Lawn care tips
By Adelaide Gray
Read our advice on caring for your lawn throughout the year.
Jobs for the growing season
Mow your lawn
As long as the ground isn't wet or frozen, it's a good idea to cut growing grass, no matter how early in the year. It will keep your lawn looking tidy and avoids the grass getting long and difficult to cut. Don't leave grass cuttings lying on the lawn if it's too cold and damp, as they won't rot down. Collect the cuttings and add them to the compost heap, or put them in your green waste bin if your council provides one. We've found that adding a shovel of soil to the heap will help to stop composting grass clippings becoming slimy.
Once the growing season starts in earnest in March, mow your lawn once a week. Begin with the blades at the highest setting and gradually lower them over the coming weeks. If you use a mulching mower, it's fine to leave your clippings on the lawn to rot down. Most people give their lawn a last mow at the beginning of November.
For a perfect finish, trim the lawn's edges with long-handled shears or a grass trimmer.
Give the lawn a feed
While the grass is growing, give the lawn a feed. Do this four times during the growing season for lush grass that will crowd out weeds. If your lawn contains weeds or moss, treat these at the same time.
Spring and autumn lawn care jobs
Resow bare patches of lawn with grass seed
Lawns can look in a sorry state after the winter. Generally, though, as the weather warms up, the lawn will perk up and start to grow through any problems. Paths across the lawn and areas where children play, such as by goalposts, are particularly vulnerable to compaction. Any bare or thin patches of grass can be thickened by raking over the surface and then resowing with grass seed.
Aerate your lawn
If the soil surface is hard and compacted, it can impede drainage and prevent air getting to the grass roots. Twice a year, make holes with a garden fork every 20cm across your lawn to help water drain away.
Scarify your lawn
Lawn rakes, or scarifiers, rake through the turf, pulling out moss, thatch (dead grass) and other debris so they can be collected. You’ll be amazed how much material is removed and may be worried that the lawn looks awful immediately afterwards, but your grass will recover within weeks and be denser and healthier as a result. Applying an autumn lawn feed will help. You can give your lawn a gentle rake every couple of months during the growing season. Scarifying is a more rigorous job, so it's best to do it just once a year, in the spring or autumn.
Give your lawn a gentle rake every couple of months during the growing season
Tackle moss and weeds early
Once the weather has warmed up, the weeds and moss will start to grow as well as your grass. At this stage, weeds should be fairly small, so as soon as they have enough leaf growth try a spot weedkiller. Alternatively, apply a weed-and-feed treatment.
Mowing will keep the weeds down as well, and scarifying will help with the moss. Alternatively, try lawn sand or a combined lawn weed, feed and moss killer treatment in the autumn.
How to cut the perfect lawn
Cutting grass for a lawn that will be a beautiful centrepiece in your garden is easy to do.
Check the height of the blades
Most mowers can be easily adjusted. At the start of the season, set the blades high then gradually lower them over the weeks, until you reach the main cutting height of 2.5cm. Cutting lower than this can result in a lawn that is weakened and more susceptible to drought and other problems.
To get good stripes
If you’re after a striped finish then you’ll need a mower with a rear roller.
• Start by cutting around the edge of the lawn.
• Put the cable over your shoulder to keep it out of your way to avoid cutting through it accidentally. Always make sure it is connected to an RCD to prevent electrocution.
• Work from the left-hand side of the lawn, cutting up and down the length.
• A good tip is to slightly overlap the previous stripe each time.
• Empty the collection box regularly otherwise it may drop clumps of clippings on the lawn.
• Finally, cut the edges with lawn shears or a grass trimmer for a neat result.