walling in a garden

Liven up your lawn

Darius Negahbani Darius Negahbani Monday 4th January, 2016

For many British gardens, the lawn is the focal point around which all other aspects are designed. A healthy, well-tended lawn creates an anchor for gardens of all shapes, sizes and styles. Carefully groomed and short in a formal garden, hard-wearing for a young family or luscious and surrounded by thick beds of wildflowers in an English cottage garden, a healthy lawn is always essential. Once you’ve got it in place, a great lawn will inspire you to get the rest of your garden shipshape. Here, we’re sharing five ways to do exactly that.

Be a wise mower

If you suffer from a dehydrated, pale lawn the answer could be as simple as remembering this one easy rule: the taller the grass, the more moisture it will retain and the lusher it will appear. Check your mower and set it to cut at the longest setting. It’s also important to keep the blades of your lawnmower sharp so that they cut cleanly. Roughly-cut grass will lose hydration more quickly.

Give yourself an edge

Edging your garden using a tool designed for the job will properly define its parameters.   Once that’s done, another relatively easy way to spruce up your lawn is to use quality edging materials to demark it. The great thing about edging a lawn is that it can also add to the overall aesthetic you’re aiming for. For example, an ankle-height white picket fence looks great in a rural garden; a twisted, antique rope of edging adds a Victorian feel; while contour edging can be a great choice in a contemporary garden.

Aerate in autumn

Autumn is the optimum time to care for your lawn, before the temperature drops and the grass stops growing. Aerating basically involves piercing the lawn again and again before topping the small holes with compost and grass seeds. If you make this an annual job, you will gradually see your lawn thrive as both the soil and the grass improve over time.

Dress for success

Also best carried out in autumn, top-dressing is the process of applying a mix of compost, soil and sand to the lawn. This blend, which can be bought pre-mixed, is spread over the lawn and then raked into the turf. The purpose of ‘dressing’ lawns in this way is to encourage the grass’s roots to take more strongly, giving a thicker overall turf.

Start over

Sometimes a lawn can get in such bad shape, either through neglect or age, that it’s just not worth salvaging. If that’s your situation, see it as an opportunity to start again from scratch and sow your own. Grass-seed is best sown in late summer or early autumn and it offers two major advantages over turf: it can get into even the tightest and most unusually shaped corners with ease, and it’s relatively inexpensive.


Arm yourself with the knowhow, get stuck in with your lawn care and you’ll soon have a lawn that’s the envy of your friends and neighbours, every season for years to come.

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