The lawn acts as the backbone to your garden, providing space to relax, sunbathe, play games with the kids and pets, and entertain guests. It’s important to keep your lawn in tip-top shape, to provide an aesthetically pleasing backdrop, while being sturdy enough to withstand rough and tumble. The lawn can make or break your garden, and acts as the base for any flowerbeds, trees, or features. So here is our guide to how to create the perfect lawn.
Plan out your space
Before you start sowing your lawn, you need to plan out the space it is going to fill. Consider what you will be using your garden for. If you have children, a full lawn is best for allowing plenty of space to play; others may prefer to have more patio space and features with a smaller lawn; and if you host regular garden parties, a patio and lawn combo will be perfect. Plan where you are going to have your flowerbeds, borders, patios, and any trees or features. Bear in mind that grass flourishes best with plenty of sunlight, however it is possible to grow a lawn in shady areas. Check out our guide to garden design.
Prepare the soil
Lawns flourish best on deep, well-drained soil, so once you have you have decided on your lawn area, dig the ground thoroughly and deeply, making sure to break up any compacted soil. Remove any weeds or stones. Digging in some sand or grit will be beneficial. Rake over the soil very carefully as lawn tends to accentuate any dips or hollows. Tread over the area to flatten the soil, then rake again.
Sow your grass
There are two options to choose from when laying a new lawn: turf or seed. Lawn turf is ready-made rolls of grass that provide an instant lawn and require less maintenance in the first couple of months. It should be moist, green, and reasonably thin; long rolls are better than shorter slabs as they don’t dry out as quickly. Try and lay your turf the same day it is delivered, but if that is not possible make sure to water well. Check out our selecting lawn turf.
Lawn seed is a much more cost-effective option and is perfect for smaller areas, but will need a bit more maintenance to begin with. Ryegrass is great for withstanding family wear and tear and can survive shady areas, while Chewings fescue provides the perfect green lawn you see on golf greens. Choose a non-windy day and spread the seeds evenly across the ground. Check out our guide on how to grow the perfect lawn from seed.
Maintain your lawn
The key to a good lawn is sun, moisture, and drainage. Cutting back overhanging branches can help ensure your lawn has good access to sunshine. In the UK, there is usually enough rain not to have to water your lawn, however if you wish to water it aim for around once a week, and water early in the morning so the water can penetrate the soil before it evaporates in the heat.
To maintain good drainage, aerate the lawn every autumn and spring. You can do this by using a garden fork to make holes in the soil to allow in moisture and nutrients. Make sure to regularly remove weeds; you can use a chemical weed killer if you are dealing with large numbers.
When mowing, take care not to mow your grass too short; the grass should be around an inch or higher, and avoid taking too much off in one cut. From spring to summer, you can mow once every one or two weeks, reducing mowing to as and when needed during the winter.
Reseed sparse areas
If parts of your lawn have died or gone thin in areas, you can reseed to give it a new lease of life. Remove any dead grass with a garden fork or take, then take and aerate the soil underneath. Add lawn seed, flatten the ground gently and water the area frequently as it gets growing.
If you need to replace the turf on your lawn, cut out the existing turf with a shovel, rake and aerate the soil underneath, then measure and fill in the gap with new turf. Keep watered to ensure it establishes well.