Nothing beats hard work to get the best out of your lawn

The best way to explain how to care for a lawn is to equate it with how you look after your hair.

If you didn’t cut your hair, brush it, or put any conditioner on it what would it look like?

An unkempt lawn looks pretty much the same – except with bald patches and straggly looking grass similar to the human equivalent of a comb over! Think Hamlet cigar advert circa 1980s!

However nice a lawn can look, especially when you have just laid fresh new turf it can only remain that way if the owner looks after it.

There is a list of recommendations I can offer to look after your lawn but the three top tips are: –

  • Mow you lawn at least twice a month during the summer – and that includes the edges
  • If it is really hot make sure you water your lawn. Remember it’s no different to a tree or shrub in its requirements for nutrients.
  • Remove leaves. If you can imagine if light went from your life you also might go an off yellow colour and look a bit brown!

There are many other problems you may encounter while aiming to create the ideal lawn but these three handy hints should help you towards ensuring your lawn is lush rather than duff.

Other problems include tree roots competing for nutrients, trees taking the light and poor drainage which can cause moss.

There is one particular lawn I mow which is actually just moss. It’s like mowing a carpet but the garden is communal as is a common situation in London and, while it could be an impressive garden, maintenance is limited by funds.

Aerating a lawn (basically making holes in a lawn surface to let air to the roots which you can do with a garden fork) can improve drainage and regular raking can take out dead grass and moss. I have used a lawn weed killer before but I can’t say it was particularly effective.

In terms of using something other than brawn the best substance I have encountered is Westland Growmore variously described as a plant food or fertiliser. Though I do try my best to garden organically it doesn’t always work out

Lawn at Elderwood

The Lawn at Elderwood

Anyway it made the lawn at Elderwood look like this at the height of summer, which was quite an achievement given most lawns looked brown and dead because we actually had some sun in the summer of 2013. Of course I also had to water it a lot!

Reseeding grass can be just as effective as turfing especially when the weather is wet which is something that this country does have in abundance.

However, it is worth bearing in mind that if isn’t wet you will need to regularly  water whichever you chose, whether seed or turf, at least in the first two weeks of growing and probably more if it is persistently dry.


I use Canada grass seed which I think is really effective and purports to grow on concrete, which I can well believe, although there are many different types of grass that suit.

You also need to bear in mind that birds and some animals  like seed to eat – and foxes and squirrels will happily dig holes in newly laid grass.  So, think about using netting to protect your new grass from unwanted visitors.

Grass seed: