Whether you are simply purchasing a newly constructed home or having your own custom home built, you may find yourself with barren ground instead of a lawn or garden. Unfortunately, you can't just spread some seeds and expect to end up with a lush, green landscape. The following tips will help you create a healthy yard from scratch.
Tip #1: Till deeply
Before you begin to improve the soil or plant anything, run your motorized cultivator across the lawn. Set it to the greatest depth possible and work slowly. Sometimes construction waste, such as the cut end of a 2x4, ends up buried in the yard. This can result in two problems as the wood degrades. First, you may get a low spot in the lawn as the wood breaks down. Second, decomposing wood just beneath the soil surface can lead to mushroom or fungal problems later.
Tip #2: Bring in fresh topsoil
Although some construction companies take great pains to conserve as much topsoil as possible, some is sure to be lost. For healthy lawn growth, you want at least 4 to 6 inches of quality topsoil since this is how deep you can expect grass roots to penetrate. You can purchase topsoil that is harvested locally from many soil, construction, or gravel companies. This soil should be spread evenly on top of the subsoil that is present but not mixed in.
Tip #3: Add in some nutrients
Topsoil alone won't usually contain enough nutrients for healthy plant growth. You can mix 1 or 2 inches of compost in with the topsoil to up its nutrient level. Another option is to mix in a start fertilizer. These are often used for grass, since grass tends to require more nitrogen than what is present in compost or the topsoil. Apply it at the rate recommended by the manufacturer on the label.
Tip #4: Make the grade
One thing sometimes overlooked when homeowners try to install a new lawn on their own is the grade. Simply leveling the topsoil can lead to problems, such as water pooling or drainage toward the home's foundation. Instead, you want to grade the soil so it slopes down from the house. The grade should drop the level of the lawn a couple of inches for every 10 feet from the home. This way excess moisture runs away instead of toward your foundation.
Once the soil is prepared, you can plant sod for an instant lawn or seed it for a slower but less expensive lawn. Talk to a topsoil contractor from a company like Purdy Topsoil & Gravel for more help in getting the supplies you need for your new yard.