We have moved the pets (rabbits and guinea pig) around quite a bit, never fully liking where they were situated, but I’m happy to say we have finally given them a fixed position at long last! The area we have chosen is more sheltered and a quieter part of the garden.
Unfortunately, I didn’t see fit to take a complete before photo…
We had some spare slabs from a cheap assortment I picked up a while ago, so we laid them down in front of the hutches to avoid the soggy mulch of inevitable-falling sawdust. Now it can be swept up. Hooray!
If you’ve ever kept rabbits and guinea pigs, you’ll know what little grass munchers they are (particularly, Fred the guinea pig who is a very useful lawn mower and fertiliser!). The problem with moving the run all over the garden during the pleasant weather is that you end up stepping in said fertiliser constantly.
I wanted a designated pet area out of the way so the actual lawn was free from accidents waiting to happen! Unfortunately, the area I wanted to give them had the trampoline over it for years and was completely bare, hard, compacted soil… queue a call to my poor-suffering Dad. Oh, Daaaad!
Eventually, he could ignore my pleas no more and turned up on an autumnal Wednesday with his rotivator and other useful tools, and we got to work on preparing the ground and laying the turf. Well, I say ‘we’ very loosely, although I did carry some rolls of turf from the car, up the steps and across the garden and they were pretty heavy. I also kept my dad and husband supplied with tea while they worked, so I wasn’t completely useless. And of course, who would have taken the photographs if not me?
We decided on turf rather than grass seed as I wanted the lawn to establish as quickly as possible for the pets.
What I have learned about laying turf (by watching and asking annoying questions):
- Dig over the ground well. If it is very compacted like ours, you may need to borrow a rotivator or you can hire them out, I believe.
- Once dug over, make sure there is a little lip so the ground you will be laying the turf on is shallower than the surrounding grass by about an inch (depending on the thickness of your turf); you may need to dig some soil out.
- Next, thoroughly rake over the area, getting it as level as possible and removing any large stones
- Tamp down the soil you have raked with the end of the rake. There is probably a better tool for this, but it is very effective
- Roll out the turf, tamping down as you go. Lay it out in a brick pattern to avoid gapping. My dad used a board to walk over to firm it in place.
- Water it in. Keep watering each day if it is dry, until established.
- Wait for it to grow well before mowing the area
There are possibly parts we did wrong or missed but as my turf is growing well and is nice and even, I’m pretty sure “we” did an okay job.
Around the same time, I took delivery of my third and final compost bin which my husband kindly built up for me. I’m still learning about compost but I will share a future post on what I put in, along with the most effective systems. It’s definitely not a quick process, I have found, but one of those things where I feel it will be worth the wait.
I am absolutely chuffed with this little area at the back of the garden now and hopefully, Ginny, Luna and Fred are too!
The eagle-eyed among you may have noticed that we have three hutches… unfortunately, Ginny and Luna weren’t getting on well so we had to split them up as Ginny savaged Luna’s ear and I had to take her to the vets for alternative day appointments over two weeks! I was hoping to introduce them back together but Ginny (whilst lovely to us) is very hostile towards Luna, so we decided it wasn’t worth the risk. They are due to get spayed in the new year, so we shall have to see.