With our gardens getting minimal attention over the colder months, our lawns are looking more than a little worse for wear. The water-logged ground has caused the grass to die back and then, under those stormy deluges, weeds have jumped in where once there was a beautiful bed of green.
But now the weather’s beginning to warm, it’s time to give your lawn a little TLC to get it back to its luscious, juicy best. Follow all of these easy, step-by-step lawn care tips and your grass will also be far healthier, so it’ll cope better with whatever else 2022 may throw at it!
Lawn care tips from the Modern Garden experts
No doubt over the colder months, your lawn has been left untouched so come spring you should take your lawnmower out for a spin. If this is the case, mow on your highest setting, making sure the blade is sharp.
That being said, you should ideally be mowing your lawn regularly throughout the year to keep it in good health as your grass will continue to grow until the temperature drops below 5°C.
If you’re mowing in the autumn, raise the height of your mower blades slightly, so the grass is left slightly longer, as it’ll grow more slowly. A quick trim once a week, except when it’s very wet or frozen, will help your lawn to cope with the last of any warm, dry weather we enjoy, and help it deal with the cold and wet when they arrive.
Top tip: You can make your garden look longer than it is by mowing stripes top to bottom, or to make it look wider, mow side to side.
Want to invest in the best lawnmower for your garden spring clean? We've put together a list of the best petrol lawnmowers, best electric lawnmowers, and best robot lawnmowers to make grass cutting a breeze.
Get rid of dead bits
Any moss, dead grass, and other plant debris in your lawn is taking up valuable space where lush green blades of grass could be growing, and spring or autumn can be a great time to remove it.
This material, known as ‘thatch’, also prevents water from penetrating the soil, which can lead to less grass and more moss. Use a spring-tine rake to thoroughly go over your lawn and remove the surprisingly big piles of dry debris that accumulate. If you’re fainting at the thought of raking over your whole lawn, then hire an Electric Scarifier to do the hard work for you.
Check your lawn for any still-green mossy patches first as it’s best to kill these with a lawn mosskiller beforehand. Moss is quick to hop into a lawn after very wet or very dry weather so, as we’re likely to have long periods of both extremes this summer, we’ve all got mossy patches covered!
Choose a mosskiller containing sulphate of iron and follow the instructions to apply it on a sunny day. Check if you need to water it in if it doesn’t rain for a couple of days. Wait until the moss has died (it’ll turn black) before you rake.
Bulldog Springbok Rake
Rake over your lawn with this bad boy and you'll be able to remove unwanted growth with ease. Used for scarifying the lawn too, this rake has 20 tines that are oil-treated for extra strength, a sturdy handle, and glowing reviews from customers.
VonHaus 2 in 1 Electric Lawn Scarifier and Rake 1500W
You could hire an Electric Scarifier, or buy your own! The affordable and lightweight VonHaus 2 in 1 Electric Lawn Scarifier and Rake is an easy and efficient tool for maintaining a healthy, tidy lawn. With adjustable working depths, just power on and roll over your lawn to collect thatch, moss, leaves, and other debris. You can even use the dual purpose drum to aerate your soil too.
Darlac Telescopic Lawn Scarifier
Taking the middle ground for price and ease, the Darlac Telescopic Lawn Scarifier can be manually rolled the length of your lawn to remove thatch and moss. It has a nice, strong, telescopic handle that you can adjust and is best recommended for small or medium-sized gardens.
Miracle-Gro EverGreen Mosskill
The Miracle-Gro EverGreen Mosskill contains iron sulphate and is an ideal lawn food and moss control to use between April and September. The easy to use granules get to work in just seven days, killing the moss and helping to give you a richer, green lawn.
Rake up leaves
Fallen leaves block out light and air, which causes the grass to turn yellow and even die. They can also encourage turf diseases. Rake them up, or just use your lawnmower to pick them up.
RHS Burgon and Ball Stainless Steel Flexi-Tined Lawn Rake
Endorsed by the RHS, this rake has 25% more tines compared to standard rakes so it can quickly and easily remove moss, thatch, and rogue leaves on your lawn. Made from stainless steel and FSC-certified ash, it comes with a leather hanging strap for storage in the shed and a lifetime guarantee.
Aerate the soil to improve drainage
If your lawn is on very heavy clay soil or has had a lot of use and wear over time, the soil may be compacted. This can lead to moss, disease, and waterlogging – but it’s really easy to sort out!
If you regularly get puddles of water on your lawn through winter, then it’s worth buying a hollow-tine aerator – just stand on the bar to remove a row of little plugs of soil to make drainage-improving holes. Otherwise, just use a garden fork pushed into the soil to the depth of its tines.
Hollow Tine Lawn Aerator
A simple and effective tool for rejuvenating your soil, press the hollow tines into the ground to remove cores of soil to let air, water, and nutrients reach right down to the grass roots. This is a more heavy-duty option as it goes deeper and disrupts the soil more compared to spiked aerators.
