How’s your lawn looking? Brown, patchy, long, filled with moss? Don’t worry, it can be sorted out in a weekend.
Spring or Autumn is the best time to sort out your lawn. In winter its too wet, and in summer it’s too dry.
If the grass is dry enough to walk on and the risk of frost has passed then the first job is scarifying. This scary word simply means taking the moss and thatch (that’s dead grass) out of the existing lawn so your grass can breathe and spread.
You can hire or buy an electric scarifier that will do the job quickly or use a manual push-action scarifier that’s harder work but still does the job well. At a push, you can use a rake – it’s certainly better than nothing.
You’ll be surprised how much thatch comes out even in a small space.
Pull any weeds if they escape the attention of your scarifying. It’s best to get all weeds up before they go to seed and multiply your problems. Bag up your waste for the tip or compost it.
One of the best things you can do after scarifying is taking the time to aerate the grass.
This is easily done by pushing the prongs of a garden fork into the soil at regular intervals. The prongs let in light, air, and moisture – all the good stuff your grass needs to grow and look healthy.
How to Fix Bare Patches
Winter takes its toll on the grass and scarifying will temporarily make the lawn look even worse. It’ll have thin patches, even naked areas. Don’t worry because this is a prime seed area.
Rake until the soil is crumbly and spread grass seed finely as per the instructions, a little goes a long way.
Cover with a thin layer of topsoil to hide the seed from birds and gently water it in. Grass seed will germinate within a few weeks. Keep watering if we’re in a hot spell.
Seed is the most cost-efficient way to cover bare patches, but if you want instant results use turf.
Turf is the top layer of lawn and you can buy it in rolls at a garden centre. Try to buy it in the morning so it hasn’t sat outside drying to a crisp all day.
Rake over the area to be turfed or remove a layer of damaged lawn with a spade.
Lay the turf into place, pressing it down firmly. Remember to flatten the edges, water well, and keep watering! The number one reason turf doesn’t take is because it’s not watered.
The rest of your lawn could do with a good feed now. There are lots of lawn feeds in the shops so just follow the instructions for a thick and luscious lawn next month.
How to Tidy Up Your Border Edges
Clip back overhanging grass. This will instantly create those clean lines we love to see.
If your border edges are collapsing, take a sharp spade and cut a few inches of border away. Then turn it around so the new crisp section creates the border’s edge. The rough back piece will quickly backfill.
What About Artificial Grass?
If your garden is in a real mess there’s always an artificial turf option.
Some people like to use this around children’s play areas or high traffic areas. It’s not the cheapest material on earth, but if you take care of it you’ll buy just once.
There are plenty of professionals who will do this job, but it can be done in a weekend if you want to have a go.
Measure up carefully in metres squared before buying artificial turf. An online calculator is a good way of ensuring you have enough material.
Then, use a turf cutter to remove the top layer of turf. If you’re working with a small space, the old fashioned way with a sharp spade works too.
Artificial grass that’s lying on soil needs a 35mm deep compacted sharp sand base.
Use a compacter to make sure the sand is hard enough before the grass goes down. Compactors are great for large areas but smaller sections can be pressed with boards.
On top of the compacted sharp sand goes weed membrane, and finally your artificial grass.
Leave it unrolled overnight to settle down so any wrinkles or creases lie flat – and you get a well-deserved rest!
Next up is joining the strips. Use good quality fibreglass backing tape with mastic adhesive. Place your tape on the compacted sand, apply the mastic, and push your grass down on top.
You’re almost there!
Trim off excess with a sharp craft knife so your grass lies flat against the fence, then
fix the edges to the ground. Use ground pins nailed in every 20cms to keep it wrinkle-free.
You can keep artificial grass looking good by brushing it regularly and making sure your BBQ doesn’t spill over as heat will damage the fibres.
Now take your shoes off and enjoy that luscious green lawn.