Lawn Care for Beginners

Lawn Care for Beginners

For all those out there that have moved home and now have their first ever lawn, or for those that have just decided to take lawn care seriously, I have some essential lawn care 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 (generally twice to tree times per year), 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 lawn’s 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 – Your lawn will continue to grow in Autumn, and is in need for nutrients to recover from the demanding summer conditions.

There are two types of fertilisers – Organic and Synthetic. Both types provide nutrients important for the condition and health of your lawn, however organically maintained lawns are stronger and healthier compared to lawn maintained synthetically. Using organic fertilisers take longer for you to see the results, however they are longer lasting. With synthetic fertilisers you are able to choose the ratio of the chemicals for the exact needs of your lawn, however it is important to spread the fertiliser evenly to prevent uneven concentration patches that can lead to lawn burns. Fertiliser spreaders are readily available and recommended, following the manufacturers mixing instructions on the packaging.

So in summary, it is important to consider when you apply your fertiliser, what type of fertiliser is suitable for you and your lawn, how to apply it. For more detailed information on fertilisers see my article – Tips! Lawn Care for Beginners. 

Application rates

Even though there is a recommended application rate on each bag of synthetic fertiliser, as you are not a professional, you are highly unlikely to get a completely even coverage with this rate.

For this reason, I recommend that you use half and make two applications, one going up and down your lawn (north to south) and the other going across it (west to east). This makes for better lawn coverage and will avoid 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 you certainly do not 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 your lawn.

How to Aerate

Manual Rolling Lawn Aerator

There are several different methods you can use to aerate your lawn. The most common and effective method is using a rolling aerator that is essentially a wheel/drum with spikes that is rolled over the lawn and the metal spikes dig holes into the soil as it goes.  Other methods include aerator shoes, aerator rakes and electric/petrol scarifiers and aerators. Some powered aerators such as the AL-KO 38P Combi-Care Review 2-in-1 Petrol Lawnrake/ Scarifier have a an interchangeable drum that can be switched between raking/scarifying using the spring tines and aerating using the 14 steel blades.

Hollow tine aeration involves removing a plug of lawn to allow more air, moisture and nutrients to penetrate deeper down. Hollow tine aeration can be carried out using a metal frame that is manually pushed into the lawn with your foot and then pulled out removing plugs of turf. It goes without saying that this method is hard work, so you may want to consider purchasing a petrol machine, hiring one for the day or asking a lawn care company to do it for you. The cheapest Petrol hollow tine aerators can cost around the £250 mark and are fairly large by design, so you will need to consider if you have enough storage.

Manual Hollow Tine Lawn Aerator

The perimeter of your lawn should be done first if using electric or petrol aerator, 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.

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 petrol or electric lawn scarifiers equipped with steel blades or tines. They cut into the soil and open up the surface making it easier for the thatch to be pulled away. To see my list of Best Lawn Scarifiers and Rakes click on this link. In each review I have included the pros and cons or each garden too, who they are suitable for, where to purchase them etc to help you with your decision.

They will make the job to removing moss, thatch, weeds and leaves from your lawn much easier, as the latest technology and innovation used is amazing. It seems like a win win situation as you will be rewarded with healthier, thicker lawn with more grass shoots.

Raking

Now if your lawn if prone to moss, wet, shade or has high levels of 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 relatively easily. Again as we all know raking can be hard work, depending on the size of the area. There are many petrol and electric rakes currently on the market that will make your job a breeze. If you want to see my best rake selection with full reviews see the link above.

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 on a regular basis, depending on the weather, season and their 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 more often.

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 watering will be required less frequently, if at all.

Do not over-water your lawn as waterlogged lawns and excessive water is not good for the health of your lawn.

How to Water Properly

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

Also make sure you water early in the morning before sunrise 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 1/3 of each blade of grass, mow once each week.

Aim to keep the height of your grass the same throughout the entirety of spring.

You will know that all petrol, electric and cordless lawn mowers have a range of height settings on the side of the deck to suit your requirements. Some of the mowers have only 3 settings, some have up to 7 settings to choose from (very impressive). Make sure you do not cut your lawn too short, this relates to all seasons, as this is one of the mistakes the majority of homeowners make without knowing it. Cutting your lawn taller will ensure much healthier and greener lawn compared to cutting it too short. Your lawn will also be less prone to damage from drought and will have less weeds and bare patches. For more information about cutting your lawn see my article – The Best Way to Cut Your Grass.

In spring you should also consider what kind of winter we have just had. If your lawn has been through a bit of wear and tear throughout the winter, keep the length of your grass even taller than you would normally in spring, the same applies to shady areas. Most homeowners would cut at around 40 mm during spring, leaving the grass longer means adding extra 10 mm on top of the standard cutting height.