GRu00dcNTEK Lawn Aerator Shoes
If you want to aerate your soil in a jiffy, stick on these lawn aerator shoes and take a walk in your garden. With four adjustable straps for wear, the 13 safe steel nails drill into the earth with each tread, loosening the soil to improve the penetration of air and water.
Rolling Lawn Aerator
For an even speedier alternative, get yourself a rolling lawn aerator. With 30 45mm spikes, simply push the tool in front of you across the entire surface of your lawn to alleviate compaction and encourage healthy growth.
Sort out hollows
Got a lumpy lawn? Then you need to ‘top-dress’ it. You can buy lawn top-dressings from garden centres, and they’re usually a mix of loam, sand, and compost. You’ll need 2-3kg for every square metre of your lawn, but it’s well worth the investment.
As well as flattening out shallow hollows, top-dressing will improve the soil, encourage the grass to grow strong roots, thicken it and improve drainage. It’ll also help to keep all those little holes open if you’ve just finished aerating the soil! Just use a broom to brush it over your lawn.
Westland Lawn and Turf Dressing, 25L
With added seaweed for maximum germination, the Westland Lawn and Turf Dressing is ideal for existing lawn repairs, aerating, and turf laying. It improves the ease of watering and promotes 25% thicker grass growth.
Rolawn Lawn Top Dressing Bulk Bag, 730L
If you've got a lot of lawn that needs top-dressing, this 730 litre bag will help stimulate grass growth, improve drainage and create a level surface. It's high-quality, peat-free, and sand-based with minimal stone content.
Feed the grass
Giving your lawn a boost with a lawn fertiliser now will green up your grass and make it grow more thickly, so there’s less room for weeds and moss to squeeze in. It’ll also toughen it up ready for any unpredictable British weather and stays lush with life throughout the year.
Just make sure you choose the right feed for the season. Spring and summer ones contain nitrogen, which could make the grass weak and more susceptible to winter wet, cold, and diseases if used in the autumn months.
Check out our lawn fertiliser guide for everything you need to know about feeding your grass and giving your garden that extra boost.
Repair bald spots
Every year, even on a well-maintained lawn, up to 20% of the grass can die, and often more after a particularly hot, dry summer. So, it’s not you, it’s just what grass does!
Bare patches are a magnet for weeds, so make sure to repair any gaps. Use a fork to gently break up the surface of the soil in the bare area, mix in a handful of compost, then lightly scatter grass seed over the soil and rake it in. Water, using a fine spray so the seed isn’t washed off the patch, and keep it well-watered if it doesn’t rain.
You can get new grass fast by sprinkling starter lawn fertiliser over the seeds.
Johnsons General Purpose Lawn Seed
Using modern dwarf-type perennial ryegrasses and creeping Red Fescue, this general-purpose seed will produce a good-looking and hardwearing lawn with young grass appearing within 7-14 days.
Lawnsmith Starter Lawn Fertiliser
Ideal for all lawns, this starter lawn fertiliser will bring new lawns into use sooner and improve grass rooting and lawn establishment. Available in three sizes, this 2.5kg bag will cover 85m2 and can be applied at any time of the year.
Why do piles of soil pop up?
Those little heaps of soil that appear on your lawn are worm poos. And while the worms are doing a very useful job of keeping your soil healthy, their waste can be an eyesore on your lawn. You’ll get more worm casts on areas where there’s a lot of thatch or rotting leaves, so you’ll naturally get less once you’ve raked and removed dead grass from your garden.
If you only get a few now and again, then wait until the casts have dried out and use a broom to brush them into the grass. Be careful not to squash them, as the soil provides a great bed for weed seeds to germinate in. If they’re a real nuisance, though, you can encourage the worms to poo elsewhere. Making the soil acidic, which casting worms don’t like, will cause them to go deeper in the soil where they can’t cast, or move to another part of the garden.
Try a product such as SulphurLawn which doesn’t harm the worms.
Greenacres SulphurLawn Spray On for Worm Casts
Greenacres' SulphurLawn Spray On will drive worms away from your worm naturally without causing them any harm. Specially designed for smaller lawns, the 250g pack will treat up to 50sqm and is best applied in late August or early autumn.
What about 'No Mow May'?
The British conservation charity, Plantlife, has introduced a No Mow May campaign in recent years to encourage flowers to bloom in gardens across the UK to provide a vital source of nectar for bees and other insects. All you need to do is lock your lawnmower away for the month of May and let the wildflowers blossom.
At the end of the month, join in with their nationwide ‘Every Flower Counts’ survey to receive your very own nectar score for your lawn and help the charity learn more about the health of the nation’s wildflowers.
You never know, from this trial, you might want to convert your lawn into your own thriving wildlife meadow!
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