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07/08/2013 at 14:31

i recently ripped out everything that was in my garden and decided now i have a son whos able to walk i'd love to give him a garden. so i started with the basics..... Grass.

after a few tonnes of soil to level out, lots of grass seed, water, raking, re-seeding etc etc. i ended up with grass varying from 8 inchs - 2 feet

how much of the grass should i be cutting in one go and how often should i be cutting it as i want it all the same length but have been advised againts just letting loose with a flymo


07/08/2013 at 14:41


You should not have let it go to 2 feet ot even eight inches

You need to cut it now but on the highest setting-not scalp it-but with a flymo that could be tricky-then gradually cut it shorter over the coming 2/3 weeks.

So not all in one go -but gradually.

07/08/2013 at 14:48

Not sure I'm fully grasping the problem  antony - why is the grass such different lengths? Do you have hollows and bumps in the ground or the type of seed you've used?

Normally you cut about a third of the height off, and cut once a week or so in the growing season, so you'd need a mower that you could adjust accordingly so that you can gradually reduce it's height withou causing too much stress to the grass. If you can't do that, you'll have to just cut it and let it grow to a reasonable height that will suit the mower you have, then maintain it.  When it's around 3" long that's the stage when you'd say 'it's badly needing cut!' Aim to keep it around a couple of inches long during the summer months so that it doesn't get parched and brown if there's not much rain. It  depends on the type of climate you have in your area too,so it may not need to cut as often in dry areas but may need more in wetter ones. 

Hope that's of some use but if you can post a pic or give more info it helps too! 

07/08/2013 at 20:00

Thanks for that Fairlygirl, it ended up at different lengths due to a combination of things... The awkward hours i work, patches not growing to begin with and needing re-seeding, then with the rain we had i couldn't get the lawn mower out, i've just had twins too so for the past few months its been more important for me to do things inside the house than out an its just ended up very long in patches and very short in others. I'll get the shears out and gradually start snipping until its a managable height for the lawn mower to handle. Thanks again

07/08/2013 at 20:58

Antony - perhaps you could invest in some sheep if the flymo's no good!!

You have plenty on your plate with new twins so I wouldn't worry too much about the grass. If you chop it down and let it get back to a manageable height you can take it from there! In another month the growth will slow a bit anyway and you'll get some rain in the coming weeks to revive it, so it won't be too bad going into the autumn and winter.  Then you can start on it next spring with a new maintenance programme!  

18/08/2013 at 12:56

well, i did as you said Fairygirl..... and it looks a damn sight better than i thought. At first it worried me that by cutting back so much i'd damage the grass but luckily we haven't had much sun but a lot of rain... however, i now have another problem. when i walk over the grass hundreds of little tiny flying things all shoot up in the air as if they're escaping but i don't know what they are (my mrs says that maybe they're gnats laying eggs as we usually have big clouds of them appear in the evening and also i've noticed a fair few wasps landing on the now very short grass and scurrying about?? are they laying eggs too? if so how can i stop them as the last thing i want is to be stung by the bloody things.

18/08/2013 at 13:33

Wasps are great predators antony so they're probably just eating whatever's there. Crane flies lay their eggs in the grass but it doesn't sound as if that's what you're seeing if they seem to be small. Don't have any experience of gnats but perhaps that's the answer. Someone else will probably know. 

18/08/2013 at 13:43

Interesting story Antony.  Welcome. Congrats on the twins.

Now you have your grass at reasonable height try to cut it regularly .  Is it big area?  Often it is just as quick to cut whole lawn as it is to cut just a part of it.

I think those "flies" just enjoyed nesting in your lomg grass, enjoying the moisture and cover.  After a couple of mowings I think they will disappear. Wear boots but keep on top of the mowing.  It will be a great area for your twins to play on next year

18/08/2013 at 13:59

Now the grass is shorter the birds will be able to get at all the insects so they won't be a problem 

When I told someone he needed to mow his lawn at least once a week in the summer he was appalled - it seems he used to mow it a couple of times a year Nevertheless we still bought the house.

Now OH is following my lawn-mowing instructions and the lawn is getting better and better.

Lawns need mowing more often than a lot of people realise if you want a lovely thick and soft greensward that your twins will be able to run about on barefoot next summer 

18/08/2013 at 14:04

Yes- mowing's best done little and so many things in life! 

18/08/2013 at 17:53

Im going to really try hard to help you "but" you must promise to think about what im saying before you reply,

Gardening is all about time, its no good trying to speed the garden up and not use a lot of patience And know how.

If you continue to do as you've already done and jump in thinking i'll just sow seed and a wonderful lawn will appear "your wrong"

You'll only end up spending money hand over fist and getting little of any value back.

So lets look at how to do any gardening and really enjoy the results,


You must plan and to do this you'll need to know what you want ie in your case a lawn for your little one to play on.

The very best way to plan is to have the know how in your hands when your ready to take in the plans on how to make your lawn,

One of the very best ways is in book form,

By having the book on the subject you'll be able to read up "All " the info in your own selected time.

Now if you would have sown your lawn in september the chances are the seeds would have germinated but because of the weather in september not being so hot and as wet  as the earlier months your grass wouldnt bolt so quick, and grow as fast "hence less cutting "but the grass roots would grow thick.

