When you know what kind of soil you have, the choice of suitable grass types becomes a whole lot easier, because different grasses are better suited to certain soils than others.
Firstly, remove the existing ground cover, then perform a simple soil test. Just take a handful of soil, mix it with a small amount of water and then knead it to start making a ball with it in your hands. If the soil ball feels sticky, it probably has a high clay content. If it feels smooth and silky, it has a high silt content. If it feels gritty then the soil has a high sand content.
Next, squeeze some of the soil between your thumb and forefinger in a sausage shape. If it holds together quite well and is fairly long then this test confirms that you have soil has a high clay content. If it crumbles or you can't make a sausage shape at all, then you have either a loam or a sandy soil.
Starting from bare soil
If you're establishing a new lawn by planting grass seed in a housing estate or remodeling an existing lawn, it's quite likely that the area has been extensively stripped of topsoil. So you should improve the soil before seeding or laying turf. The best way to incorporate sand, organic matter and other nutritious soil amendments is to spread them over the surface and then rake or hoe them through the existing soil, to a depth of 15cm. Once completed, you can begin your lawn preparation by planting grass seed.
Ensure good drainage
A properly drained soil is a must for growing a healthy lawn. You might have to put in artificial drainage if you have heavy clay soil or if your land is sloping and prone to seepage from neighbours. To create a good drainage system simply excavate an area, fill it with rocks and then add topsoil. Speak with a landscaper if you require more detailed information.
For new lawns, now is the time to consider putting in an approved fixed modular sprinkling system, operated either automatically or manually. If you're happy to stick with a moveable watering system, be sure to have enough taps to provide easy sprinkler coverage over your entire lawn. However, please check your local water restrictions and regulations, and consider installing an approved rainwater system and tank to supply your irrigation systems.
Putting in mower-strips
Use bark chips, brick pavers, railway sleepers or split pine logs to clearly define where your garden ends and your lawn begins. It'll make lawn mowing much easier and far less messy too!