Lawn Care for Beginners

Lawn Care For Beginners

For all those out there that have moved home to their first ever lawn, or to those that have just decided to take lawn care seriously, I have the advice for you.

In this post I’ve outlined and touched on the various important aspects involved with proper lawn care to help ensure your lawn care success.

Keeping the lawn in shape may seem like a daunting task but once you understand what you’re doing it becomes a walk in the park.

Just follow my tips and you’ll be just fine!

Lawn Care For BeginnersFertilising

It’s best to apply fertiliser to your lawn on seasonal basis, this makes sure you aren’t over applying (which could have disastrous effects) and makes it easier to cope with the changing demands of your grass’ growth.

When you actually apply it is up to you, just make sure you apply during that season every year.

  • Spring – Feeding the lawn in the early spring will strengthen its roots and gets it off to a good start before the heavy growing season.
  • Summer – Your lawn could be susceptible to heat & drought, excessive use and insects so helping it out with a feeding will really do it some good.
  • Autumn – This is the time for your grass to start growing again and is in need for nutrients to recover from the summer conditions.

As well as when you apply it, you also need to concern yourself with how you apply your fertiliser.

Application rates

Even though there is a recommended application rate on each bag of fertiliser you’re better not using it. Since you’re not a professional it would be difficult (and unlikely) for you to get a completely even coverage with this rate.

Instead, I recommend you use half and make two applications, one going up and down your lawn and the other going across it (perpendicularly). This makes for better lawn coverage and no over-applying.

For more tips on lawn fertilisation, check out my post Lawn Fertiliser Schedule.

Lawn Care For BeginnersAerating

Aeration is punching holes into the soil/lawn to allow air, water and nutrients to get deep into the grasses roots. Even though this may sound like you’re doing damage, it’s actually very beneficial for your lawn and can have some really great effects.

When to Aerate

Just like with applying a fertiliser, knowing when to aerate is very important. It’s a pretty tiring exercise, if you don’t have special machinery, so don’t want to undo your hard work by carrying it out at the wrong time.

Now you don’t necessarily need to do it at the same time every season you just need to make sure the soil is moist, not too wet or too dry, and just before you plan on fertilising and topdressing.

How to Aerate

The perimeter of your lawn should be done first, so you don’t aerate over your turning area as this could tear up the surface. Then move onto the bulk of the garden, going back and forward in straight lines and at right angles.

This ensures a proper coverage but if you’re only aerating to treat affected areas then focus just on them and forget the rest of the lawn – aerating here won’t be necessary so save yourself the time and effort.

Plugs

If you’re using a hollow-tined aerator then you’ll notice these little plugs of soil pop up from the lawn. Make sure you remove these from your lawn afterwards as they can prevent air, water and nutrients from getting to the roots and can form little bumps along the surface of the lawn.

For more info on Aerating your lawn, check out my post Lawn Aeration Tips

Lawn Care For BeginnersScarifying

Even though the main objective of scarifying is to remove any excess thatch and moss from your lawn, it also has some very useful extra benefits as well.

You’ll also be opening up the soil which makes for better air, water and fertiliser penetration to the grass roots – which is essential for healthy grass growth – and it’s also very effective for removing weeds and creeping grass from the soil so they’re left lying on the surface to be mowed off.

Dethatching

How often you need to de-thatch your lawn really depends on your grass type. If you have rye grass you only need to do it every now and then and if you have fescue grass you’ll need to do it on a regular basis.

Thatch is removed much more easily and effectively when using lawn scarifiers equipped with steel blades.c They cut into the soil and open up the surface making it easier for the thatch to be pulled away.

Not only that but they also cut the grass downwards, instead of across like with mowing, which promotes more shoots to grow and therefore thickens the turf.

Raking

Now if your lawn if prone to moss, wet, shaded or even on clay soil, then you’ll have to do your fair share of raking from time to time.

For the best results make sure you have a rake with wires, the moss isn’t rooted so it will come away easily.

For more info on scarifying, check out my post Best Tips For Scarifying Your Lawn

Lawn Care For BeginnersWatering

The majority of people will need to water their lawn every three days (so about twice a week) but this can change depending on your soil type.

If you have a clay based soil then you’ll be fine watering just once a week but if you have a sand based soil then you’ll need to water every three days.

You also want to keep an eye out for the weather as it of course affects how often you water. If you’re having dry weather then water a little more frequently and if you’re having wet weather then water a little less frequently.

How to Water Properly

To promote deeper root growth, strength and better resistant to disease, you want to water deeply. Watering a little on a daily basis actually causes damage to the lawn as it can promote fungus and disease.

Also make sure you water early in the morning before sun rise as this gives the grass and roots time to absorb all the water before being evaporated.

To make this easier on yourself, I recommend getting a timed water sprinkler.

For more info on watering, check out my post Best Time to Water the Lawn.

Lawn Care For BeginnersMowing

The frequency to which you mow varies throughout the year as the rate of grass growth will change according to the weather.

To make sure you do it correctly throughout the year, I’ve outlined how you need to mow during each season.

Spring

So your grass doesn’t become too stressed make sure your lawn mower is set so that it doesn’t take off any more than a 1/3 off of each blade of grass and mow at least once each week.

Aim to keep the height of your grass the same throughout the entirety of spring. For most people this should be between 1 & 1½ inches.

But for those who’s lawn has been through a bit of wear and tear throughout winter, keep it at about 2 inches and for those with a shaded lawn, keep it at 3 inches.

Summer

As the temperatures are expected to rise and the weather is likely to get drier it’s likely that your grass won’t grow as fast so try to mow at least once per week. Cut it to no less than an inch in height and make sure you don’t take off any more than a third of the length of each grass blade when mowing.

Keep in mind that cutting too short will only damage your lawn and makes it more likely for weeds and moss to make their way to the surface.

If the weather does get really hot and dry then lay off the mowing and let the lawn rest and grow out a little more, otherwise it’ll become stressed and damaged.

Autumn

If the growing begin to get worse as you reach October and November then you’re going to have to reduce how often you mow your lawn to account for slower growing grass.

For the majority of autumn you want to keep the lawn height high to make sure it doesn’t get too short.

But for the final two cuttings before winter cut a little lower than normal. This promotes better sunlight exposure which can lead to better grass growth.

Winter

Unlike what you might think, you can actually get away with mowing during the winter. You just need to pick the right time to do so.

If the sun does pop out within the clouds and the temperatures reach at least 5°C then you can get your mower out. But remember the grass won’t grow much so make sure you cut off anywhere between 10-25% of grass height to stimulate some sort of growth.

There you go, hopefully after reading that you have a better grasp of the most important lawn care aspects. If you have any questions about any of the aspects then please let me know in the comment section below!

If you’d like to check out some of my robot lawn mower reviews then head over to my Robot Lawn Mower Review Page, I’ve reviewed various models all designed for different purposes so if you’re in the market there won’t be a better place to go than here!

2 Comments on “Lawn Care for Beginners”

  1. Hi great post on how to look after your lawn. You have covered all bases. You have opened my eyes on what actually goes into looking after a lawn. The only thing I do is cut the grass. I normally get a gardener to look after my lawn but after reading your post I may do it myself and save myself a lot of money!

    I am thinking of getting a petrol lawnmower but my garden is small to medium size. Do you recommend getting one for a smaller garden?

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