My lawn is mostly dead. What can I do?

The first question to answer is do I want a lawn? If the answer is no, there are options of other surfacing materials such as gravel, pavers or a mulch. It could also be planted to lawn alternatives such as Myoporum pavifolium creeping boobialla and or low shrubs and different ground covers. Plants like Grevillea spp .spider flowers and Eremophila spp. emu bushes are great at attracting birds to any garden and will make an area come alive. Repeating plants that have done well elsewhere in the garden can also work to connect newly planted areas to existing garden. It is well worth the time to do a simple plan for any new area and taking notice of gardens in the district to see what is working elsewhere. Asking plenty of questions with regard to plant choices will ensure good selections are made with regard to water use and other requirements the plant may have.

If you have decided a lawn is the way to go, especially for play areas for young children you may have thought a watering can is all there was. After speaking to SA Water I have been assured that yes, it is fine to water a lawn with drippers (watering according to current restrictions of course). Above ground drippers are not really practical but underground drippers are build for the purpose. The dripper line is relatively cheap and quite easy to install in a shallow trench. Much of the existing irrigation infrastructure can be used to make the job quicker.

However the greatest consideration with lawns is trees and large shrubs up to fifteen to twenty metres away from the lawn that have developed root systems to use water that has been applied to the lawn. Many of these trees and shrubs will be suffering now with water restrictions (depending on their origins and health) and will benefit from either garden being developed and watered with drippers in place of a lawn or lawn watered with underground drippers.

Either way, it has to look better than brown or dead lawn coming up to summer!

This article first published in the Riverland Weekly © October 9, 2008.