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Lawn Care Basics

Whether you are a complete first time lawn owner, or you have owned a lawn for a few years, you have landed here because you want things to look a little bit better.

Lawn close up with a single Dandelion

Perhaps you have a bit of lawn envy at the neighbours lawn, or you secretly want to dominate your neighbours lawns and out-beat them in the “my lawn is better than your lawn” stakes.

I get it.

So, I have outlined all of the basic best practices you need to follow to make this work.

Tools you will need:

An adjustable-height mower with a good sharp blade.

Things you need to do:

  • Mow regular
  • Mow at the right height
  • Water regular according to the time of year
  • Fertilize

Things you might need to do:

  • Apply bug killer
  • Apply Ant killer
  • Scarify the lawn
  • Aerate the lawn
  • Control the weeds with either chemicals or through natural methods

Things you can also do to enhance the lawn

  • Overseed the lawn
  • Top dress the lawn
  • Level the lawn
  • Use a roller to create stripes

The nitty gritty breakdown


1: Get yourself the right mower.

So what does this mean?

In essence a mower that is suitable for the size of the lawn.

Generally smaller gardens don’t need a large mower.  Larger gardens benefit from larger mowers.

For larger lawns a petrol mower will be more advantageous, as electric mower cables may not reach the full length.

It’s up to you really.

As a lawn care business owner I have the privilege of owning two regular mowers (that cost me around £270 each), plus a bargain of a second hand mower with a roller fitted to the back.

You don’t need to do that though.  That’s really my own circumstances, needing mowers that will work hard week in, week out.

Trouble is there aren’t many “cheap” mowers that also have a roller.  You are still going to be paying that bit extra.  There is this premium Hyundai one on Amazon but it’s over £300.  It’s suitable for medium sized lawns, and thankfully gets good reviews.

The cheap alternative is to get a regular mower just to get the cut done, and to a decent height, and then look out for a cheap roller mower.

I personally have this with my third mower.  I picked it up for £40 second hand!  It’s an old petrol mower (cylinder) with a huge steel roller on the back.

You might find something cheap on eBay, possibly listed under “vintage mowers”.  Click here to view vintage mowers on eBay.

Keep the mower blade nice and sharp

You only have to mow over a few stones and you will end up with a circular chunk taken out the blade edge.  This is going to tear the grass blade, and leave a ripped stressed section at the top of the grass.  Over the whole lawn you actually end up with a White shimmery shine across your lawn.  Not good when you want to achieve lush Green.

Choose a decent engine.

Try not to stress too much over this, but bear in mind that a weak under powered engine will struggle in longer grass or wet grass, and what you will end up with are circular marks in the lawn where the engine slows down and doesn’t cut properly.  It actually tears the grass, especially if it’s a bit wet or a bit long.

In general the higher the engine power (cc), the better the engine can perform under harsh conditions, and be more reliable long term.

Mow regular, at the right height

I cannot stress how important these steps are.

Regular mowing is one of the key “secrets” to a nice lawn.

In short, mow weekly, or as often is required.  The RHS state to mow 3 times a fortnight (every 5 days).

Do not take off more than 1 third of the height of the grass.

If you do, you stress the grass.

So if your grass is 6 inches high, take off no more than 2 inches.

If you are trying to get the grass shorter then wait a few days and then take no more than a third of again, and continue until you get down to the desired height.

If you mow regular you won’t even have this problem.

Try not to cut any shorter than 1 to 4 inches.  There are MANY reasons for this.

In short, the grass blade needs to let the sun shine onto it.  This causes Photosynthesis to occur.  The grass then creates a sugar to feed itself.

In other words it keeps it healthy.

If you let it get too long, the grass underneath can’t see the sun and goes Brown.

If you cut too short, there isn’t much grass blade to photosynthesize, and the grass becomes weak.  This inevitably leads to other issues like grub problems, more weeds and moss.

2: Watering properly

So I will start out by saying the obvious.  Your lawn is a plant.

Yes it is one of the toughest hardiest plants going that can withstand a lot, but if you are determined to enjoy a healthy vibrant Green lawn then you need to look at proper watering.

How long should you water your lawn for?

On average around 60 to 90 minutes a week will be enough.

For established lawns it is better to water 2 to 3 times a week for long times, so 20 to 30 minutes at a time.

For newly seeded lawns and freshly laid turf you should water daily for 2 to 3 months, watering lightly (in a light mist fashion), twice a day, for 10 minutes at a time.

After these 2 to 3 months have passed, then drop down to the same frequency as established lawns.

Watering is really something that the lawn needs from around May to September regularly.  At other times just look at the condition to see if it needs a drink.


3: Fertilize

Without going , into the science of lawn fertilizer composition, you can now buy fertilizer with a decent balance of nutrients.

I now use a fertilizer that is organic based on Chicken poo! While you may think “ewww”… the product is processed and made into small sized balls that are easy to spread.

This specific brand of Chicken manure pellets is a great buy. The brand is 6X (It doesn’t mean there are 6 packs for the price, it’s just the brand)

So you also need to be able to apply it “properly”.

Many people have tried to self fertilize their lawns and burned the grass.

I am going to make things nice and simple for you and tell you what I use.

  • I use this hand held spreader on setting #3.
  • I walk at a medium walking pace.
  • You MUST keep your pace consistent.

If you go too slow you will be applying too much fertilizer and may burn the lawn.

The setting for how much product is dispensed is a gauge in the handle that you move up and down.  The number 3 setting is roughly halfway down.


Putting these lawn care tips together:

  1. Fertilize your lawn 2 or 3 times a year, around May, July and September.
  2. Try to maintain a grass height of between 1 to 4 inches all year round.
  3. Grass grows a lot from Spring to Autumn.  In Winter it still grows up to an inch a month.
  4. Try to cut on a dry day.
  5. Try not to let it get too long or cut too short – it’s not healthy for the grass.
  6. Keep your mower blade sharp.  You might want to consider sharpening yourself, or spending between £10 and £30 to have it sharpened.




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