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It has been said that the lawn is the foundation of the garden. With few exceptions the lawn, whether it is at the front or rear of the home, occupies most of the garden area, and so a great deal of thought should be given to its size and shape. Lawns that curve round buildings or large trees are more attractive than rectangular areas of grass, and a well-managed lawn, with its fine smooth texture, has a beauty all its own. A broad sweep of green turf provides a very good foreground for shrubs and flower-beds.
Often lawn grasses are found growing on vacant sites and can be regarded as indigenous and worth encouraging, since they have already survived the adverse conditions of having to compete with apparently more vigorous species. The first step is to remove unwanted tall grasses and associated weeds, and this can be done with hormone weed-killers, and by mowing and raking. It is remarkable how quickly such treatments help to make a good lawn.
Once the lawn grasses start to grow rapidly they can be further encouraged by covering the area with some top-dressing; a light friable loam soil is preferred. This top-dressing will encourage the grasses to send out new roots, and it will not be long before these will colonize the entire area. The surface for mowing will also improve. Many good lawns have been made by following this procedure, and for little cost.
If the site is uneven and rough, and few lawn grasses can
be seen, it will be necessary to make a new lawn. The old vegetation must be removed and the soil dug over to a depth of a few inches. Since lawn grasses are surface-rooted there is no point in digging too deeply. A new turf can be established in three ways: by sowing seeds in the well-prepared seed-bed, by laying turf that can be bought in suitable sizes, and by broadcasting sprigs of chopped turf and covering them with a deep layer of top-dressing.
If the lawn can be constructed so that it extends behind a group of shrubs or trees, or round the corner of a house, it will give an impression of spaciousness; graceful, sweeping curves can be more attractive than straight lines. If the lawn area is unusually large it might be advisable to divide the area into two or more sections, each with its own central feature, such as a summerhouse or fish-pond.