A good lawn is a joy to behold. It is the perfect foil for your house; it looks lovely and it serves many useful purposes: children can play on it; it’s a great place to let the dog out late at night; you can sit out on it on long summer days; invite the neighbours over for a barbecue (here is my selection of the best charcoal and gas BBQs) – a nice lawn is so much more than just a patch of grass. I once spent a year in Australia in a dry, dusty area where water was at a premium, and a good, green lawn was almost a status symbol!
How To Make Your Grass Greener And Thicker
If your lawn is looking a bit patchy then you might want to know how to make your grass greener and thicker – read on for the best tips I have found.
Check your lawn mower
You should always cut grass with a sharp blade, as a dull one will split your grass stems, making them not only unsightly but also more vulnerable to disease and less able to grow to a uniform length.
Mow at the right height
It’s no good mowing with the blade so low that it churns up the soil and destroys the roots, nor is it any good to keep the blade so high that your lawn looks like a jungle. In the summer you should allow your grass to get a little bit taller, and keep it shorter in the winter.
Never mow wet grass
Mowing when wet is another way to damage the grass stems, plus it leaves piles of wet grass on your lawn that can inhibit light getting to the grass under it and prevent it from growing evenly.
Leave the clippings on your lawn when dry
Known as “grasscycling”, this is not an excuse to be lazy. Rather, if you leave some of the clippings on the lawn when the weather is dry, those clippings will decompose and act as a natural fertiliser for the rest of the lawn.
Invest in a mulching mower
For when you want to use your lawn to fertilise itself by grasscycling, a mulching mower is very handy as it chops the cut grass into smaller pieces, meaning that it will be quicker to decompose and add its nutrients back into the soil.
Keep an eye on weeds
Stray plants growing up through your lawn are an unsightly nuisance, and they can affect the growth of the rest of the lawn by shading the grass from sunlight, and also sucking up nutrients from the soil. It is best to pull weeds rather than use a weed killer.
Keeping your lawn well fed with the right balance of nutrients needed for good health and strong growth is an excellent way of keeping your lawn looking its best. You could use an all purpose or a slow release fertiliser, or if you have a specific type of grass that requires specific nutrients than you should talk to your local garden centre.
Feed it well in the winter
Before your lawn goes to bed for the year, you should give it a good dose of some natural fertiliser. This will help it get through the colder months and come out the other side being strong and healthy.
Keep it well watered
As a general rule, your lawn will need 1-2 inches of water per week, to keep it healthy and green. It’s best to water in the morning before any hot weather, which will evaporate the water quickly and can burn the stems as it does so. Watering in the evening can leave your grass vulnerable to mould and diseases as the wet clings to the stems.
Water more, less often
A lawn will respond better to a good soaking less regularly than a drip feed of water every day – this mirrors natural weather patterns and helps the lawn regulate itself better. Try putting the hose on for a good 30 minutes, twice a week. Your grass will thank you.
Aerate the soil
This basically means poking little holes into the lawn, so that water, fertiliser and oxygen can permeate the soil better. Aerating improves the strength of the root system too, so this trick is a good idea for lawns which have a lot of foot traffic.
You can aerate using a spike aerator or a plug aerator – a spike simply punctures a hole in the soil, whereas a plug will remove a plug of grass and soil. Plug aerators tend to give better results than spike ones.
Spread grass seed
For areas on your lawn which are especially sparse or patchy, you can sprinkle some fast growing grass seed to fill in the gaps. Grass seed will need more regular watering while it is establishing itself, and you may wish to net it to prevent birds picking off the seeds.
Replace the turf
As a last resort, you can buy replacement turf for any parts of your lawn which are really struggling. Turf is a good option because it is already growing, and you don’t have to wait for it to sprout as you do with grass seed.
Rake up dead leaves
Although a little bit of mulch is good for the grass, too much covering will choke it and prevent light and oxygen getting to the grass and its roots. Use one of these little helpers.
Clear excessive shade
If your lawn is covered over by the shadow of large spreading trees than it might be an idea to do a spot of strategic pruning. Grass can grow in some shade, but it won’t benefit from being completely in the dark.
A good lawn is a wonderful thing for any household. It can be easy to get so focused on things like flowers, or vegetables, that you forget the lawn entirely – but it is such a good addition to a garden that it should be maintained and cared for, then it will reward you for years to come.