Back Lawns are the hub of outdoor family social interaction in Australia. Many become a mini sporting arena with full scale test matches and convert to the Football ground during winter. The things that you can do with your lawn are many including a soft fall area around the new swing set that you mysteriously find erected on Christmas morning. A cricket pitch, soccer goal area, golf putting green, golf Chip and Putt area and a long cool rest area to lay on are some of the summer holiday ideas for your backyard oasis.
“How do I go about it” I can hear you asking. Our resident sportsturf expert has given us the following ideas for converting the normal lawn into your local MCG.
To make a cricket pitch Set your mower right down low and cut back the lush lawn in a straight line down both sides to mark the outline of the new pitch. Then mow the internal area between the two strips. A metre to one and a half metres wide is adequate for the backyard pitch. Make it as long as you like but a five-metre length is plenty for a backyard Test Match. For the record a Cricket pitch is 22 yards long, which is 20 metres. A Test wicket is ten feet wide in the old measurement. If you really want to get a pro look use a string line for the edges and mow within the lines. Don’t mow over the stringline with a rotary mower as you will suck it up and wrap it around the mower blade spindle.
If you want to go the whole hog mark a Batting crease by using a can of Line marking white paint. Don’t use an oil-based paint, as it will kill the grass. Place a piece of timber that is the width of the pitch along the edge of where you want the crease line to be and use it as a guide to get a straight edge with the spray.
If your family team wants to use the pitch everyday it will wear out in the batting area so you may want to move the stumps and widen the pitch by cutting out further on one side as the summer progresses. This will spread the wear and the lawn will recover faster.
Couch and Kikuyu lawns will tolerate extremely close mowing so don’t be afraid to give the pitch area a very close cut.
Golf enthusiasts with a couch lawn can create a Golf Putting green by first mowing down the area to the green shape they desire and then topdressing the area with a few millimeters of sand to get a smooth surface. Once the sand is no longer visible keep mowing the new green as short as possible without scalping the grass. If you still have high spots that scalp apply another thin layer of sand and level it out. Golf Cups and flags and practice pins can be purchased from various Golf Supply companies and they add a highlight to any backyard. Kids love them as they give an authentic feel to the backyard Golf game. Your putting stroke will definitely improve and your backyard will look like Augusta without the Azaleas.