Find out how to look after your lawn or grass, the carpet of the outdoors. If you’re house-proud, be sure to make yourself lawn-proud as it’s an easy way to create an attractive feature of your house. Here’s an easy to follow guide on how to keep your lawn in great condition.
Uses of your lawn
There are hundreds of different types of grass, so maintaining your lawn needs to be assessed individually, depending on the time of year, weather conditions and the use of your lawn (whether it’s for children running around, ornamental or wild.)
If the main use of the area is:
the grass will need to be rough cut irregularly. This is because the kids will be out playing on it, wearing it down and flattening the blades of grass.
is usually a finer grass used for display, and will need cutting more regularly.
the meadow, wild-flower/grass will need cutting and raking seasonally this usually encourages wildlife (butterflies, bees etc).
Mowing the lawn
- Clear the grass of sticks/toys etc that could block or damage the mower. Also try to remove any large weeds with a daisy picker or use your hands. This will avoid the weeds spreading and help keep your lawn healthy.
- Cut the longer grass round the edge of the lawn and around beds or garden ornaments. Remember to collect up the cuttings, as leaving them near the beds could result in grass growing up. Also use a half moon on the edges to sharpen them up along patios or around stepping stones – this can be done before or after cutting.
- Check the blades on the mower to ensure they are sharp enough; otherwise the blades will just flatten the grass rather than cut it. Also check the height of the cutting blade. Don’t go too low as scalping (cutting the turf down to ground level) ruins the grass in patches and looks unprofessional.
- Cut around the perimeter of your lawn. Go around at least twice, in alternate directions. These cuts make it easier to cut the edges and make it easier to turn the mower around in tight corners of the garden, whilst maintaining the straight lines.
- Mow up and down your lawn in alternate directions. The roller will flatten the grass and thus create the appearance of light and dark lines. Cut in different directions each time, to prevent the grass from “wearing out”. If you cut horizontally one week, cut vertically or diagonally the next to get any blades of grass that were flattened during the last cut. Pick up or rake any clumps of grass left at the end.
Lawn mowers come in a variety of shapes and forms, and the type you need will depend on the grass you have.
Hover mower – light and easy to push, doesn’t have rollers so doesn’t produce defined lines. Good for cutting wild grass as it helps spread the seed. Grass needs raking after to avoid leaving untidy dead grass patches on the lawn.
Push alongs – have collecting boxes and have rollers which helps with the definition of light and dark lines. You can get rotary and cylinder mowers for finer lawns.
There are three main powered mowers, petrol, diesel and electric, what you choose is all down to personal preference. Check out websites like B&Q or www.justlawnmowers.co.uk for a better idea of exact specifications.
Use either a hose spray or sprinkler (when permitted) to water the grass. Don’t over water the grass, water logging is damaging for the lawn. Never water during the mid-day heat, it scorches the grass, dries it out and turns it yellow.
There are various treatments available for around the year that can help the health of your lawn. It’s often good to get an autumn treatment to help your lawn recover from a summer of drought, and a spring one to get some nutrients in it after winter. Also, picking the right fertilisers can help your lawn grow thick and green.
Dos and Don’ts for your lawn
- Empty the box regularly
- Sharpen the blades
- Watch where the trailing wire goes if using an electric mower
- Cut on wet grass, it will cause it to clog the collecting duct
- Put your hands under the blade to clear the grass out when the engine is running, you could cut yourself
- Cut over thick bits of wood, this damages the blades and can stall the mower engine