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The British may, according to the old adage, be obsessed with lawned gardens but there are actually many good reasons for turfing the space surrounding your home, irrespective of its size or shape. Not only do they look attractive and provide a haven for a variety of wildlife but lawns also help to maintain the fertility of the soil, absorbs ambient noise and reduces carbon dioxide levels in the environment.
Laying turf is straightforward if you follow some simple steps methodically.
Calculating the amount of turf
Making sure you have the correct amount of turf is important to ensure that you avoid costly wastage. Calculate the area of the lawn in metres by multiplying the length and width and allow an extra 5-10% for shaping if you intend to have wavy edges which can provide a more natural look.
Preparing the ground
Turf needs to root to flourish and it is important to provide it with good quality soil to a depth of 4-6” which should be dug over and levelled with a rake. All stones and weeds should also be removed. This is a time-consuming task which will produce far better results if completed with diligence.
Once you have turned over the soil, tread it lightly and rake it level before watering plentifully for a day or two to provide adequate moisture for the roots when the turf is laid. Preparing the ground in spring or autumn is the ideal time to avoid potentially damaging winter frosts or summer heat.
Choosing and laying the turf
In order to lay your lawn you should obtain good quality turf from a reputable supplier. Garden turf at Wickes is tested independently by the Sports Turf Research Institute to be 99.9% weed-free so you can be confident of an exceptional look and minimum maintenance once your lawn is laid. Wickes’ Rowlawn Medallion turf is supplied in 1m² lengths.
Turf should not be stored for long periods as when it is rolled it cannot receive the sunlight necessary to maintain its condition and colour. Laying the turf on the day of delivery is advised.
Use a plank of wood to ensure you start laying the turf along a straight edge. Ensure close contact between the ends of each strip and press down all over to encourage the roots to bed into the soil. When you start the second row, arrange the turf in a brickwork pattern and nudge each piece into place to maintain contact between the strips.
A long knife or cutting spade can be used to shape the turf around the edges or other ornamental features.
Sprinkle topsoil or compost along all of the joins and water the entire lawn thoroughly.
Caring for your lawn
You should water the lawn daily, preferably in the evening but twice a day if the weather is especially warm, until it is established. Avoid using the lawn for the first few weeks but give it a light cut to help it to grow more productively. The gardening section of the BBC website offers useful tips for keeping your lawn in tip-top condition throughout the year.
Open floor plans are attractive for many people, but older houses often have a series of small rooms divided by interior walls. Fortunately, removing an interior wall is a fairly simple DIY task, assuming the wall isn't load-bearing and assuming you don't have to deal with any wiring or plumbing. If this isn't the case, and you don't have experience in these areas, it might be better to hire a professional.
If you do decide to go ahead with the demolition, try and resist the temptation to attack the wall with a sledgehammer. The safest and most efficient way to remove a wall is to carefully and methodically reverse the construction process. Start by prepping the area. Turn off the electricity to eliminate the risk of accidental electric shock, and spread bedsheets or similar coverings over your furniture. Keep in mind that a lot of mess will be created by the project. You might want to plan in advance and hire a skip in order to deal with this problem. Check out Skip and Bin for the cheapest rates in your area.
Begin the demolition by prying away any trim from the wall. You can try and keep the trim in one piece if you want to save and reuse it. Next you will need to remove the outer layer of drywall or plaster. You can cut through drywall with a utility knife, but it might be easier to knock holes in plaster with a hammer. Either way, pull away this outer layer of material to reveal the wooden studs behind.
You will need to cut through the studs in order to remove them. A reciprocating saw is the easiest tool for the task, but an ordinary saw can also function in a pinch. Once the studs are removed, you will have to tidy up the space you have created. Remove any nails or screws from the wall frame, and use sandpaper to smooth out rough surfaces. Depending on what look you're going for, this might be all the work you need to do. You can also install drywall or trim in order to make your new space appear more finished. Alternatively, you can leave the top and sides of the wall frame bare, for a rustic look, or simply add a coat of paint.
Except for the mess that needs to be cleared away, you have finished removing the wall.
You will have to take into account design considerations such as how to rearrange your furniture, but if you've planned out your new floor plan in advance you shouldn't have any problems, just a beautiful open space with lots of light and potential!