Gardening is a remarkably relaxing pastime. There’s little more rewarding than throwing open the windows to be embraced by a rolling green lawn.
Looking after your grass is crucial, though. Without proper maintenance, your turf will soon look tired and brown.
Today is the first in a series of articles offering you some background information on taking care of your lawn.
Whether it's the rudiments of mowing or more heavy-duty maintenance involving a brush cutter, we've got you covered!
We’ll go back to basics now with some lawn care for beginners. In this first part of our article we will walk you through:
Mowing Made Simple
On the surface, mowing might seem like the easiest possible element of lawn care. You even see kids earning some extra cash mowing neighbor’s lawns so how hard can it be, right?
Well, mowing the lawn correctly is not rocket science but it does call for at least a little expertise.
Before anything, you’ll need to choose the right lawnmower. When it comes to garden tools, your mower will probably be among the most regularly used so it’s worth taking your time and investing in the best mower for your needs.
Hand-push mowers are very cheap and have no running costs. They are a smart option if you don’t have much grass to cut.
An electric mower is relatively inexpensive but you have the inconvenience of a cord. It’s worth considering cordless models or a pricier and more powerful petrol mower.
Mowing centers on 3 factors:
Before you start mowing, make certain your blades are nicely sharp.
If you mow with dull blades you will simply tear the grass rather than cutting it. Not only does this look unsightly, you will damage the grass into the bargain.
Whether you choose to sharpen the blades yourself or take the mower to your local garden center, don’t stint on this or you will pay the price.
Mowing the lawn can seem like a tiring proposition. It’s tempting to cut the grass back as closely as you possibly can to stave off the next session.
This is not a wise move. If you cut the grass back too tight to the root, it can easily become unhealthy, even start to die.
Give it a close shave but don’t go over the top. It’s all about balance.
If you leave the grass slightly taller and cut it more regularly, you will reap the rewards.
Little and often works best with mowing and the payoff is a lush and verdant landscape.
When To Mow The Lawn
In general, mowing takes place between March and October.
- Summer: Mow twice weekly. You can drop down to weekly during any very dry periods
- Spring and Fall: Mow weekly
- Winter: Mowing is not normally necessary. If the weather is extremely mild and the grass is still growing, mow very occasionally using the high cut setting. Don’t try to mow if the ground is soft or frozen
How To Mow The Lawn
Mowing itself is straightforward. The snag is getting the mowing height correct.
- Use the highest setting when you first mow the lawn in spring. Keep gradually reducing this cutting height until you reach your desired height. With fine lawns, this will be 1/4 inch – 1/2 inch. Standard ornamental lawns work best at 1/2 inch – 1 inch in the summer and up to 1.5 inches in the spring and autumn
- As mentioned, avoid excessively close mowing. This weakens the grass, promotes shallow rooting and lays you at risk of moss, weeds and drought. Take it too far back and you risk scalping the lawn and making nasty bare patches
- As a rule of thumb for cutting grass, don’t remove more than 1/3 of your leaf shoots in a single session
How Can I Get a Striped Finish?
Striped lawns are very eye-catching and fortunately not too difficult to create.
As long as your mower has a rear roller, getting this look is a breeze.
- Mow around the edge of your lawn
- With rectangular or square lawns, start from the left side. Mow all the way up and down. At each turn, overlap slightly as you mow the next stripe
- For circular lawns, use a focal point to line up your mower and get an initial straight line across the widest part of the lawn
- Empty the clippings regularly. If you let it fill too much, clippings can spill out and spoil the effect
- Use a weedeater for any tight corners
With your mowing routine established, you need to make sure that your grass gets adequate watering.
Here are some very simple pointers to get watering down pat.
Water Your Lawn 3 Times a Week
If you are heavy-handed when it comes to watering, you are likely to oversaturate your lawn.
Give it too little attention, though, and you won’t be doing your roots any favors.
Water 3 times a week for the ideal equilibrium.
Aim For 1 Inch Per Watering Session
This is the optimum amount to sidestep oversaturation while hydrating your lawn perfectly.
If you stick to 1 inch, the grass is able to adequately absorb the water.
Water Grass Early In The Morning
If you water the lawn early, the moisture can get down into the root system before it gets evaporated away by the morning sun.
Watering at night is liable to bog down the roots and give you nothing but soggy and saturated soil.
Make a point of getting up early when it’s watering time and you’ll see the best results.
Check For Puddles or Dry Spots
If your landscape is not completely flat, it pays to watch where the water runs.
Focus on watering any dry patches a little more.
When any puddles form, try to divert that water away.
We hope you have enjoyed this look at lawn care for beginners.
Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any queries or feedback. We’re always delighted to hear from our readers and we’ll get back to you promptly.
Don’t forget to pop back next week when we will continue our glance at lawn care 101.