Tips for making the most of your lawn

Here are the tips for success, and the tools of the trade, to get your patch of grass into tip-top condition

How to mow a lawn to perfection



Before you start, please take that mower to a nice man who can sharpen the blades for you. Or a lady; I don't mind. And get them to check they're correctly adjusted too.



Young grass begins to grow very early in spring these days, but wait till it's two or three inches high before you set out to mow. Set the mower on high so that you only cut half an inch off. This may seem pernickety. But being pernickety is how you get a great lawn.



As with so many things, "little and often" is key. Cut off about a third each time, so a three inch lawn goes down to two inches. Remember that a close-mown lawn will look and feel better, but needs much more watering and feeding, especially when the weather's dry.



Never mow when the grass is wet. You don't really want to mow then, anyway – let alone how bad it is for the lawn.



Don't mow your lawn always in the same direction. In fact, try to swap each time you mow.



There's a big debate about whether to collect grass clippings. They may provide a green manure but need to be very fine or they'll just block the sunlight. If you do collect clippings, don't just dump them on the compost heap or they'll rot down to a big soggy mess. Save newspapers and cardboard to go in between as layers.



Tail off your mowing as autumn days arrive.

Put your back into it! Rakes for serious lawn work

You'll need two: a spring-tined one for winter, to remove dead grass and moss ("thatch") at the soil surface, and an ordinary one for raking over top dressings in the summer. Harrod Horticultural's Moss Removal Rake (£49.95) was a Which? Gardening Best Buy. See www.harrodhorticultural.com/ for more details.

Good lawns start with scrupulous seeding

If you have kids who like to run about, you'll want a hard-wearing rye grass like the aptly named "Sprogs & Dogs" from LAWN UK at http://www.lawnuk.co.uk/ Ornamental mixtures are softer on the feet, and shade-tolerant seed is also available, with a mix of fine grasses (fescue) in it.

Once the lawn is in place, don't forget to feed it...

Granular feed for after cutting is probably the easiest to apply: simply measure it out and rake it on. But make sure you read the label – many feeds also include herbicide and moss killer.

... and water it, too, with a modern sprinkler

Personally I favour an oscillating sprinkler (£24.99 from Hozelock) because children love running through them; the more expensive Hozelock Aquastorm models also have a useful setting for misting seedlings.

Two approaches for getting rid of dread weeds

The Bulldog Evergreen Daisy Grubber is £4.69 from Amazon.co.uk, but for the desperate, try Westland Lawn Weed Killer. Don't put the lawn clippings in the compost for a month after cutting.

The secret to that perfectly striped look

A lawn cut weekly can be mown to 1-2cm, but for a perfect green sward, mow every three days to 0.5cm. Fans of sustainability and silence may fancy the Qualcast Panther 30, which you simply push (£29.99 from Amazon).

Edging the lawn makes a big difference

Cut neatly with a half-moon edger (expert stainless steel with an FSC ash handle, £25.05 from Draper) using a plank to rule your straight edge along.

Discover more property articles at Homes and Property
News
A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
science
News
Richard Dawkins dedicated his book 'The Greatest Show on Earth' to Josh Timonen
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Extras
indybest
PROMOTED VIDEO
Travel
Dinosaurs Unleashed at the Eden Project
travel
Arts and Entertainment
music
Sport
football
Life and Style
This month marks the 20th anniversary of the first online sale
techDespite a host of other online auction sites and fierce competition from Amazon, eBay is still the most popular e-commerce site in the UK
News
i100
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Quantitative Analyst (Financial Services, Graduate, SQL, VBA)

£45000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Quantitative Analyst (Financial Services, ...

Application Support Engineer (C++, .NET, VB, Perl, Bash, SQL)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Application Support Engineer (C++, .NET, VB, Per...

C# .NET Software Developer (Client-Side, SQL, VB6, WinForms)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Software Developer (Client-Side, SQL, VB...

C# Developer (Genetic Algorithms, .NET 4.5, TDD, SQL, AI)

£40000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home