WANT to keep your home cooler this summer?
Celebrity landscaper and award-winning horticulturist Meredith Kirton said that even homes with limited space can create an outdoor haven by looking after their lawn.
"Grass filters air and water, acting as a natural form of pollution control," she said. "It reduces carbon dioxide and cools surrounding areas, keeping your property cooler in summer."
Ms Kirton said factors to consider when choosing the right grass for your home include humidity and shade levels, water restrictions, garden size and soil type to ensure your lawn thrives and achieves the desired look.
Here are her tips for the perfect backyard.
● Assess your backyard and decide which turf is right for the environment. If you have a big tree-lined garden, you'll probably need shade tolerant turf. If you are creating a turf plot for an apartment, you'll probably need a heat resistant and water wise variety that can stand being on a dry, hot balcony or courtyard.
● Prepare the site by cleaning all debris and all existing grasses or weeds. Ensure soil gradient slopes away from the house and apply a light fertiliser and water to the soil.
● Ensuring there are no air pockets, roll the grass starting from the longest straight line in your garden. A light soil may be applied to fill joins before watering.
● Don't allow your grass to dry out in its establishment period. A new lawn needs to be kept damp (not soaked) for two weeks.
● Resist the temptation to mow your lawn too early. Allow it to grow to six centimetres or more before its first mow.
● If it rains, put the mower away. You don't want to tear up a water-logged lawn.
● Be sun-smart for you and your lawn. Mow and water in the morning or evening.
● Give your lawn a haircut, not a scalping. Don't set the mower blades too low or you'll literally scalp the lawn. A rule of thumb is four to five centimetres mower height. If you cut off all the green leaves, leaving lots of white thatch, you've gone too hard.
● Fertilise lightly but don't go overboard. Turf is remarkably tough. A light fertiliser is all you need to bring out the colour in your lawn.
● An established lawn may need to be aerated. Lawns, especially high traffic areas, can become compacted which prevents them receiving water and vital nutrients. Aerate can be done easily and simply by opening up the soil at 10 centimetre intervals with garden fork.
● Watch out for weeds. Most grasses grow slowly in winter giving weeds, such as bindies, the opportunity to take hold.
● Don't leave garden furniture or kids' pool toys on the lawn for too long. It will kill the grass underneath.
● Details: Talk to your turf grower for expert advice on how to choose and care for the right type of grass or visit turfaustralia.com.au for more information.