Top summer lawncare tips revealedHow to keep your lawn looking good during the holidays

29 July 2011

Grass trimmer

We find the best strimmers for lawn edges or long grass

The recent warm, wet weather we’ve had can make the grass in your lawn grow very quickly. This, combined with damage from increased use by you and your pets, means keeping your lawn looking good in the summer can be a bit of a battle.

Here are our top tips for keeping your lawn looking good during the summer holidays:

1. Mowing

Mowing regularly is the best way of keeping your grass looking healthy, neat and tidy.

Lawn mowing

This year we tested 51 lawnmowers to find our most recent Best Buys. We put lawnmowers through our rigorous trials every year to find out which are the best value for money, as well as which ones not to buy. If you’re thinking of buying a new lawnmower, make sure you read our lawnmower review first.

Mowing tip: If you usually mow in one direction, try occasionally mowing at right angles to catch all the grass stalks that are flattened but not cut. Raking lightly with a spring-tine rake before you mow will also lift them ready to be cut.

2. Weeding

Weeds can start to make the lawn look untidy, big rosette weeds such as dandelions can easily be dug out with a trowel or weed puller. We’ve tested the Fiskars Weed Puller and found it satisfyingly easy to use and makes light work of the job even where dandelions are a particular problem.

Grass seed

3. Cover bare patches with grass seed

Grass seed won’t grow on the surface of compacted soil. For best and quickest results:

  • ‘Fluff-up’ the bare patch with a hand fork before putting seed down.
  • Scatter grass seed over the patch evenly.
  • For speedier results it’s a good idea to put a dusting of compost over the top.
  • Water the patch every day until it’s established.

4. Edging

Keeping the edges tidy will improve a lawn's appearance no end. To do this you can either use edging shears, or whizz round with a grass trimmer. We recently tested 32 grass trimmers, read our review on grass trimmers to find out which were our Best Buys.

5. Gradual mowing after a holiday

If the grass grows long while you're on holiday, don't try to cut off too much in one go. Long grass usually goes brown at the base and only the tips are green. Mowing it too short all in one go exposes these unattractive rough, brown stems. Also, the mower can end up pulling clumps of grass out of the ground by the roots, leaving bare patches.

The best thing to do is to set the mower to its highest setting to start with, then reduce it gradually over a couple of weeks. Find out what lawnmowers coped best with long grass in our lawnmower review.

Ant Hill

6. Control ants

Ants can cause a nuisance by making their nests in lawns and unearthing big patches of grass. Controls such as ant powder, liquid ant killer and nematodes are suitable for use on lawns and can help. Find out more by reading our free factsheet on ants.

If you have any soil excavations in your lawn from ants, level it off with a spade and throw a handful of grass seed on it to fill the gap.

7. Watering

Watering can

This isn’t likely to be a problem at the moment, but in case there’s a hot, dry spell later in the summer, your lawn may go a bit yellow in patches. Our advice is not to bother with watering it as it will soon recover in the autumn. 

Watering tip: The most economical way of watering your garden is in the evening when the ground has cooled, which means less water is wasted in evaporation. 

With the cost of living going up, you may prefer to cut back on the amount of water you use in the garden. Read our free guide, 'how to use less water', to find out more about reducing your water usage.