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Creating & maintaining a lawn

Whether you’re starting from scratch or rejuvenating an existing lawn, there are a few things to consider. If you have a small garden, perhaps a deck or a combination of paving and decorative stones would be a better option? For inspiration, see our decking and patio ideas. Artificial grass is also a great, low-maintenance alternative that offers the look and feel of an immaculate lawn all year round. Take a look at our guide to see our range of artificial grass and its many benefits.

Planning a lawn

Planning

If you have decided that a real lawn is best for you, think about the shape of the lawn in relation to the shape of the garden. This is important both for its appearance and maintaining. Avoid awkward corners and angles and consider how you will turn with the lawnmower.

Edges

Grass growing right up to fences and walls is difficult to maintain with a mower. You will either need a strimmer or to build a strip of compacted stone chippings or narrow paving slabs laid along the boundary to allow you to mow right up to the edge. This is also useful between flower borders and lawns as plants can spill out of these onto the grass, making mowing difficult. Alternatively, install an attractive edge to the bed.

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Pathways

If you want a pathway through the garden, try to incorporate it with the edge of a bed to form a mowing strip along the edge of the lawn. This will look good and it’s practical too. If you need a pathway across the lawn, consider stepping stones. Sink them in so that the surfaces are level with the lawn surface and you can mow straight over them.

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Before you start

If starting from scratch, decide whether to opt for seed or turf. Seed is cheaper than turf but takes longer to establish. Turf can give you an almost instant effect and needs to be laid as soon as possible after purchase so make all preparations beforehand. Rolls of turf are heavy so you’ll need a good wheelbarrow and you may need help lifting. Whichever you choose, good ground preparation and Lawn calendera nice level surface is essential. You may need to bring in a layer of soil as a base.

How to lay turf

Lawn calender

The key to a well groomed, healthy lawn is to give it a little attention throughout the year. It only becomes hard work when it’s neglected and you need to get things back on track. Here are a few tips to keep your grass in peak condition all year round.

Lawn Calendar - Spring

Spring

Grass grows faster as the weather becomes warmer but so do the weeds and there may be moss after damp winter weather. Now is the time to get on top of this and strengthen the grass.

  • It’s beneficial to rake out the moss before you attempt to treat it. This removes some of the thatch (dead material that sits on the ground below the grass blades) and allows more air and water to get to the roots. Around a week or two after treatment, the moss will have turned black and you can remove it with a rake
  • Before you apply any type of treatment such as lawn feed, it’s worth cutting the grass. Don’t cut too short but reduce the height by around one third. You will have to refrain from cutting for a week or more after applying a lawn treatment
  • After applying weedkiller, you may need to follow-up with a spot weedkiller to target the stubborn ones
  • This is the ideal time to sort out any lumps and bumps. Lift the turf in the uneven area with a spade, peel it aside then either remove a little soil if the area is too high or fill a depression with topsoil. Put the turf back in place and firm using a wooden plank to distribute the weight evenly
  • While the ground is soft and rainfall is plentiful, it’s a good idea to spike any compacted areas of the lawn which drain poorly or get excessive wear. You can do this by spiking with a garden fork
  • Sharpen up edges around beds and borders. Investing in a lawn edger makes this a lot easier

A couple of weeks after treating weeds or moss, you can tackle any bare patches by oversowing with grass seed or by using a lawn patch product, which is also ideal if there are patches caused by pets or excessive wear. If oversowing, make sure you don’t overdo it (around a handful over 1m2 is plenty) and this will also help thicken a generally thin lawn

Lawn Calendar - Summer

Summer

Lawns usually get the heaviest use during these months so it’s important to reduce and prevent further stress.

  • In hot, dry weather, you may need to use a lawn sprinkler. Watering in the early morning or late evening is more effective and avoids scorch and instant evaporation. Gradual watering over a longer period is more effective than flooding the grass, which wastes water
  • You can use a spot weedkiller to keep on top of any weeds as long as the grass is in good condition and the weather isn’t hot and dry. Avoid using liquid weedkillers when temperatures are over 26°C as this can increase stress and damage your lawn
  • Grass may go brown in drought conditions but if this happens, don’t panic. The lawn is usually just dormant, not dead
  • After heavy use, brush the lawn with a stiff broom or rake and leave the lawn sprinkler on for an hour in the evening. If possible, give the grass a day or two to recover
  • Move any garden furniture off the grass when not in use to allow maximum air and sunlight to get to the lawn
  • If you have play equipment in the garden, try to move it around regularly to avoid excessive wear and tear in one area. Paddling pools suffocate grass quickly so don’t leave one on the same spot for several days

Regular mowing is essential but avoid cutting it too short as this exposes the papery sheaths covering the base of the grass stems, making the lawn look brown and unattractive. A good guide is to reduce the height by no more than one third. Leaving it longer keeps it looking greener and ensures there are enough leaves to feed the grass plants. For greener, stronger and healthier grass, use a conditioner after cutting.

Lawn Calendar - Autumn

Autumn

This is a crucial time for lawn care as it’s time to prepare the grass for winter.

  • Keep cutting regularly. If the grass is long, cutting lightly when the weather permits is ideal. Try not to cut shorter than 3cm. A good guide is always to reduce the height by no more than one third
  • Anytime from the beginning of September is ideal to apply a lawn fertiliser. This keeps the grass green but also strengthens it, making it more resistant to cold. As there’s usually plenty of moisture at this time, there should be no need to water it in even if it doesn’t rain
  • Although there may be little moss present after summer, it’s worth controlling before it spreads through the grass over winter. An all in one lawn feed, weed and moss treatment is a handy solution
  • A couple of weeks after applying a fertiliser is an excellent time to scarify the lawn with a spring-tined rake. This gets rid of any moss and the thatch (dead material) that has built-up in the turf over the summer. It also helps to break up the creeping stems of the grass plants, encouraging more tufted, brighter green grass
  • Move any garden furniture off the grass when not in use to allow maximum air and sunlight to get to the lawn

The most important lawn care in autumn is the regular collection of leaves as they fall on the lawn. You can collect them using a lawn rake or a rotary mower on a high setting which will chop the leaves, making them easy to compost. Doing this regularly prevents wet leaves sticking to the grass which robs it of air and sunlight and causes decay.

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#WickesTips

If you haven’t got a compost heap, pack the leaves you’ve gathered into black plastic bags. Add a little water, spike the bag with a fork, tie it up and stack it away in a corner for 6-12 months. The leaves will compost and you will be left with an excellent top dressing for beds and borders.

Lawn Calendar - Winter

Winter

If the weather is mild and the grass keeps growing, an occasional cut during winter is beneficial. Keep gathering any leaves that fall and you may need to rake out any patches of moss. In frosty weather, try to keep off the grass as walking on it when frozen will cause damage.


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