Lawn Care

Simple Lawn Care & Maintenance Tips

scenic english garden with lush green lawn
Written by Chris Lee

We have all done it. We are all guilty of it. We have all, at some point, judged another person’s garden by the quality of their lawn.

It might not be fair and we might not be proud of our judgement, but there’s no use denying it: a lawn can make or break a garden.

This all just goes to show how important a healthy-looking lawn is to any garden. Your flowers may be flourishing and your plants may be perfect but a dry yellow lawn can ruin the entire aesthetic.

What’s more, even the most accomplished and diligent gardener can run into lawn troubles. So with that in mind, we’ve put together some tricks and tips to transform your lawn from lacklustre to lush.

sunset view of a lawn with trees and hedging in the background
Is the grass always greener on the other side?

From sowing your grass seeds right the way through to maintaining the resultant green gold, this blog will tell you everything you need to know about how to care for your lawn and how to make sure that the grass on your side is always greener!

Starting from scratch

For those of you who don’t have a pre-existing lawn, or for those who have decided to scrap their old lawn and start all over again, we’ve put together a simple step by step guide for planting and growing beautiful grass.

Step 1 – Buy your grass seed

When it comes to grass seeds we recommend you go for the best quality seeds available. The most beautiful grass will usually grow from the best seeds so take time to do your research and choose the right grass seed for you.

If you have a shady garden then choose shade-tolerant grass, and if your lawn is going to have the benefit of sunlight then choose your grass seeds accordingly.

Step 2 – Prepare your seedbed

This step is essential and if done correctly will set you on the path to excellent germination and grass growth.

For this step, you need to determine what sort of soil you are working with. If your soil is of poor quality you may wish to add better quality soil on top.

Make sure you remove all weeds and unwanted plants.

You will then need to loosen and dig over the soil to a depth of around 20 t0 25cm whilst also taking care to remove rocks and sticks and any other debris you come across. You can also break up any clumps of soil whilst doing this.

Using a rake you can then level out the soil, making sure there are no dips where water may gather.

Step 3 – Sowing your seeds

The best time to sow grass seeds is from around mid-March to September. It needs to be at a time where temperatures are going to stay at 8 degrees or above otherwise germination will not occur.

close up of a women's hand spreading seeds
Sow from March to September

If you are opting to sow your seeds in hotter months, do make sure your soil is adequately watered so it doesn’t become too dry which will prevent growth.

Either by hand or with a seed spreader sow the seeds at the recommended amount according to the instructions on the seed bag you have purchased. The usual rate is about 50g per square metre.

The seeds should be between 5 and 10 millimetres below the surface.

Next, rake your seeds in so they are evenly distributed throughout the soil and then, using your foot or a roller, firm the soil down to encourage seed contact.

Caring for the seeds you have sowed

Once you have successfully sowed your grass seeds, it’s important you take good care of them to help them establish themselves.

You will need to deeply water your lawn on a daily basis for at least six weeks.

Once you have full coverage and the grass is around 5cm tall, you can start mowing it when necessary. 

To prevent weeds and keep it healthy we also recommend that you fertilise your lawn as per the instructions of your fertiliser.

Common lawn problems and solutions

Whether you have grown your lawn from scratch or if you already had your lawn established, there are some common problems that even the most talented gardener can run into.

Happily, most problems you will run into have simple solutions. The following examples should help you troubleshoot and fix any unsightly spots or uneven levels to keep your lawn happy and healthy.

Problem 1 – Worrisome weeds

Arguably one of the most common problems, weeds of all kinds absolutely love our lawns. 

One of the main reasons they take root is because the garden hasn’t been as well-tended as it ought to have been.

If you are finding your lawn is being inundated with weeds then the simple solution is to love your lawn more.

Keep an eye on rainfall, too. If you are going through a dry spell then make sure you are getting out there and watering. Lawns need about an inch of water a week and if you are watering it yourself do so in the morning when the temperature is cooler.

And to continue to keep those weeds and bay make sure you are mowing regularly. 

Problem 2 – Maddening moss

Moss on lawns really can be the bane of one’s existence. If you have a shady, over watered and under fertilised lawn then you are basically inviting moss in with open arms. 

To combat the maddening moss try to eliminate shade wherever possible by pruning or cutting back plants and trees.

Keep an eye on water levels, because overwatering is just as unhelpful as underwatering. If rainfall is providing that one inch of water each week then don’t get out there with your hose or sprinkler otherwise you will practically drown your lawn.

You can also check the pH levels once a year. If the soil is acidic you can add lime and for particularly alkaline soil you can add sulphur. 

