Christine's garden Gardening

Weekend project and redoing the lawn

I have a huge large area in my back garden that is made up of two sections. One was destroyed by recent plumbing works and the other was previously reserved for my dog to play in and mess up to his hearts content. He has grown up and is a lot less boisterous and better behaved (well, a BIT better behaved), so its time to change what was called “Dexter’s garden” from a dumping ground to a pretty garden. We’ve also cut the trees back drastically to allow more light into this area so things might actually grow here now.

This area is the lower corner of the L-shape that makes up my back garden (sort of out of sight unless you actually walk around there). I thought I’d share some “before” photos. As you can see it really is very unattractive and quite a mess. To add to the messy look of it all, the existing lawn was destroyed by the plumbing guys (unintentionally, but unavoidable with all the rubble that was removed). The ground is now completely compacted and I am preparing it properly before I plant up new grass.

This weekend I’ll be removing a lot of debris, adding compost, moving some of the plants I want to keep (the Clivias and Nandinas) and then I will be adding the same plants to the two curves at the front of this border which I already have at the other end. Once I’ve done all that I’ll have a clearer picture of how much space I still have to fill and will work out how many plants I need to buy to fill the area. It will take a while to get the area planted up as the plants I’m wanting to have in this area are not all available right now. I’m tired of planting things just to “not have bare patches”. This time it’s all about being patient and waiting for the right plants to be available.

Before Photographs

[one_half]BEFORE the plumbing (it wasn’t perfect)Before[/one_half]

[one_half_last]AFTER – the area ruined by plumbingthe Corner[/one_half_last]

[one_half]The lower “L” – This was “Dexter’s garden”Dexters garden[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Another “after the plumbing pic”After[/one_half_last]

Close ups of the compacted soil

On to the lawn … the lawn is a touchy subject with me right now because this will be the THIRD time it gets replanted. I will save the entire “lawn saga” for another post – but this time I am going to redo it by myself seeing as the previous attempts which were left to so called professionals have been unsuccessful. It seems that if you want something done properly, you need to do it yourself OR stand over the people who are supposed to do it and watch that they actually do it properly! (In that case, I might as well just do it myself!). The entire area is small. 15 m x 1.5 at the small curve and 2m at the wide curves (so +/- 30m²). “Dexters lawn area” is 2 x 4 m.

[one_half]Close up of compacted areaCompacted earth[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Another close upCompacted earth[/one_half_last]

Digging, composting, revitalising

And now here we are revitalising the soil. Digging to a depth of 30cm (as the books tell me to), adding and mixing it with lots of fresh compost, turning the soil etc. Here are some progress pics.

[one_third]Starting to dig & compostStarted revitalising[/one_third]

[one_third]Half way doneHalf way there[/one_third]

[one_third_last]Contrast between Old & NewOld and new[/one_third_last]

So that’s my weekend gardening plan. Once I’ve completed the prep work I’ll document what I did. I’m working from a book and doing exactly what they say …

What are you doing this weekend in your garden? Anything exciting?

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New grass patch

Hi Chris – today was the day! I fetched my grass sods from our friend, Kevin, who grows the most amazing indigenous grass. (Star Light Lawn) This grass is Cynodon – an indigenous grass, valued for its drought tolerance compared to most other lawn grasses. Also known as Bermuda grass, originally from the savannas of Africa. It grows in open areas where there are frequent disturbances such as grazing, flooding, and fire.

Although most of these species have remained in Africa, today Cynodon dactylon is found in warm climates all over the world between 45° south and 45° north latitude. It can be found growing in pastures and the understories of open woodlands and orchards. It is called bermuda grass in the United States because it was introduced from the Bermuda Island.

Bermuda grass is a creeping grass, and will creep along the ground and root where ever a node touches the ground, forming a dense mat. It also reproduces from roots under the ground. It has a deep root system, and in drought situations the root system can grow 47 to 59 inches (120-150 cm) deep. Most of the root mass lies 24 inches (60 cm) under the surface.

To contact Kevin for roll-on-lawn at Star Light Lawn, please phone 082 441 3696 / 021 572 0089 or email

Watch the video below to see how easy it was!