How to get a new lawn Renovating a lawn

If you've inherited a lawn that is rough and weedy or your lawn is looking tired after a summer of hard use, follow our five simple steps and you’ll soon have a carpet-like lawn to be proud of.

Remove weeds and moss

Apply a weed, feed and mosskiller - it may take up to two weeks for them to take effect.

Raking or scarify to get rid of moss

A thin layer of dead grass or ‘thatch’ can help to conserve moisture in summer, but too much can impair drainage over winter and prevent the grass roots from breathing. Autumn is a good time to rake out (or scarify) thatch and moss without damaging the grass. Give the lawn a mow at a low cutting height first, to remove as much plant material as possible. 

Aerate your lawn to improve drainage

Spear and Jackson Select Stainless Steel digging fork

Use a good garden fork to aerate your lawn

If the soil surface under your lawn is hard and compacted, it can impede drainage and prevent air getting to the grass roots. Making holes with a garden fork every 20cm or so will help. You could also use a hollow tine aerator, which removes cores of soil and opens up the lawn. 

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Thicken up the turf

If your lawn looks sparse, thicken it up by overseeding (scattering grass seed over the affected areas). Use a general-purpose ryegrass or a fine ornamental grass seed mix to match the existing grass. If you haven’t already raked or aerated the lawn, prick the surface. Use a stiff broom to work the seed into the turf. If rain isn’t forecast, you’ll need to water the area regularly. Use netting or scarers to keep birds off until the seed comes up.

Topdress to improve the soil

Topdressing will help improve the soil structure in the long term. 

Spreading a mixture of soil, garden compost and sand (topdressing) onto the lawn helps to improve the soil structure. The topdressing can also be used to fill in hollows and achieve an even surface. Work it into the hollow patches with a broom or a plank turned on its side. You can buy ready-made topdressing, but it’s cheaper to make your own:

  • Mix together six parts sharp sand, three parts sieved garden soil and one part sieved garden compost. 
  • Spread it at a rate of 1kg per sq m, or up to 3.5kg per sq m after hollow tining. 
  • Work in the topdressing using a stiff broom.

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