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Landscaping. Dublin Southside.

landscape gardens dublin (2)

It is an absolutely wonderful feeling when, in my head I know I can see what the end result of a garden I haven’t yet created or made will be. And though the budgets here were spent mildly differently, the end result of this space outdoors and the time frame within which it was created puts it right up there with the very best of them.

I say the best of them. But what this garden came with was a massive dose of that that they do on them changing rooms type television programmes. You know the ones were they tell the family to get lost for a few days, flatten their one bedroom apartment, turn it into the Taj Mahal and then bring them back in and tell ’em you can open your eyes, now !

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Roll Out Lawn

Possibly surprising, the above is the first rolled lawn that I have laid this season. Suffice to say, that after almost 12 years in business for myself I’ve just about thrown the towel in when it comes to predicting what exactly the forth comings may hold in store. A little like trying to figure out whether Robin Van Persie will be at The Arsenal next season, maybe.

Back to horticulture, I do find the similar-ish requests do come in waves, sort of. At one point and for almost 2 months it was all hard type landscaping and then it went to soft plantscaping and any way the wind blows I suppose. 😉 No matter, numero uno for me is very much, so long as I’m in A garden, I’m about as happy a fellow as you can ever meet.

To rolled lawns. In my opinion there is only one real way to go when doing the grass gig and that is the roll out way.

One shouldn’t still walk on it similar to seed for a period of time after but it is, just too damn good to look at when it’s done well and done rightly.

Below ground or at sod finish level, what is essential is a fine tilth. In this, one can choose to build upwards on the existing with a fine granuled type medium – here I sometimes use a sand or compost, but in reality it is whatever suits the specific garden and project.

Some may say, one has to rotovate – but what exactly do you do with the rule book when you cannot fit that machine through the house to the back yard or it’s quite simply just not practical ? Either or the role of that tool would have been to run a soils upper surface through a blender into which the root zone of the new turf may then teeth. It is the understanding of this that I cannot over emphasise enough.

Some may also say that the rotovator will aid drainage [?], but the feet of the cultivator, shaped a little like The Isle of Man legs, I’ve always thought, only go down a few inches and this does not solve any serious dilemma’s one may have with serious underlying drainage issues. That, sub standard soil, as a by the way, something that seems to have come part and parcel of the not so horticulturally considerate celticus tigerus.

Lawn laid, the next imperative is typical Irish weather and by the bucket load. Think of it a little like keeping fresh-cut lettuce, fresh. Ideally conditions needs to be perfectly dry on laying and just as I walk out the gate, pouring rain. This week it did exactly that. The flip side, is when the guys were lifting the turf, it was a little tougher for them in the fields but, the added bonus for me was the that the turf in its roll, was moist and not at all stressed on arrival.

Temperatures for grass growth starts at around 14 degrees Celsius. The higher that number moves upwards the more water required (note: see photosynthesis equation). Though it has been raining a lot of recent there is a lot to be said for talking to your newest photosynthetic surface. Fair enough, maybe not making them a cuppa and sitting them up on the couch beside you, but visually inspecting by touch and feel, just to be sure to be sure.

The problem that comes when roll out lawn dries is that it shrinks in size. The air then gets in underneath the corners and they start to curl and dry out with the eventual – and believe me I’ve seen the alternate – that the whole thing goes to pot. My two cents, look after your lawn like you might a brand new beige carpet in your home.

Side tracking mildly, I’ve been asked a bit recently my thoughts on lawnmowers and types I may recommend. I always remember my Pop with the old push two steps forward, one step back type cylinder mower. There was something old and romantic about them that I miss, although I have seen them make a return to the super dooper hardware stores and there is a lot to be said for petrol-less machinery in this day and age.

If that’s not your bag [?], then go for a mulching mower. Lawn clippings are high in phosphorus and potassium, the base ingredients for Miracle grow/ tomato feeds, both of which encourage new growth and flowering, thus giving you that lush green feel.

Questions or queries, leave a comment or….

how long should I wait before I walk on the grass

laying lawn

An old science teacher of mine told me that for every equation there is always an exception. In horticulture, in my opinion, equations and theories can all be discarded. The ‘theory’ for grass seed to germinate for example is that it should take ten to fourteen days to germinate. But that is based on the fact that you have suitable growing medium [soil] ; temperature in this case at approximately twelve to fourteen degrees depending; water; air and sunlight – the five factors required for the growth of any plant. So how long will it take for seed to germinate? with conditions at almost twenty degrees and no rain? a long time.

Back to the roll out lawn! Now you have a germinated green seed carpet the bottom of which should be flat with some white fine root hairs slightly protruding at the base [look closely]. If soil preparations are done to perfection one should have what is in theory castor sugar like soil [a fine tilth to the horticulturist] with a roll of weighted grass on top. Until the rootzone develops [ie. the fine white hairs teeth into the fine soil and form a matting ie. bind together so as the grass cannot be pulled off the ground when you grab it] and also the soft ground beneath hardens enough to take your weight – then don’t walk on it. You will need to test the water, so to speak, to see if it’s alright. If the kids do dancing on it be warned that’s how you get potholes in your new lawn

This sounds a really long answer to a simple query – but what I am trying to do is give an understanding in a nutshell of a situation that has taken some years of education and experience to know by touch and sight.

enjoy the cutting, buy a mulching mower and be kinder to the environment.