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Shaping Your Lawn

Spring is an ideal time to rethink your lawn design and incorporate good maintenance elements such as adding proper drainage or filling in any dips where water collects by changing the grade.

Shaping Your Lawn
Grading your lawn

Make the Grade

The most important aspect of good grading is to make sure that water drains away from any buildings. Changing the grade of your yard can improve drainage as well as make your lawn look more natural by adding a rolling slope or building up soil around trees and bushes.

Here's how:

  • Before you begin, mark all buried lines for phone, gas, cable or water, etc.
  • Remove the existing 6-8 inches of topsoil from areas that need filling and save it to replace later.
  • Starting at the sub or rough grade-the foundation-fill in any hollows and knock down high points to create a level surface. Make sure the soil slopes away from your house and any other buildings at a 12-inch (or 2 percent) grade for every 50 feet of lawn. This is the time to add extra slope for drainage if needed. (See below.)
  • Smooth the ground with an upturned rake. Replace set-aside topsoil with amendments and more topsoil as needed. Use a Rototiller to break up and blend topsoil with subsoil.
  • Use a landscape rake to comb out rocks and fill in any remaining dips.
  • This is also the ideal time to add below-surface irrigation lines. Let soil settle before planting seeds or laying sod.
Install drainage pipes

Improve Drainage

To improve drainage in low-lying areas or poorly drained soils such as clay, install drainage pipes 10 to 15 feet apart in trenches that are at least 12 inches wide and deep. They should run from the lowest spot on the lawn to a dug-out well or catch basin. Cover the pipes with landscape fabric to let water in but keep soil out. Add gravel around the sides and 2 inches over the pipes. Then fill the trenches with topsoil.
Edge your lawn into any shape imaginable

Shape for Success

Lawns and gardens can be edged to form any shape imaginable-straight or curved, narrow or wide. An easy way to shape a curved outline is to lay it out with a garden hose then use chalk to mark the pattern. To create a straight path, use stakes with string to act as a guide.
Free-flowing shapes are more relaxed, straight lines more formal. Be sure to take into consideration the shade pattern of trees or any buildings.

Take your time measuring and adjusting your design. Once you're happy with the shape, cut into the lawn with proper edging tools-in no time you'll have an updated landscape. Remember to keep grass healthy and green with proper care.
Winding paved path

Pathways Say Welcome

Invite guests to explore your garden or lawn along a winding paved path to a bench, fountain or conversation area.
  • If you're laying down a stone path, leave enough space between the pavers to feature some green for both contrast and texture.
  • Craft a path through your lawn using edging to show off flower beds and borders from many angles. For tips on edging, read Edge Like a Pro.
  • To give the illusion you're walking alongside a river of green, edge a curved path with a colorful flower bed and mirror the shape of the path with your grass.

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