Helen's Garden Renovation Project

Friday 17 October 2014

Letting the grass grow under my tarpaulin

Filed under: Progress — Helen @ 2:35 pm

Just over two weeks on from sowing the grass seed and covering it up with a tarpaulin, here are the results.

The grass under the tarpaulin revealed

The grass under the tarpaulin revealed

As you can see, the experiment appears to have been a huge success. All but the grass at the very bottom right hand corner of the picture was covered by the tarpaulin until just before I took the picture. The grass seems to be doing even better than the grass I sowed in the front garden, a week earlier, and this may be because the tarpaulin provides some insulation. There is a white streak, which may be because of some leaves getting stuck in a fold in the tarpaulin and blocking the light. The grass shown is in the shadiest part of the lawn. Up at the other end, which gets more sun, the tarpaulin is becoming puffed up in places as the grass pushes it upwards.

There are still more leaves yet to fall, so I am inclined to leave the tarpaulin on for the time being. I will review it next week.


Thursday 2 October 2014

Seeding the back lawn

Filed under: Progress — Helen @ 12:44 pm

Last week I banged a series of wooden pegs into the back lawn to determine how much the slope was. I discovered that the difference in height between the lowest corner and the highest corner was 9 cm. I decided that if I tried to make the middle of the lawn level it would just accentuate the slope of the edging, and that the best thing was to have a gradual slope that followed the slope of the edging. So that’s what I did. I borrowed a bit of top soil from the right-hand area of the garden, and ordered 10 bags of top soil and 10 bags of compost from The Compost Centre so I could pay it back when the supplies arrived.

I bought some general purpose lawn seed and mixed it with the rest of my shade mix seed. I estimated the lawn area to be 25.2 square metres, and the seed is supposed to be sown at 35g per metre for new lawns. The packet misleadingly says “Covers up to 20 square metres” but this only applies if you are sowing the seed onto an existing lawn. I didn’t realise this until I got home and found there wasn’t quite enough seed. But I decided it didn’t matter, and sowed it anyway.

The back lawn sown with grass seed, before raking it in

The back lawn sown with grass seed, before raking it in

I also thought about how I was going to keep (a) leaves (b) beech nuts (c) cats and (d) pigeons off the lawn while it was germinating. I thought about using netting, but then suddenly I came up with what may turn out to be my harest-brained idea of the whole Garden Renovation Project. Having observed the vigorous growth of weeds underneath the tarpaulin over the last few years, I decided to put the tarpaulin over the seed. There should be enough light. There should also be enough water because I have watered the seed well and generally the soil stays damp under the tarpaulin for a while. I have punctured the tarpaulin in several places so the rainwater can get in anyway.

And if this idea doesn’t work, then all I have to do is spend another £6 on seed in the spring.