How To Create & Maintain a Healthy Lawn

The lawn is often the centrepiece of the garden and with the right care, tools and equipment they can be easily grown and maintained to provide an attractive area which can be used by the whole household for relaxing, walking or playing.

If the lawn is purely to be ornamental or needs to be hardwearing for children playing then the choice of seed variety is vital to ensure successful growth and maintenance.
If the lawn is purely to be ornamental or needs to be hardwearing for children playing then the choice of seed variety is vital to ensure successful growth and maintenance.

This guide will take you through the stages of lawn development from seeding to maintaining mature lawns.

The creation of a new lawn from seed:

The first decision to be made is to establish the use for the grass. If the lawn is purely to be ornamental or needs to be hardwearing for children playing then the choice of seed variety is vital to ensure successful growth and maintenance.

You also have the choice to use turf, ready prepared grass to provide an instant lawn. This is a costlier option and care must be taken to select the right turf as well as caring for it for some time after laying it to ensure successful establishment.

However growing a lawn from seed has many advantages including:

  • Cost: the price of seed per m2 is much lower than that of turf
  • Seed choice: by selecting the correct seed varieties, you can ensure that your lawn perfectly matches your chosen use
  • Weed control: by treating the lawn area before seeding, you can create a virtually weed free lawn which will need less maintenance later on

Lawn seed is available at all Countrywide stores and Countrywide have a long history as a major supplier of grass seed mixtures of the highest quality that provide excellent value for money for our customers. In general there are three types of lawn seed.

Types of lawn seed

  • Lawn seed is available at all Countrywide stores – as it suggest a general seed for use on lawns with no specific problem areas.
  • Hardwearing – for lawns that will see increased activity such as children playing or pets using the area for exercising. This is also ideal as a patching mix to repair poor or bare areas of an already established lawn.
  • Shady – this seed is specific for the darker areas of the garden where growth of a general purpose seed may be stunted and hence produce an uneven lawn overall.

how to prepare your lawn for seed

It is essential that the ground is prepared correctly for a successful lawn as well as the selection of the right seed.

  1. The ground should be free of all old lawn grass and weeds. This can be achieved by using a weed killer (glyphosate based is recommended) or by digging out the old lawn and replacing the lost soil to produce a level soiled area.
  2. The soil should be broken down with stones and other obstacles removed and if necessary, a soil conditioner used to ensure the soil is fertile and in the best condition possible for new lawn establishment.
  3. The area should then be marked out in square metres. This is to help to ensure the correct seed rate is achieved.
  4. The seed should be sown at a rate of 35g per square metre and it is recommended that lawn feed is added to the seed at a ratio of 1:1 by weight.
  5. Once sown, the area should be protected by birds and other potential pests. Moisture is essential for effective germination, so depending on the weather conditions, watering may be needed for several days until the seed is established.

Lawns need care to keep them in tiptop condition and if done regularly this maintenance does not have to take excessive time and use many products. A good feeding regime is a must to prevent pest and disease damage and also to keep its condition constant reducing the time needed for repair or intensive care.

When to seed grass

There are steps you can take to ensure your lawn is at its best year-round. Below are a few steps for when to seed your grass and what you can do to achieve a good-looking lawn through seeding.

  1. Seed should be applied in the spring and summer when the grass is growing strongly. Many lawn feeds are now available which contain nutrients including fertilisers* to promote healthy growth.
  2. A single application will normally last for 8 – 12 weeks and should be applied then watered immediately to help it to work and to prevent the lawn being scorched by the sun.
  3. If moss is a problem, use a lawn feed complete with moss killer.
  4. Autumn lawn feeds are also available to prepare lawns for the winter period. They protect lawns from frost and rain damage and have a differing level of nutrients in the ratio of 4:5:15 of N, P and K. Iron is also included in the autumn feeds which help to suppress moss growth.
  5. Lawn feed should be applied at a rate of 35g per square metre. If applying by hand, ensure gloves are worn or you can use a spreader for larger areas.
  6. Spreaders are usually calibrated for a specific brand of fertilizer – check the spreading rate before using. Care should be taken not to cover an area twice as this will over feed and can result in scorching.

*Fertilisers contain nitrogen (N), phosphate (P) and potassium (K) and the correct ratio for good lawn growth is 12:2:4.

Watering your lawn

Although water is essential for grass growth once established there will be little need for regular watering a lawn even in times of drought. Even if a lawn goes brown it will often recover. Cutting however must be done regularly.

Regular mowing of a lawn will promote even growth and produce a mature lawn with increased growth from the base of the grass plants as well as making the whole garden more attractive.
Regular mowing of a lawn will promote even growth and produce a mature lawn with increased growth from the base of the grass plants as well as making the whole garden more attractive.

When should I mow my lawn

Mowing 2 – 3 times per week can be justified in spring and early summer when grass is growing quickly. A shorter lawn (ideally 1cm high) will create a more aesthetically pleasing look, one often envied. The use of the lawn must again be taken into account with those of a hardwearing nature needing to be kept longer to prevent damage.

Regular mowing of a lawn will promote even growth and produce a mature lawn with increased growth from the base of the grass plants as well as making the whole garden more attractive. This mimics the natural process of grazing by animals which of course has happened for centuries in open grassy areas.

The choice of mower is paramount and careful consideration should be made to select the best solution for your lawn. The maintenance of the machine is also encouraged particularly the blades an annual service is recommended something Countrywide can provide at its Ledbury Small Machinery Workshop.

A new lawn should be mowed when it reaches a height of 5cm. Care must be taken not to rip out the new seedlings so a rotary mower is recommended. A cylinder mower should not be used. The height of the grass should be reduced to 2.5cm.

Lawns should not be mowed when wet, covered in frost or snow. This can encourage compaction and hence damage the lawn. Lawns should be continued to be cut during the winter months if the grass is still growing although care should be taken again to avoid wet times.

The direction of mowing should also be alternated. By continual mowing in one direction an uneven lawn will develop and uneven growth seen.

It is not always necessary to remove all grass clippings when mowing and by leaving the clippings on the lawn on 1 in 4 occasions will improve the lawn condition overall.

How to repair lawns

General wear and tear, weather and soil type may all affect the overall quality of your lawn and variations may result in patchy areas in need of repair.

Attention should be paid to areas with poor drainage, worn lawn edges, uneven surfaces, thinning and bare areas. Maintenance may also be needed for pale grass, weeds, moss and fungal problems and fairy rings as well as insect pests and worms.

Visit our Lawncare & Planting category for everything you need to keep your lawn looking fresh, green and healthy.