Secrets to the Perfect Lawn: Care Tips for Beginners

Last update: 7 months ago

Lawn care
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Your lawn is a crucial part of the beautiful landscape of your outdoor space. That’s why you have to do your best in caring for your lawn. Achieving a lush and healthy lawn is more straightforward than it may seem, even if you are a beginner. Several lawn care aspects must be considered for maintaining a beautiful and green lawn.

This comprehensive guide will provide you with essential lawn care tips, covering everything from feeding and weeding to mowing and moss removal.

Pay attention to types of soil and grass seeds when planting

If you start from scratch, one of the first things to consider is grass seeding. So, we will outline the essential steps, such as preparing the soil and planting subsequently.

How to prepare the soil for the grass seeds

  • Test the soil’s PH level: For the most satisfactory results, you need to know the Ph level of your soil. The optimal level is 6.5-7. However, if necessary, you can use different organic solutions to amend the soil. Limestone or wood ash are perfect solutions for acidic soils( below 6.5 Ph). On the other hand, alkaline soil can be neutralised with the help of compost, aluminium sulphate or sulphur.
  • Clear the clutter: Remove weeds, fallen branches, stones or other debris.
  • Level the area: Use a lawn roller to make the soil flat and firm.
  • Leave the soil to settle: Don’t start sowing grass seeds right after the preparation. You can leave the soil to set for at least a week.

Get to know your grass

If you already have grass you need to identify it and get familiar with it’s specific needs. If you choose seeding new grass you have to be aware of the best grass types for your region.Otherwise, you may not get the expected result in the future and maintenance could prove difficult.

For example, some types of grass need more water than others, or you might have to mow it more frequently. Every grass type differs in colour, appearance, growth rate and heat tolerance. There are warm-season grasses and cold-season ones. The most common types of grass in the UK are:

  • Annual meadowgrass – Known as a weed grass, needs water frequently, not resilient in the cold;
  • Perennial ryegrass – Quick growth, resistant, needs regular mowing;
  • Slender creeping red fescue – Blades look like a needle and can creep around; grows slowly; doesn’t require frequent watering;
  • Kentucky Bluegrass – strong blades, endures during cold weather; thrives in more light areas; needs water more frequently.

Plant grass seed

  • Sowing the seeds: Sowing the grass seeds properly is essential, or you may end up with patchy areas. So, you have to sow the seeds evenly, spreading them approximately 50g per square metre. You can either use a spreader or do it with your hands.
  • Top the grass seeds with soil: Seeds need good contact with the soil. For that reason, you have to roll and rake the soil, which will help grass seeds germinate well and ensure they grow roots in the soil.
Read further about: When to Sow Grass Seed

Water your grass to the right amount

Whether you have freshly planted grass seeds or a full-grown lawn, watering is the key to the perfect and healthy-looking lawn. So how to do it accordingly?

How often to water the grass?

There are few factors to consider when watering your lawn, such as type of grass, climate and soil type.

The first two weeks after planting the seeds are critical because this is the period when they need moisture, light and warmth to germinate. You must ensure good watering at least twice a day during this period.

After the seeds germinate, you can reduce the time to 2 to 3 times per week. Of course, after heavy rainfalls, you can skip the watering. We recommend installing a sprinkler system which can ensure the proper watering.

What is the best time to water the lawn?

The ideal time to water grass is early in the morning or late in the evening. It is essential, especially during hot days, because the temperatures are perfect, and it’s less likely for the water to evaporate before moisturising the soil well.

Feed the lawn periodically to promote growth

There are two things to consider when fertilising your lawn. Firstly, you must feed your lawn a few days after watering it and leave the soil completely dry to avoid burning the grass.

Furthermore, take into account applying fertiliser right after you mow your lawn. It will give the product time to absorb well into the soil before the next mowing session. So when is the perfect time to fertilise your lawn throughout the year?

  • Spring feeding: Arrange your lawn feeding around late April or early May. You can use a product that controls moss and weed. Usually, you can apply a fertiliser after you have started to mow the grass every 7-10 days.
  • Summer feeding: Subsequent treatment can occur 10 to 14 weeks after the spring one. During this time of the year, the days are mainly hot and dry, so irrigate the lawn to allow the fertiliser to start working.
  • Autumn feeding: Your autumn session can occur between September and October when heavier rainfalls have already started, and the soil is well moisturised.
  • Winter feeding: in early winter, you can apply fertiliser rich in iron and potassium and have less nitrogen.
Learn more about: When to Feed a Lawn?

Change mowing frequency with seasons

During the period from March to October, grass needs good care weekly or fortnightly as it overgrows quickly. Mild spells in winter can also be suitable for an occasional mowing session.

It’s important to mow your lawn when the grass is dry, usually in the early evening. Once your lawn grows 5 cm from the last mowing, it’s time to take out the mower for the next round.