Summer

As the temperatures are expected to rise, and the weather is likely to get drier, it is likely that your grass won’t grow as fast, so try to mow once per week or slightly less, depending on the conditions. If the conditions are good for growing, for example we have had a good amount of rainfall then you may need to increase the frequency of mowing to twice per week.

Again stick to the same rule whereby you don’t take off any more than a third of the length of each grass blade when mowing.

Keep in mind that cutting your lawn too short will only damage your lawn and make it more likely for weeds and moss to appear.

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.

In general terms, I would not recommend cutting your lawn less than 30 mm long during this season.

Autumn

If the pace of growing begins to slow down and gets 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 grass growth.

For the majority of autumn you want to keep the lawn height higher 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 leads to better grass growth.

Winter

Normally you will not need to mow your lawn during the winter season.

However, unlike what many homeowners think, you can actually get away with mowing your lawn during this season. You just need to pick the right time to do so.

You would be looking for a warmer sunny day when the temperature reaches above 5°C, this is then the right time to get your mower out, and possibly other garden tools if you have been missing your garden. Only point to remember is that the grass won’t grow much during the winter, so again make sure you cut off anywhere between 10-25% of the grass height only, to stimulate some sort of growth.

Best Garden Lawn Mowers 

Many people ask me what are the best lawn mowers for their garden. This of course is an easy question but depends on many different factors. First you will need to consider what size garden you have, what type of mower is suitable for your lawn – there are many options from petrol, push, cordless, electric to robotic mowers. Each mower has lots of different features and functionalities too, some are self-propelled, others have mulching capability and a rear roller for that perfectly striped British lawn appearance. Some homeowners are looking for a basic model, others want the most expensive model with the latest technology and features you are able to add on at a later date…

Everyone is different and everyone has different requirements and budget. To help you decide and to ensure you spend your money on a suitable product I have written a guide, to view it click on the link – A Helpful Illustrated Guide to Buying a Lawn Mower.

Now, after reading this guide, if you have decided that you want to purchase a mulching lawn mower, and do not know what the best offering is on the market, I have included my top Mulching Mower selection below –

Best Mulching Lawn Mowers 

If you want to read more about the benefits of mulching, below is a link to another article I have written to help you with your decision.

The Benefits of Mulching Lawn Mowers

I know I have included lots of information in this article. Hopefully now you have a better grasp of the most important lawn care aspects. If you have any questions about any of the areas discussed, then please let me know in the comment section below and I will be happy to answer them.

For more information, relating to other blogs, guides and varied garden tools suitable for your garden visit my site on https://easylawnmowing.co.uk/

 

6 thoughts 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?

    1. Hi Harjit,

      Below I have included a list of my best medium petrol lawn mowers, with each mower you will be able to see a full review with their pros and cons, features a functionality.

      https://easylawnmowing.co.uk/10-best-petrol-lawnmowers/#Best_Self-Propelled_4-Wheel_Petrol_Lawn_Mowers_for_Medium_Lawns

      You can also consider purchasing a robotic mower, again for convenience I have included my top selection below-

      https://easylawnmowing.co.uk/robot-lawn-mower-reviews/

      Hope this helps
      Mark

  2. Hello Mark, great site and blog. I recently bought the Bosch 36-660 cordless mower and it is superb. Just realising how nice my plans could look. I have a spreader and scarifier/aerator but hadn’t planned on doing remedial work until the autumn. My plans was to weed/feed, then scarify, then maybe weed/ feed again, then sow, wait a week or more and sow again, then overseed the poor areas during late autumn and through winter. Does this sound plausible. Thanks to you I have been mulching and things have improved slightly, regards, Tony

    1. Hi Tony, many thanks for your positive feedback. Great to hear that you are happy with your new Bosch Cordless mower, and that the mulching is starting to show positive results.

      Spring and Autumn are the best times to carry out any remedial work such as scarifying. If you are planning on doing a deeper scarify of the lawn, then I would leave this to the Autumn period, as you would want to avoid higher temperatures and drought. Your lawn needs to be growing well before scarification, so it has the ability to recover after the process, as it will require warmth and moisture to grow back.

      Scarifying after weed killer has been applied will inhibit and disrupt the weed killing process, and may even cause additional grass seed germination. This is particularly so if you are going to top-dress and over-seed after scarifying, it would be better to remove the weeds manually. (if you are using weed killer try to leave at least 3 weeks before scarifying the lawn)

      Below I have included another of my articles, that will provide more information about fertilising, aerating and seasonal timetable.

      https://easylawnmowing.co.uk/lawn-care-for-beginners-more-tips/

      Hope this helps, let us know how you get on.
      Mark

      1. Fantastic advice, and very much appreciated. i will waiti until the autumn then follow your advice to see how the lawn can impriove. I’m not after a crown green bowling surface but would just like it to look nicer than now. Thanks, Tony, keep up the good work.

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