A Step by Step Guide to Replacing Your Lawn

Now’s not the time to be sitting back in the late summer sun – there is work to do in the garden before the crisp and cold starts to set in.

Amongst the other jobs to do at this time of year (planting spring bulbs, harvesting the last of your apples, taking cuttings etc) this is the last chance you have to turn your attention to your lawn, assuming you didn’t have time to do this during the spring.

Whilst the thought of creating a new lawn from seed can be daunting (wouldn’t it just be easier to get in the contractors with a tonne of turves?!) take a look at the guide below and you’ll see it’s reasonably simple to create a fresh batch of grass ready for you to enjoy.

So as with everything in life, the key to a great lawn is in the preparation.  Don’t skimp on this bit!  You might be an impatient gardener but honestly make sure you get the ground ready before you waste further time and money laying seed.

First of all, take a look at the size of the area you wish to redo.  A smaller plot is generally manageable with a shovel to remove the existing grass, but it is labour intensive and hard work so you may prefer to rent a sod cutter from your local plant store which will slice through the turves and cut them into strips.  It’s easier to do this work with wet ground so either wait for a night-time downpour or get your hose out to give you a hand.  Once you’ve removed the grass then you’ll likely have a good muddy patch to work on. 

As with any other growing plant, grass is happiest in well-treated soil so clear away any weeds or plants and give the soil a dig over to remove any stones, lumps and roots.  Tread the soil with your boots and take notice of any areas which might need redistributing to create a level lawn.  Use a roller to flatten the soil and create a firm surface.   

Using a rake, go over the soil in different directions (a little like painting a wall with a brush) and once you’re happy with the level you can add 2-3cm of seeding soil which gives the right conditions for germination.  You may need to level again to produce a crumbly texture depending on the brand chosen.

Now you have an area that is ready for sowing.  This is your big ta-dah! moment!

Sprinkle your chosen lawn seed across the area making sure to check the package instructions for the recommended rate of application.  Lightly rake the surface to ensure your seed is incorporated into the soil.

Using nothing other than gentle boots, walk over the seed pressing it gently as you walk.  If your area is particularly large you can use a roller here. 

Water the whole area thoroughly but be careful not to wash the seeds away in the process so use a fine spray watering can or sprinkler.

You’ll need to repeat the watering every day until your seeds are established which can take up to a couple of weeks.  Note that it is better to water thoroughly once rather than several times lightly. 

Let the grass grow to about 5-8cms in length before you’re tempted to do anything with it.  Then use your mower on the highest setting to give your handiwork its first cut.  Make sure that the grass is dry before you do this.

And there you have it.  Of course it’s not going to be easy, but then the best things in life need a bit of effort, don’t they?  For the sake of some good, old-fashioned hard work you’ll have a beautiful lawn to enjoy for years to come.