Landscaping, Dublin: The First New Lawn of 2013

roll out lawn

In the rolled lawn department, there is something almost television programme-like that I love about a client going out in the morning and returning home that evening to this, above.

Why I love doing it so much, maybe is down to the fact that domestically it can be laid within a day or so. That and it just looks so damn good, like you could nearly eat it. More than that, is that tv moment when they, the client, pop their head around the corner and you get that smile;

It’s a little-esque like when wee 3 year old Ella eats all her dinner and Dad gives her that you done good nod. And she knows… if ye get me. On a serious note, it is [and I’ve said it before here] a wonderful feeling to create something for somebody else for my job and to see them happy-er because of it. Reason numero uno why I love what I do. Even when it is not sunny. 😉

*note: the sound in the video is a bit rubbish due to the Irish winds. I might suggest you scroll to 40 seconds and play it from there to get the reverse view. 

Back to it, I ran through 3 steak knives doing this lawn and unless someone invents a better alternate the Donegan clan may soon end up using that set of chop sticks I found years ago when I used to garden and live in Abderdeen [Scotland]. I don’t know why I kept them.

What was attention to detail about laying this one was that as you look at the image above all of the turves run left to right. All of them. And in linear metre terms, that is a lot of patience to be perfect cutting both sides of a rough finish edged cobble. In context, should it have been your usual domestic back garden measuring 8 x 10 approximate metres and a proper rectangle, it would have been complete within half the allocated timing.

The garden above, beforehand as a by the way used to look like so…

garden makeover, soil works

Of interest maybe is that I allowed the soil below the rolled lawn raise ever so slightly falling either side. It should aid slightly when it comes to moss and potential sodden lawns that have resulted from excess rainfall levels of recent.

*of note: this garden was done about 3 weeks ago, but I literally have not had the time indoors to sit down and post it here.
also of note: me and this garden have history

Any Q’s or thoughts [?] leave a comment below or drop me a line.

Peter Donegan:

donegan gardens, dublin

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….

The Sodcast – Episode 29

sodshow, garden podcast

The Sodshow Garden Podcast – every Friday – in iTunes, all good podcast stores.

Listen to The Sodcast in MP3 – or subscribe/ listen to the podcast in iTunes. Alternatively, subscribe to the blog and listen to them right here. Missed Episode 28 of the garden podcast

First Up:

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Links For The Podcast:

Atfar Construction

This Weeks Oddities:

The Early Days of the Dublin – Drogheda Railway Our speaker, Rev. Dr. Norman Gamble, a rail enthusiast, has studied the minute books of the railway company. His talk will cover the planning, construction and first four years operation of the railway.  Wednesday 9th March in the Presbyterian Church Hall, Dublin Road at 8 pm. All welcome. Parking available.

The 19th Century Celtic revival and Celtic cross tombstones in Glasnevin Cemetry by Dr. Peter Harbison in Fingal Local Studies & Archives, Clonmel House, Forster Way, Swords, on Wednesday 2nd March at 7.30 pm. Admission free. Tel. 8704486

If Maps Could Talk by Richard Kirwan former Director of the Ordnance Survey of Ireland. The talk is taking place on Wed 30th March at 7pm in Rush Library. The event is free to all, but it is important to book a place. You can do so by calling 01-8708414

And Finally:

Recorded at the Fingal Folk Club, what a nice way to end the podcast…. this will be playing over the weekend whilst I sit on the lawn on Sunday and have a cup of tea with my daughter 😉