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Edging creates a well-maintained look

When you are done with the mowing, it’s time to edge the lawn. If you are not edging along sidewalks and planting new flower beds, you can plan the path with rope, hose or tape.

This way, you can easily mark your edging cuts. Use an edger of your choice, such as a string trimmer or other manual edger. You can also do it by hand using a shovel. Before edging the perimeter, keep an eye on any hazards like pipes or electrical wires.

Now it’s time to cut the desired area. Go for at least 10 cm deep, making the maintenance easier. Finally, remove the cut piece of turf and clear the area.

It’s good to repair patchy lawn spots

The best-known way to repair patchy spots on your lawn is to sow new grass seeds in the affected area. Another way to fix the lawn is to cut a piece of healthy turf from another inconspicuous area and place it on the patched one.

Aerate your lawn to enrich its soil

Lawn aeration is the process of making holes to let air, nutrients and water easily penetrate the soil. Sturdy soil is dense and vital nutrients cannot always reach the deeper layers. A well-aerated lawn will boost the growth of the root system and stimulate microbes to decay thatch.

So, how to identify if your lawn needs to be aerated? In most cases, when your lawn looks spongy, or the grass dries quickly, it’s time to aerate. Also, if you treat your lawn frequently, compacted areas will likely form. That’s another indication that aeration is necessary.

You can use different methods to aerate your lawn. One does it manually using a core aerator, spike aerator or a fork. Another way to do it is by using a motorised lawn aerator machine. Either method will decompose the built-up thatched and open holes to help air, fertilisers and water to reach the roots.

Tip: Warm-season grasses should be aerated in spring, while cold-season ones need aeration in autumn.

Scarify to eliminate thatch

Scarifying is a vital maintenance method to remove moss or dead organic material from the base of your lawn, known as thatch. Scarification can be done once or twice a year, and as this method stresses the grass, should be executed while the lawn is healthy and growing well.

The first light scarification session can occur around April. Late August to early September is another perfect time to scarify your lawn.

Most people prefer a rake perfect for small lawns, but a scarification machine will work best for larger ones. You can always hire from the nearest garden machine shop if you don’t own such or hire a professional to do it for you

Stay on top of weeds and pests

Good lawn care requires some weed and pest control. Let’s look at them separately…

Weed control

Weeds are as bad as pests for your lawn as they compete with the grass and other plants for water, nutrients, light and space. They also provide perfect hiding spots for unwanted guests like rodents, snails or snakes.

Another reason to control weeds is that they can create infertile areas around their roots, and other plants and grass won’t have the chance to grow. Most weed killers are effective against the common UK weeds but could still potentially harm your plants or lawn if used incorrectly.

So, if you want to play it safe, we advise manually removing weeds. Using eco-friendly weed control techniques is also an option. Some of the well-known non-chemical methods are:

  • Hand-weeding with a fork;
  • Use of weeding tools such as weed knife;
  • Dead-heading: cutting off the heads of the weeds will reduce the chance of reseeding;
  • Organic mulch: this will help keep the soil around plants moist and cool, depriving weeds of light.

Pest control

Unwelcome intruders can destroy the results of all your hard lawn care work . The most common garden pests are aphids, rodents, snails, snakes, moles, etc. They use your garden to hide, build nests and search for food and water sources. Some of them will even use the garden as an entry point to your house. The most critical step to control pests is prevention. So, we outline the most common prevention methods against pests:

  • Declutter: Remove all unnecessary clutter left in your backyard, such as fallen branches, leaves, untrimmed hedges. This will deprive the pests of a convenient place to hide.
  • Attract beneficial insects: They can act as natural pest predators. You can plant flowers such as coriander, sunflowers, and calendula that attract insects to reach shelter, nectar and pollen.
  • Repel pests: Use strong-scented greenery that prevents pests from entering your garden. For example, chives and thyme can work best against unwelcome guests.
  • Protect your lawn from moles: Moles are among the worst enemies to your green and lush lawn. They make tunnels and molehills, destroying the lawn’s pleasing appearance. They are attracted to grubs, so removing them will minimise the chance of a mole appearing. Add castor-oil-based repellent into the soil, and the mole will run away quickly due to the unpleasant scent.

Takeaways

  • Get to know the grass type: if you are new, it’s vital to understand what type of grass you’re dealing with or want to take care of.
  • Prepare the soil for future success and easier maintenance;
  • Water regularly, but change frequency depending on the weather
  • Give the grass the appropriate nutrients;
  • Mow the grass once a week during warmer days;
  • Don’t forget to aerate and scarify the lawn at least once a year;
  • Weed and pest control should be an integral part of your list with lawn care tasks.
Need help maintaining your lawn? Find out more about all lawn mainteance services we offer, including mowing, lawn aeration, scarification, top-dressing and more.

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