We all love al fresco fun right? When the sun is shining, the BBQ is smoking away and the beer is flowing. Having a party in your back garden is almost impossible to avoid in the summer months, being surrounded by your mates and their kids, everyone enjoying the food, drink and weather. But one part of the picture will not be having so much fun. We’re talking about your poor lawn.
Trampled underfoot, soaked in food and beer spillages, torn up by the kids, even dug up by over excited dogs. And if you erect a gazebo expect even more damage. Instead of lighting the barbie and opening the kegs straight away (and being left with your once verdant lawn looking more like the Gobi desert), follow some of our tips to preparing in advance. Don’t worry- we’ll let you know how to give the lawn some TLC after the carnage has been cleared away as well!
Make Sure Your Grass Is Good to Start With
Most battles are won before the first shot is even fired (to paraphrase Sun Tzu), so it’s worth laying the groundwork – literally – for a healthy-looking post-party lawn. You’ll want to make sure your lawn is healthy to start with – and if it needs sprucing up then make sure you start work on it three weeks before your intended festivities. This may mean a layer of sandy soil across the top and some fertilizer – but don’t block out the sunlight to the grass altogether – this will prevent it growing in time. If need be, a couple of rolls of turf won’t break the bank and will have time to settle in.
Keep your lawn freshly mown, weeded and fertilised, especially in the week preceding the party. Water deeply and aerate as you would (or should!) be doing during the summer months anyway. Deeper watering means healthier roots which in turn means that your lawn will return to its former glory even after the wildest party. It will do you a favour to look ahead at some potential problem areas which can be addressed before (and therefore quickly righted after the event). You know your guests – estimate the damage and where the heaviest footfall may be. You might want to consider reseeding appropriately for your climate – especially the parts of your lawn which are prone to thinning or bald spots when the temperature rises. You’d ideally want to pick turf that can tolerate heavier foot traffic, such as Kentucky Bluegrass. This is not only good for the upcoming festivities, but also for the colder months that will follow.
The Big Day!
Don’t mow your lawn on the day or the day before the party – the grass will give a little extra cushioning to your soil. It’s inadvisable to water on the morning of the party or the night before as this could lead to a muddy disaster – damaging for both your lawn and potentially your carpets back inside. The ideal time to mow for the big day is 2-3 days beforehand, depending on the climate where you live. Clean the garden furniture and clear away any grass clippings and other debris to get any green-fingered guests envious!
If you have the space, spread the party across the garden to try to minimise footfall (and drink spillage) in a concentrated area. Spread out lawn furniture and get creative with it – and have a designated area if you get the BBQ out. Spreading everyone out a bit also encourages mingling which always adds to a great party! And speaking of the BBQ – this really shouldn’t be on the lawn at all. If you have a patio, ideal, if not some stepping stones from a path could make a good place. Remember, the food zone will get a lot of foot traffic, so perhaps have a separate area for the cooking and the pickup.
Kids and Pets
Let’s talk pets first of all. If you own one, or several, then make sure to clean up their waste as soon as possible, especially on the days leading up to the event. If visitors bring their dogs along (which does add to the fun) likewise keep the garden clean. If you have over excitable hounds leaping around or digging up your precious turf it might be a good idea to enlist some volunteers to take them for a short but vigorous walk to wear them out a bit. Put down blankets to encourage them to lie down and relax with the rest of you. Kids get wild and feral at garden parties too. You want them to have fun, sure, but it might be worth laying down some ground rules before the party starts. They can be prone to digging too!
Once the guests have all gone home it’s time for that TLC we spoke about earlier. First, pick up any rubbish and empties, and straighten everything out. Then, you need to give your lawn some time to recover. If you’ve been lucky and just suffered some cosmetic damage (flattened grass etc) but the soil looks all good it probably just needs a bit of a rake, and then back to the regimen of watering and aerating your turf. There are some products on the market to help encourage regrowth if you do encounter bald spots, and it may be worth blocking off some areas as they regenerate.
We hope you have a great time this summer and fit as many parties in your backyard as you can. Likewise, it’s nice to have a lush, spruced lawn to look at (and walk on) so follow some of these steps for the best possible results. Cheers!