The best place to buy gardening books a bit cheaper is the likes of red cross /animal rescue shops / oxfam etc etc etc;

Now the good thing about getting books from these sorts of places is that the books are given as the norm by people who's loved ones have passed away

But these books we're bought by keen gardeners and more than not written by good gardening writers who have a string of letters after their names for the subject they've wrote about,

Unlike a lot of modern gardening books that not only are very thin in papges but spend a complete page "A4 " size showing us what a cabbage looks like, or half a dozen pictures of the latest heart throb to write a gardening book with no gardening experience what so ever,

Years ago you had to know your subject before any company would print it and these older books from the likes of oxfam shops etc really are worth there money

but because theyr'e used books tend to be a lot cheaper .

You'll be giving yourself the very best chance of "YOU" knowing what to do as explained by the very best garden writers.

Forums such as this one is mainly the amature gardeners giving there own ideas on how to do such & such and if you asked 10 amature gardeners the same question !! chances are you'll get 10 differing replies,

So if you want to save yourself time & money read up on the subject and have the book's at hand should you need to re-read.

You'll then after a few attemps of growing correctly & getting first class results be able to help others out on forums such as your reading now.

I hope you take this advice as its given and not get annoyed as its given to help you understand why and where your going wrong.

18/08/2013 at 20:07

Well it's only grass and  I think Antony just wants somewhere for his children to play - he's not looking to take up crocquet or bowls. Easy to get a bit precious about it all. Keeping it tidy is all that's needed for the time being I should think - enough to do when you have 3 small children! 


18/08/2013 at 20:14

i've mown patches of weeds for a season and created something good enough for playing on. there's always a certain amount of grass in a good weed patch and it responds well to mowing while the other weeds don't. Just mow for a few weeks and your lawn will be fine.

18/08/2013 at 20:17

If it's just for kids to play on, just mow it regularly. I wouldn't bother weeding and feeding.mow it on the highest setting, don't scalp it.

18/08/2013 at 21:01

Don't worry about it too much Antony about getting something looking like a billiard table because, it will get used for football, cricket, paddling pools, playing tennis, to name but a few. As for keeping plants looking good, forget it.

But I'm only an amatuer gardener. What do I know?

18/08/2013 at 22:17

This is just what im talking about,

The question asked was how did i go wrong and what do i do,

All the removal of all that was on this plot and the getting of top soil/seeds etc should tell the average person that antony wanted a nice lawn not a field,

And as i said to him have a good think before you reply,

The reason for making sure you know what your doing isn't just the money factor

(but christ only knows a child will soon help him understand he cant just chuck the stuff away  by lack of experience,

But saftey in what you plant and know the danger of planting the wrong things when a child is "now" here is also something to think about now before you make a bad mistake.

IE fox gloves "ring any bells to anyone ref poison !!!!" and im sure one or two members can name a few more that shouldnt be in a childs reach.

Tina, dont you agree if you take the time to know what your doing in the garden you can play safe and have a nice lawn for your child to play on, or do you think a field idea is a safer place for a child to play?


Is it safe to use weed & feed with a child crawling over the garden? How long after using such a chemicle is it safe to let a child crawl over such a treated area??

No ones talking about a bowling green, Im talking about how to go about gardening from the start in order to have an unstanding how and when's the best time to do things in the garden,

18/08/2013 at 22:51

Am I living in a parallel universe???

I think Antony just wanted some advice about maintaining his grass so that it's suitable for his young kids to play on. I doubt if he's planning on creating Versailles or Vaux le Vicomte just yet. 

18/08/2013 at 23:19

Well, SD, from my experience, having had 3 children + their friends playing all sorts in the garden, the last thing Antony wants is a lawn he doesn't want spoilt or plants he doesn't want hit with a football, or a prize plant picked, etc.  Time will come when he can have his wonderful green carpet and all the plants he desires, but not for a while yet, unless he wants high blood pressure and miserable children.  All I ever did was keep the grass cut and have easy maintainable shrubs. Roses all went plus anything that was dangerous. Perhaps others think I'm talking a load of rot, but it worked for me. Just have a bag of grass seed handy for all the bald patches that will undoubtedly appear.

19/08/2013 at 07:48

Lets hear from Antony on what he wants,

Ive friends and family who have children, and the start of the rest of their lives is what they can & cant do, where they can and cant go and sharing,

If a parent wants to have a garden as a hobby then it should be just that "not just for the children only,

The children will understand a lot more if they know they're not allowed to wreck everything in sight in the name of being a child,

ref asking advice ref maintaing his garden it was given via learning from the start

and not having grass 2 feet high in places and then coming on here asking we're have i gone wrong !

As ive said the question was asked and so far Antony has had a mixed bag of replies,

He's already found out its cost him good money for a mess of a lawn,

Now it's up to him to decide what road to take ref future gardening task and how to go about them.


19/08/2013 at 10:22

Antony just wanted advice on cutting his new Lawn.

I would cut it now on the highest setting on my lawn mower making sure there is no grass laying down Antony if you have grass that is laying down rake it and then cut it at the same high you've just cut it at.

Then leave it two to three days to recover we have more hot weather on the way so don't be to eager to cut it to short yet as it will do more harm than good at the weekend cut it and your next lower setting I would cut this late in the evening so the sun is not burning it all day.

Leave your mower at that height for a week or two in fact I would leave the mover height in the middle setting for the rest of the year grass that is to short is not healthy, Your new grass needs to put down a good root system to see it through the winter.


 I bought a lawn expert book from homebase for about five pounds which is a good investment as I would imagine you've spent around £200.00+ already

I do hope this helps you





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