Lawns are a key component of many gardens, however they also use up to 30 per cent of outdoor water. Whether it is a functional play area or an ornamental feature, there are many ways to make your lawn more water efficient.
- Choose a low maintenance, light drinker for your lawn. Ask your local nursery for advice on what grass type will suit you.
- Try not to plant lawn on slopes or in hard to reach places that are difficult to water and maintain.
- To assist the establishment of your new lawn and to minimise the amount of water it requires, we recommend you apply a light top dressing to your lawn. Talk to your local nursery or landscape supplier about a suitable weed-free, sand based, organic top dressing mix.
- Water your lawn for longer, but less often, to encourage deeper roots and drought tolerance. A good soaking every now and then is ideal.
- Aerate the soil occasionally with a garden fork to help water soak in.
- Try not to cut your lawn too short. Mow only the top third of the leaf area, leaving it three centimetres or higher. You can reduce water loss even further by saving your lawn clippings to use as mulch on your lawn or garden.
- Plant trees to partially shade lawn areas. This will reduce evaporation rates and slow down lawn growth, saving time on mowing. Be careful not to over shade as this will thin out your lawn.
Warm Season Grasses
The most practical method of planting is to use instant turf. Warm season grasses can also be established using sprigs/stolons. Seeding is not a practical option. It is important to keep the area weed free during establishment.
Planting is best done early to mid-spring when there is maximum amount of growing time to establish the lawn before the following winter.
To prepare the area for planting spray the area with a glysophate based herbicide to kill all existing vegetation. Leave for two weeks, mow close to the soil, and top dress to level the area. Apply a ‘lawn starter’ fertilizer and lay the turf.
Cool Season Grasses
Seed or instant turf are the best ways to establish cool season grasses. Planting can be done all year but the best time is in August/September to take advantage of the spring rains.
To prepare the area spray existing vegetation with a glysophate based herbicide, leave for two weeks, then till the area to loosen the top soil to a depth of 5cm. Use your feet to re-harden soil, then level, fertilise and lay the instant turf. Keep the instant turf constantly moist during establishment. If sowing seed, spread it evenly, rake over it lightly and keep moist.