Problem 3 – More shady issues

Most types of grass do not thrive in the shade and this can lead to uneven growth in the shady areas.

Again it may be prudent to cut back any plants or trees to allow as much light into your garden as possible.

If you are unable to eliminate the shade then look for a grass that can tolerate shade.

Problem 4 – Through with thinning

If your pH levels are off this can lead to your lawn thinning and even revealing large areas of soil. 

Check the pH level to determine whether the grass is too acidic or alkaline and then adjust accordingly.

You can then overseed which simply means to sow grass seeds into pre-existing established grass. This is an easy way to fill bare spots and get your garden looking gorgeous again.

Problem 5 – Sloppy slopes

Slopes are notoriously difficult when it comes to growing grass, but it is possible.

One of the most common problems is that the slopes can end up looking patchy and bare. The reason for this is because the grass hasn’t established itself deeply enough. 

To encourage deeper rooting for the grass make sure you have chosen the right grass for that area.

If it’s in a sunny spot don’t pick a grass that prefers shade and vice versa.

You can also help the grass by making the incline of the slope less steep. By adding steps or boulders and more soil you can soften the slope making it far easier for the grass to establish itself properly.

Problem 6 – The bald spot

Sadly, bald spots are not exclusively a human problem! Lawns can experience them too, but thankfully, the fix for lawns is a lot easier than for humans.

There are several reasons for bald spots to appear, one of the most common being that this part of your garden experiences more feet walking across it.

Whatever the reason you will want to take action, because those bald plants will encourage weeds which could then sabotage the rest of your garden.

Simply dig the bald spot out to a depth of around three inches and gently rake the area. Next, add some healthy topsoil and sow a fresh batch of seeds.

If foot traffic was responsible for the patch then try to avoid walking over the same patch of lawn every time.

Problem 7 – Don’t trust the rust

If you are noticing yellow or orange patches on your lawn this is known as rust.

Rust is diseased areas caused by fungal spores which leave behind a coloured powder. Though relatively easy to fix we recommend you act fast because rust will easily and quickly spread throughout the rest of your lawn.

To prevent rust we recommend that you fertilise regularly, aerate your lawn once a year, neither over-or-under water, and mow regularly.

Problem 8 – Fairy rings

Although they sound simply magical, these are actually rather irritating occurrences to the lawn proud gardener.

Also known as light rings, these appear where mushrooms have grown on your lawn. Simply dig them out as with the bald spots, plant a fresh batch of seeds, whack on some fertiliser, and before you know it you will have your healthy lawn back in order.

Problem 9 – Pesky pets

Dogs may be a man’s best friend but the garden lawn’s friend they are not.

Dog and cat urine unfortunately contains nitrogen and too much nitrogen can lead to unsightly brown patches.

For these patches treat the same way you would the bald patches and the fairy rings.

If you want to avoid this problem from continuing to happen, you may want to find a way to secure the perimeter of your lawn to prevent the pesky pets from using your beautiful lawn as a lavatory.

Problem 10 – Pesky pests

From pets to pests, animals really aren’t very respectful of gardens at the best of times and they have very little trouble making a mess of our lawns.

Moles are perhaps the gardeners biggest nemesis when it comes to grass. Digging their way around, moles leave those tell-tale mounds, completely ruining the carefully cultivated aesthetic of your garden.

Although they don’t actually harm the lawn their digging ultimately results in wilted, patchy, bald areas.

close up of a mole surrounded by earth
A malevolent mole

There are a number of ways to prevent or scare off moles, from natural remedies like planting daffodils to getting a professional in to help you.

However you deal with your mole problem, once they are gone, you can treat the patches the same way as with the fairy rings and the bald spots.

Don’t be forlorn about your lawn!

By now we hope you know everything you need to know about lawn care and lawn maintenance.

A beautiful lawn is the centrepiece to any garden and will be the envy of all your neighbours.

Remember that problems can occur often but most have simple and easy solutions. If you have to reseed or overseed it isn’t the end of the world – grass grows and it grows fast.

Keep an eye on the weather- not being mindful of this can lead to over and under-watering.

Be patient, it might take a bit of time to truly understand the needs of your lawn and everybody’s lawn is different. The soil and pH levels will be different and the use for the lawn itself may vary.

So, whether you are growing it for the kids to enjoy playing on or to just be enjoyed visually, all the tips we’ve included in this blog will make that not only possible but easy.

So get out there, get growing and prove once and for all that grass isn’t always greener on the other side!

About the author

Chris Lee

Chris is interested in nature and the good things that happen when people are in it. He is a freelance writer, with writing published about cycling, green living, and ways to make a difference without fundamentally restructuring your lifestyle.

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