Maintaining a Child Friendly Lawn

Since moving into our new home, the children have really been enjoying the extra space to run around. In addition to having a lovely large home, we also have inherited a beautiful lawn for the children and dog to play on. Every day you will find them enjoying the great outdoors!

Daddy taking a brief break from setting up the trampoline.

I had the opportunity last week to talk to John Keleher, the President of Turf Australia, about how to maintain our lawn so it remains in a great condition for the children to play on. John shared a wealth of information about lawns, and I have since been giving The Accountant several helpful hints. The Accountant is a bit of a lawn lover, but our lawns are not immaculate, so he’s always keen to learn a few new things. Not being one to keep information to myself, I would love to share some tips on how to Maintain a Child Friendly Lawn.

1. Choose the right turf
Before you think about maintaining your lawn, you must make sure you have chosen the right grass. Our lawn is Kikuyu. John said this is a great choice for our area because it has become a naturalised turf in this region. This makes it very versatile, which makes it a great choice for tolerating a lot of wear and tear that will inevitably happen when one has children, dogs – and in our case – motorbikes! Which actually is a very good shout out for kikuyu, because it has been hardy enough to withstand the children having lots of rides on the new little TTR 50 motorbike! (Alex gives the kids rides around the yard on his bigger bike also.) My advice is that if your lawn is patchy or the grass cannot cope with vigorous use by children, find a turf that will suit your family life. Australian lawn concepts has some useful advice on choosing turf.

2. Soil and Water
Our lawn is looking a bit yellow at the moment thanks to a late frost.

John said that giving it a good soak with water at this time of year will really help spruce it back to lush green. We’re fortunate to live in an area with lovely rich red soil. Soil is the foundation to having a beautiful lawn. If the soil is not good, or the ground is rocky, it is advisable to get at least 150mm of good quality soil before you lay your turf. Once you do have a good soil below your lawn, then watering will be a lot more effective. Of course it will depend on your location as to how much water you can access. A simple way to see if your soil is too dry is the screwdriver test. If you can’t poke a screwdriver into the ground, it’s too dry. We have access to bore water, so we’re going to start giving the lawn a bit more water in preparation to summer. Then it will be a case of making sure the grass does not dry out over summer. The grass often does look stressed in the middle of the hot summer days, there’s not too much you can do about this. However, if first thing in the morning you notice your grass is looking withered and shrinking, this is a good indication that it needs more moisture.

3. Weeds and Fertiliser

We have weeds popping up everywhere in our garden right now. John suggested a trip to Bunnings to get some common weedkillers before it goes to seed. He said there are several good products on the market, just pick one and follow the instructions! Too easy! In future years, make sure you check the same trouble spots, it might take a few years to get on top of it.

I thought it was interesting that John said he wasn’t worried about clover, even though a lot of people hate it. It’s actually a legume, so it can be quite nutritious for the soil and it tends to die away in summer. I was actually quite happy to hear that because I’ve always been a little fond of clover, especially remembering the clover chains and head bands I used to make with my friends when we were girls!

Clover, dog, a lovely lawn to play on in a beautiful garden. The stuff that childhood is made of.

Spring is also a great time to get some fertiliser on the lawn. Then follow up with another dose of fertiliser prior to Christmas. That way it will be nice and green for Santa’s entrance to your home. Tell the kids that Santa loves green grass, and they will keen to have it fertilised! Who knows, maybe it will be nice enough for the reindeer to have a nibble! Also, at the beginning of winter give a little more of a fertiliser so that it has got a reserve to make it through the colder months.

The aim is to have a thick carpet of healthy grass. A thick carpet of grass discourages weeds and leaves a lush play area for the children.

4. Mowing
Regular mowing is critical to train the lawn so it tightens up into a thick mat. Use a sharp mower blade, especially at this time of the year. Don’t cut the grass too low, leave about one third of the grass leaf at this time of year.

There are more tips on caring for your lawn to be found on Turf Australia’s website. ALC also has an informative page on turf and lawn maintenance.

I hope that’s helpful for you. I know lawns can sometimes feel like hard work, but a little bit of care means that it’s so much nicer for the children to get outdoors. And I don’t know about you, but I would prefer my kids running outside on a soft lawn, playing make believe or sport knowing they are getting exercise, fresh air

and sunshine. Much better than being cooped up watching TV and playing electronic games. Plus a nice lawn can add extra value to your home! Turf Australia found 73% of real estate agents say buyers want a safe playing area for their children and Aussie home buyers are prepared to pay up to $75,668 more for a home with a lawn. Wowsers!

Is your home turfed? If it is, what recommendations can you share about maintaining a lovely lawn? What is your favourite outdoor activity to do with the children on the lawn during the warmer months?

This post has been sponsored by Turf Australia.

Linking up with Essentially Jess

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  1. Great tips! We are very lucky with our lawn up here.Especially as soon as the rain hits, our grass grows like crazy and is so beautiful and lush!
    I’m kinda jealous of your lawn though. It looks amazing xx

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