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How to have a nice lawn?

(19 Posts)
fluffywuffydoda Tue 25-Apr-17 11:08:02

Hello all

Just thought I'd come to good ole mumsnet for some advice about my lawn (definitely not a euphemism), I'm hoping some of you gardeners out there can help?

First off, I'm not really a gardener, I mow the lawn, do some weeding and generally try and keep it looking tidy, I know zilch about growing things. But I would just love a nice lawn for my little one to play on and just keep it looking half decent.
At the moment it just looks a bit patchy after mowing (I do try and rake afterwards) with lots of weeds growing through. I've also got a cat who routinely poos and wees on the grass, I do clean up as much as I can but would her weeing on it affect the grass? I've got a litter tray which I'm planning on using soon so she doesn't wreck the grass for summer and so my boy can play.

I've noticed my next door neighbours front lawn looks lovely, no weeds at all and the grass looks great. She is elderly and her son when he visits (which is not often he lives miles away) does her garden, I've seen him after mowing put what looks like soil all over the grass. Does anyone know what this could be? Just soil? I feel really nosy asking him but whatever it is the lawn looks great.

Just any advice really about keeping weeds at bay and making it look nice would be much appreciated (does it need lots of watering? We've had quite a dry spell where I am at the moment).
I've got some patch repair stuff which I haven't done yet so hopefully that helps.

arbrighton Tue 25-Apr-17 11:52:53


Weed out, or apply weedkiller/ feed
Rake out thatch and moss in winter
aerate it and top dress it.

Depending on type of grass, watering might be necessary

fluffywuffydoda Tue 25-Apr-17 13:16:07

Thank you, looks like I better get weeding. What's top dressing? Honestly I don't have a clue, and what would you recommend for feeding?

arbrighton Tue 25-Apr-17 13:36:40

Top dressing is where you stick a fork in all over to aerate then add a layer of sand or compost to improve the soil, brushing it in.

I buy whatever lawn feed is on offer

EyeDrops Tue 25-Apr-17 13:40:01

Following with interest... we've recently moved into a new build house with a reasonable garden. The turf was laid mid-Feb and it has been quite rainy since, but there's still bare lines/strips between the turf strips and yellowy patches already!

I am not green fingered in the slightest sad

GingerKitCat Tue 25-Apr-17 13:50:29

Ask neighbour's son!!

I use weed, seed and mosskiller on mine (Wilko do a reasonably priced one, or Evergreen 4in1 is usually on offer in the DIY shops/ supermarkets from May onwards). Just don't apply it too heavily or your lawn will turn black! Good to do it before a decent rainfall so it gets watered in. Else you need to water it in with the hose (I do this anyway sometimes to help it soak in). I try to avoid using chemicals but life is too short for lawn weeds and this sorts them out a treat.

Mow regularly on a medium height blade to encourage the grass to thicken up and fill gaps.

Carry on raking and watering (in dry spells) as you have been smile

GingerKitCat Tue 25-Apr-17 13:58:38

I've not noticed cat wee affecting grass (thought the volume dogs produce was more of a problem) but I don't think any of the cats routinely go on the grass here grin. Cat's love loose soil, pea gravel and bark chips. Could you make an out of the way patch an attractive outdoor litter tray for your cat? Whenever I dig the soil to put new plants or seedlings in the cats are all over it angry

Maybe you can tempt her away from using your lawn although I appreciate cat's are contrary beasts. Would be nicer for your little one too if she doesn't have to dodge cat pop on the lawn!

GingerKitCat Tue 25-Apr-17 13:59:24

*cat poo!

sunnyhills Tue 25-Apr-17 14:51:43

I think lawns are tricky ,especially if your next door neighbour has a bowling green type one !

There is of course lots of info and You tube clips on care .But I can't bear to watch them as it does all look rather more than I could do .

You musn't be discouraged and view it as all hard work .Just do a bit within your time and capablities .

There's lots of weed and feed stuff you can put on your lawn - have a look in B&Q or Homebase or pound shop .

I think apply that rather than hand weed .

I did throw some lawn conditioner/dressing which I picked up from council dump on mine this year and I do think it helped .I had to water it afterwards .It does look like soil .

Watering does help ,and it has been very dry so far this year .So I would recommend picking up some weed and feed and also watering .
For lines between turf I'd recommend lawn conditioner /dressing and not weed and feed .Put it where the lines/yellow bits are .

Good luck .You can do it !

