Planning for a Healthy Lawn and Garden
Tips and Tricks for making your lawn and garden healthy.
When planning for anything, a solid, fertile foundation is always better. When building a house, a solid concrete foundation/slab that is level and fully cured is essential for the longevity of the home. We educate our children from a very young age so they have the tools and core intellectual knowledge to have a better chance for success. The same can be said for healthy turf and a healthy, vibrant garden.
To give the most optimum start to any garden or turf, it starts with the soil . Soils with adequate drainage, nutrient holding capacity, organic matter, and water holding capacity, and the general soil texture of your soil are essential for your garden to be at its best.
Knowing these things, along with sun exposure, plant climate zones, and irrigation/seasonal-rainfall, you can then select the plants and turf appropriate for your yard.
Besides having nothing but hard-pan and/or construction-backfill, native plants will survive and mostly thrive with little change to the soil. Non-native species in your yard can bring great challenges to your design and installation, especially as it pertains to soil building and management, but also wonderful and worthwhile results. If it is possible to modify your soil and other environmental needs for specific plants, your garden will turn into a unique and picturesque getaway of your dreams for years to come.
When planning your garden or turf, know the breakdown of your native soil. You will be ready to amend appropriately where needed. Most likely you will need to add 8 to 12 inches with a top-dressing of Top-soil, 3-Way Mix, or other turf soil.
Make sure to know all the different needs of ALL the plants in your garden before adding new soil, compost, or fertilizers. A mistake can cost you as little as less flowering during the season to full-on death of your plants. Grouping of plants in your garden with similar soil texture and pH needs can be helpful and easier to manage.
Amending your existing garden and turf soils with established plants can be easy and almost instantly gratifying. Click here to see how to amend your garden soil around and for already established plants.
Turf soil amending can be simple or intense. For simple, add a layer of compost or topsoil of ½ to 1 inch think uniformly over your entire lawn. This can be done with a soil-spreader or even a garden-rake. Water in and then place grass seed over, working that in with the rake or placing a little more soil material on that, watering it down again so there is wet soil around each grass seed. Your existing grass will grow up through the new soil and the new grass seed will sprout and thicken the turf. Here is an article with more information!
Amending your turf or grass every year or so is extremely beneficial and recommended by most landscape and turf professionals. Also, aerating and thatching can help, but should be done prior to top-dressing and/or reseeding your lawn.
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Sean McManus writes about gardening, landscaping, gardening productivity, time management, tips and tricks, and other things associated with dirt-digging/plant-goodness. Subscribe to his email list at and follow him on Twitter.