BE WATERWISE ABOUT LAWN
OUR love of the great outdoors in Perth means creating a comfortable and functional garden is a top priority for many homeowners.
Water Corporation spokeswoman Clare Lugar said installing lawn as a ground cover was still a popular choice as it helped cool the home and provided an area for families and pets to enjoy our climate.
Ensuring a lawn is water-efficient is increasingly important in our drying climate, so look for a warm-season grass to save time on watering and maintenance.
Ms Lugar said the following lawn varieties were drought-tolerant and suitable for WA’s warm conditions: soft leaf buffalo grasses, Queensland blue, velvetene, couch grasses, kikuyu grasses and zoysia grasses.
The Water Corporation recommended the following six steps when planting a lawn:
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.
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.
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 buying 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. Reapply a light sprinkle of organic fertiliser, such as pelletised chicken manure, 14 days after laying.
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, call the Water Corporation on 13 10 39. Once the exemption period finishes, you will need to revert to your watering roster.
Lightly mow your new lawn once you are certain that the roots have taken hold. In summer, this is usually within 10 to 14 days of laying your turf.
With your lawn in place, now is the time to choose some waterwise plants for your garden. Use the waterwise plant search at watercorporation.com.au/save-water/ waterwise-plants-search to find plants suited to your area.
There are six steps to planting a water-efficient lawn.