What sort of lawn?
Very few of us are graced with flat manicured lawns
The reality is that we tend to have lumps and bumps and good bits and bad bits, weedy bits, bare bits and hopefully a nice bit to sit out on!
So what you need need to consider is not how awful it looks, but how good you want it to look (and whether you have the time and effort) to achieve that look.
Lawns come in various categories:
So darn good, with perfect manicured mows and not a weed in sight!
These lawns look lovely, but you can’t usually walk on them, the grass seed used is very fine (and therefore damaged easily). The ground has been watered, rolled and mown for years, but with no one walking on it – it looks stunning. Oh and some person regularly swishes off wormcasts so they don’t affect grass growth too. A lot of time and effort. So you could have one for the front garden, but not for the back garden.
Green stripy lawns that aren’t quite so perfect close up
This more closely resembles what we have in our back gardens, a few weeds, but they are controlled via regular mowing, and the grass looks OK. It probably has an annual weed kill and feed and a good rake through in Autumn to keep it looking this nice.
A neat lawn with bare patches
If you have kids or deep shade, this is probably yours, you accept that it doesn’t look fab, but the effort of repairing is not worth it, you’d prefer to wait for the kids to grow up and football to finish before you aspire to lovely lawn, but you do keep it mown and the edges trimmed.
I use the term loosely, but these are the ones that are shaggy, scraggy, and look unloved. But before you all roll your eyes, these are the ones that are best for wildlife!
However if you would like your lawn to look nicer, but don’t want to spend lots of money on new turf there are things you can do to improve it’s overall appearance.
Regular cutting helps grass grow over weeds; grass grows from the base upwards (unlike most plants), so if you keep chopping the top, the bottom grows better as more light gets down to the base. But don’t cut too short, better a green 2″ high grass than a patchy browny/green 1″ lawn.
Cut back (as much as possible) or use plant supports to stop stuff flopping all over the grass.
If you don’t fancy mowing the grass, or it’s too wet to mow, you can still trim the edges and neaten the boundaries. You’d be amazed at how much neater it all looks, even if the grass is a little long!
Give the lawn a good grass rake in the Autumn and pick up the dead leaves. Then (it really does help) spike the lawn to aerate it, hard work I know but worthwhile and then try to keep off it as much as possible till the Spring
Re-seed tired looking areas, and add a little lawn fertiliser/weedkiller, and once the grass starts growing start mowing!
Lawns that are not flat are a real pain to mow, the grass on the bumps gets shawn to the ground but the hollows have lusher longer grass growing in that you can’t mow easily. The result is a polka dot effect on your nice green patch. If the bumps and lumps annoy you and you want to get rid of them, here’s what you do.
Bumps – Cut into the bumpy turf a large ‘X’, then peel the turf back to reveal the soil underneath. Then remove the soil to flatten the bump, and fold the grass back onto it. To secure, place a piece of mesh (chicken wire or fence netting) over the area and secure firmly with pegs (tent pegs or equivalent). This will keep the turf in contact with the soil until it re-roots. Water it regularly until the grass is held back down by the roots.
Hollows – The process is exactly the same, but you add soil to the hollow. Add topsoil not compost, then firm well down and add a little more. By the time you have covered the grass back over and secured it as before, you should have a small bump. This bump will settle down over time and hopefully leave a nice flat lawn.