dramatically improve both water and nutrient holding capacity of the soil and enabling longer periods between watering and a healthier lawn.

Here are the Water Corporation’s six steps to successful planting:

  • Clear the site - remove any rocks, sticks or tree roots and level the area with the back of a rake or levelling board to create a smooth and consistent soil surface about 30-50mm below the level of paths and driveways.
  • Install irrigation - you will need to design and install an efficient irrigation system. A Waterwise Garden Irrigator can provide expert advice and design and install a system to ensure your new lawn will receive the right amount of water on your sprinkler roster day.
  • Soil preparation - incorporate soil amendments appropriate to your soil type, (for example by adding clay or red sands to your grey sands), working them into the top 15cm of soil. Add a quality soil wetting agent and a moisture retainer if possible (see your turf grower for advice) and lightly apply an organic, slow release fertiliser and water in well. This will provide a healthy base for your lawn. Look for the Waterwise and Smart Approved WaterMark symbols when purchasing a gardening product at your local Waterwise Garden Centre.
  • Lay your turf - Begin by laying the turf along the longest straight edge, such as a driveway, pushing the edges tightly together without stretching the turf or overlapping. Stagger the joints like brickwork and use a sharp knife to cut the turf where required. If you’re installing turf on a sloped surface place the turf along the slope, not down and peg or stake the turf where required to keep it in place. After laying the turf, use a roller to encourage soil to turf contact, lightly apply a slow release fertiliser and water thoroughly. Re-apply a light sprinkle of organic fertiliser, such as pelletised chicken manure, 14 days after laying.
  • Watering - establishing a new lawn requires additional watering in the first few weeks. You can apply for an exemption to the watering roster to help fully establish your lawn. To find out more or to apply contact Water Corporation on 13 10 39. Once the exemption period finishes, you will need to revert to your watering roster.
  • Mowing - lightly mow your new lawn once you are certain that the roots have taken hold.

To establish your lawn you will need to water it more often in the first few weeks. To do so you will need to apply for an exemption to your watering roster. To apply call the Waterwise Helpline on 13 10 39.