Lawn care tips – expert advice for healthy grass and improved garden turf

We reveal how to keep your lawn looking its best all year round
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  • Keeping your lawn looking healthy and green takes consistent care and a whole lot of patience. If yours is looking a little worse for wear after winter, don’t worry. Because we’ve got all the top lawn care tips you could need to bring it back to life.

    Gardening experts at Flymo and Sycamore Lawn Care have shared their lawn care knowledge to help you get your grass looking rich and bouncy in no time. The warmer weather and longer days have certainly inspired us to give our gardens a spring refresh with some attractive new lawn ideas.

    Lawn care tips – to improve garden turf

    However, before we make any changes or head off to the garden centre for inspiration, the first step has got to be giving the lawn some TLC. It’s the centrepiece of most family gardens – after that, everything else will fall into place.

    1. Fertilise your grass with lawn clippings

    The experts at Flymo say that leaving your grass clippings on the lawn provides a great natural fertiliser for your lawn. This is known as ‘grasscycling’ and gives your lawn extra nutrients.

    ‘It does not create thatch like some people believe,’ says Flymo. ‘Some lawnmowers have a mulching mode that does this for you, making them ideal for leaving your grass clippings on the lawn.’

    Alternatively, if you cut the grass often without the grass box attached, you can leave short clippings on the lawn.

    lawn in back garden with large parasol

    Image credit: Future Publishing Ltd / Colin Poole

    2. Pave the way with stepping stones

    Chances are there are a couple of areas of lawn you walk on far more than the rest, and these pathways can soon start looking tired. Consider laying stepping stones to protect the areas you walk on all the time.

    Pave the way to your decking, washing line, or summer house to prevent worn patches from developing on your lawn. It also makes your garden design look more intentional and enchanting.

    back garden with stepping stones leading to garden room

    Image credit: Future Publishing Ltd / Colin Poole

    3. Adjust the cutting height with care

    If you’ve left the garden to do its thing over the winter months and your lawn’s looking a little unkempt, fear not. You can gradually decrease the cutting height on your best lawnmower over the weeks each time to reach your desired grass length.

    Cutting the grass too short too quickly is known as ‘scalping’ and this can result in disease and weed infestation. It can also stress the grass, so avoid cutting off more than a third of the blade in one go.

    ‘Cut grass with the lawnmower blades set high for the first few times, then use a good lawn feed to help your lawn look its best,’ advises Marcus Eyles, Horticultural Director at Dobbies. Then you can learn how to get stripes in your lawn for the ultimate fancy country garden look.

    4. Get rid of leaves, weeds and moss

    garden lawn with paved seating area with grey furniture and a pizza oven

    Image credit: Future Publishing Ltd / Polly Eltes

    Removing debris, moss, and dead ‘thatch’ from your lawn is an important job. For a smallish lawn, use a spring-tine rake and a bit of physical effort.

    For larger areas, consider hiring a scarifier with a motor, which will pull all the moss and dead stuff out of the lawn, allowing light and air to get in. The debris will still have to be raked up and removed.

    Clear leaves with a rake as soon as they fall so they don’t rot and damage the grass. Banish weeds either by hand, using a traditional daisy grubber, or a chemical treatment.

    Chemicals are less effort but make sure you follow the instructions to the letter to avoid over-treating and unnecessary damage. Use a spring-tine rake to remove moss (called scarifying).

    It’s hard work but it stops the moss from smothering the grass, giving it a chance to grow. Only scarify in spring, otherwise, you can cause lasting damage.

    5. Spruce up your lawn edges

    lawn care tips

    Image credit: Amateur Gardening

    Garden edging ideas make all the difference to the overall look of your plot. Keep the borders of your lawn neat by using a half-moon edger a couple of times a year.

    This tool will define the line between flower beds and lawn, and make your whole garden look tidier instantly.

    6. Improve drainage

    garden with freshly mowed lawn

    image credit: Claire Lloyd Davies

    Where lawns have become very compacted and are not draining well, use a lawn aerator; a straightforward tool that has hollow prongs you push into the lawn like a fork. This will remove small plugs of soil which can then have lawn sand brushed into them. This will help the lawn to drain faster.

    Alternatively, you can use a garden fork. Push it into the lawn and wiggle it around to break the soil and reduce the compaction. If you have a wet, soggy lawn, plunge a fork into the ground all over your patch (called aerating). Go as deep as possible every 30cm or so, and it will help with drainage and encourage grass root growth for generally healthier grass.

    For lawns to look truly spectacular, the soil needs to allow water, air and nutrients to move quickly down into the root layer, says David Truby from Greensleves. The soil particles that the earth beneath your lawn is composed of will compress together over time, which can stop grass from growing and lead to poor drainage or even waterlogging.

    7. Repair patchy grass areas

    lawn care tips

    Image credit: Amateur Gardening

    Get rid of bald patches by sowing new grass seed. Rake up the earth until it’s crumbly, then sow seed according to packet instructions. Water the area well and don’t walk on it for several weeks.

    ‘Sow new lawns or repair bare patches from April if the weather allows, on ground that has been pre-prepared, levelled and firmed,’ Marcus advises. ‘If you are laying new turf, leave undisturbed for a few weeks to allow time for new roots to establish.’

    8. Top dress your turf

    Brush top-dressing over the lawn surface to get rid of lumps and bumps once in the spring and once in autumn. Top-dressing is a mix of soil, sand and well-rotted compost, but you can also buy pre-mixed bags.

    Apply two lots, allowing a few days between each to let the mixture settle into any holes and dips. This will also encourage grass to thicken and put down more roots.

    9. Give the grass a feed

    lawn care tips

    Image credit: Amateur Gardening

    Lawn feeds encourage grass to ‘green up’ and look healthy. Once you start feeding lawns they become dependent on it, so it’s important you don’t stop. Start in spring and get into a weekly routine during the main growing season but don’t over-feed as this can cause scorching.

    ‘If you want to promote wildlife in your garden avoid using weed killers on the lawn and allow clovers, bugle, and tiny trefoils to populate the lawn, all of which give bees something to feed on,’ says Craig Roman from Dobbies.

    What’s the best way to treat your lawn?

    Invest in seasonal lawn treatments, and regular scarification and aeration. Calum Maddock, gardening expert at Homehow says if you want your lawn to remain perfect, you can’t just leave it and hope for the best. It needs to be fed and taken care of, which means applying lawn treatment regularly.

    Some treatments are designed for simply feeding the lawn and helping it to grow stronger and thicker, while others are designed to kill weeds or moss. ‘The best way to treat your lawn is to think carefully about the results that you want to achieve and then buy a lawn treatment that suits those purposes.

    ‘Natural lawn treatments are always the best option as these are not toxic and are much better for the environment,’ says Calum.

    How do I get my grass really green?

    Regular fertiliser treatments will help you to achieve a deep green tone, says Zach Osta from Sycamore Lawn Care. He also warns against cutting the grass too short, particularly in spring. Grass grows thicker and stronger in the summer so it’s important to give the lawn time to thicken up before giving it a haircut.

    lawn care tips

    Image credit: David Giles 

    How do I keep my lawn healthy?

    To keep a lawn healthy there are a few simple rules to follow:

    • Stay off your lawn until you can walk across it without leaving footprints/sinking
    • Water it through the summer months
    • Remove debris from lawn
    • Use a lawn aerator to help lawns drain
    • Feed and seed bare patches of grass
    • Avoid weed killers if you want to attract wildlife to your garden

    If you’d prefer not to have the real deal, look into whether artificial grass would be a good solution for your outdoor space.

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