MissWilmottsGhost Tue 25-Apr-17 15:05:57

Best thing you can do is mow often (at least once a week) but with the mower blades on a long cut setting. It is tempting to cut the grass really short so you don't have to do it so often, but it is more likely to die off in patches if there is a hot dry spell.

For bare patches, you could rake them up a bit and sprinkle with new grass seed, but I use a bulb planter to cut bits of grass out where it is nice and thick, then plant the grass I cut out into the bald bits.

Your ndn's lawn might look really flat and even because it was grown from turf. Lawns grown from seed are always a bit more natural field like in appearance.

I don't care about a few weeds and coarse grass patches in mine as long as it is green and DD can play on it. No doubt my ndn with his pristine lawn mowed in perfect stripes is horrified grin

fluffywuffydoda Tue 25-Apr-17 16:36:02

Thank all so much for your comments, all such useful advice. Interesting what a few of you have said about not mowing on too low a setting. We recently got a petrol mower and my dp mowed it on low setting, since then I've noticed the patches.

It does however need a good watering, we've not really had much rain this month so I'll be off to purchase a new hose (last one went missing on house move). I'll definitely be purchasing some weed and feed, I'll try my best at digging out the weeds but it's quite a long lawn so wish me luck.

Regarding the cat she just stays in her own garden these days, she's getting old now and very lazy. She just poos on the grass, no attempt to bury it and believe me I've got an area with soil but nope, she wants to go on the lawn the little mare. She will however use a litter tray but I'm very happy to try the other methods mentioned.

sunnyhills Tue 25-Apr-17 21:51:41

fluffy I don't think the cat will cause much ,if any,damage to the lawn .

MissWilmott - genius idea about using the bulb planter to lift bits of lawn !

GingerKitCat Tue 25-Apr-17 22:45:04

Argh wrote a reply and the phone ate it!

There was a handy segment on lawn care on Gardeners World the Friday before last (April 14th?) which should be on YouTube or iPlayer.

Mowing on the shortest setting is the likely culprit. Never a good idea to mow tall grass on the lowest blade. Adjust your blades gradually to avoid scalping or tearing the grass smile It will respond favourably. Not to worry as you can restore the lawn quite easily!

I personally find the lawn products in the pound shop a false economy. They're rarely an all-in-one product and the pack sizes can be pathetically small. I do rate other things in their garden range honest!

Wilko is my go-to for lawn stuff. They sell lawn seed in boxes or loose in barrels so you can weigh your own amount grin

Here are a couple of links to the stuff I mentioned:
Evergreen 4in1 enough for 200m2

GingerKitCat Tue 25-Apr-17 22:47:11

Wilko own brand enough for 100m2

GingerKitCat Tue 25-Apr-17 22:50:32

Gardeners World lawn bit starts at 7:27

GingerKitCat Tue 25-Apr-17 22:51:45

ps good luck with the cat star

fluffywuffydoda Wed 26-Apr-17 09:38:39

Ginger that's great, thank you so much. I am utterly clueless about gardening so all this advice is just brilliant, the YouTube video is very informative for someone like me who knows nothing. I had to google what a bulb planter was and then watch a YouTube video on what it actually does, I was impressed smile.

I'm glad to know the cats wee isn't causing too much of a problem either.

Thank you for all your helpful comments

sunnyhills Wed 26-Apr-17 11:19:03

Oh some of us are equally clueless . I bought a bulb planter not realising that it wouldn't work on heavy clay like mine !

It's a learning curve .

GingerKitCat Wed 26-Apr-17 11:48:38

You're welcome, loads of good advice on this thread!

I only learned this stuff as my Dad is of the manicured lawn persuasion grin. I'm still learning...

Honestly all I really do to mine is apply the Wilko or Evergreen stuff once or twice a year (spring and autumn are the best times) and mow once a week/10 days...fortnight cough cough on a medium setting flowers

I sometimes get away with mowing on a low setting in summer once the grass has settled in although I usually experience the dreaded yellow grass the first time like anyone else. Then I water like a maniac if it's a dry spell

Occasionally I chuck some seed down if there are any stubborn bare patches. Wilko do two types in their barrels, one is a tougher grass designed for harder wearing (maybe shaded?) areas. The other is a lush 'premium' variety smile

Sorry for the essay grin I really don't do all that much and I have a really nice lawn now! Mowing is probably the most time consuming but I'm a weirdo and quite enjoy it. Housework not so much wink

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