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Have recently moved into a new-build, and when we moved in the quality of the lawn that the developer has laid was terrible. I've managed to recover it to how it looks now (below), but how can I make it even better?  The black patches you see are where I've added 'patch magic' to fill in some gaps, but you can see it still looks - overall - pretty poor.

I have just purchased some 4 in 1, seed, and more patch magic, so am going to do my best to get it looking pristine, but I'm an extremely inexperienced gardener and would therefore welcome all advice.

Many thanks,



Looks like it has been  laid badly, probably over lots of half bricks and other rubbish. Water regularly if you want to keep it. You may end up digging the lot up and sorting the soil out and then reseeding. Thats what my brother had to do.  In spring, some weed and feed, or just feed and mow regularly.


you are pushing it 

all too much too soon in your determination to get a perfect lawn in 5 minutes

i would let it be now for the will take a bit of a battering so wait now for spring.  You have put patch magic down....fine.  Put the rest down in April.  And your feed.

it looks like you have  cut grass very short or is it just my picture?  Raise the mower cut.  A healthy lawn should be cut regularly and with blades not too low


Don't use 4 in 1 at this time of year - you'll be setting up a load of new problems for yourself.  It's for spring application.

Leave your lawn alone now, apart from mowing as needed and as Verdun says, on a Med height cut.  

If we have a mild winter and it keeps growing, only mow on dry days, never when frost is forecast. 

The real work will start in the spring. 

DFW that is a typical new build lawn, builders remove all top soil down to clay then during building it all gets compacted often with rubble buried in holes. Once up the gardeners come in spread a few inches of topsoil on the pan then roll out the lawn which is normally a general hardy type rather than bowling green. If it is hot and does not get enough water it tends to curl and in places die off. I watched it happen around here as they built on the old market gardens taking all the good soil away and selling it as part of their perks. Some give up and it becomes the children's playground some try too hard with chemicals others take it all up and start again, it is heart breaking.

Forget the four in one take the advice given by Verdun and Dove leave it to over winter then start again in spring. A mild wet winter would help it recover from the stress and build up strength for next year. Watch it during wet weather as the hard pan under the lawn can stop drainage, if water pools on the lawn it will need some drainage sorting out. The bad news is it will never be a bowling green the good news it can with care become a reasonable lawn. Spring feed and weed read the instructions on the packet and less is better, water it in well then wait six weeks and do it again, meanwhile keep the blades of the mower up, I keep my lawns at one inch, most lawns are not level so you end up shaving parts if the blades are set low. All this is probably not what you want to hear but that is gardening and over many years I have learned to make the best of what we have, perfection is an illusion.




Frank - I said don't  use the 4 in 1 now - just like you I said leave it until Spring  ... so did Verdun 

You said more or less the same as us.   

Last edited: 16 September 2016 10:35:15

Dove, yes you did say DONT and I believe I repeated that. I always respect what you and Verdun say in answer to questions by new gardeners and did not query your answer about the four in one. Having seen the disappointment of some of the new Buy people around here I try to give advice for a fair decent lawn rather than a promise of wondrous turf as seen in pictures the builders use to sell houses. We have solid brick clay under us so the normal way of six inches of topsoil and roll out turf does not work, it becomes a pond in wet weather, as I said heartbreaking. Hope I did not offend you in some way.


"Perfection an illusion" Frank????    when I shave in the morning I see perfection.    Sometimes when seen admiring myself my niece agrees because she says "you're precious you are". Point proven.

despite that....and I am still shocked .....good practical advice Frank 


Frank   my mistake   I didn't see the word 'take' in the first sentence of your second paragraph.  Mea culpa - should have put my glasses on.

I'll get back to making the mint jelly 



Excellent advice, all gratefully received.

Therefore my plan for the coming 6 months is simply:-

a) Continue to mow whilst grass grows, but raise mower to 'medium' cutting height (it was on the lowest level, hence why the grass looks so poor)

b) Hold off on the 4 in 1 and apply this in the spring.

c) Give it time!

It's true I want everything NOW, but it's also true that this lawn will never be a bowling green. I knew this already as I've two young kids.....

One other question - should I put down seed in areas I consider as having poor grass coverage (such as the front left of the lawn, as you see in the picture) ??

Thanks again!


Verdun, Perfection is in the eye of the beholder, my Mother said I was a perfect idiot when I said I was joining the army, at that moment in time was I indeed perfect apart from in Mothers eye's? People have said to me "that was perfect" in my mind it was far from perfect you know you could do better. Watching Video's of my grandchildren doing their Medal Dances in Modern Ballroom dancing I was thinking that is perfect then remembered my own experience at their age and always the thought I could have done that better. Perfection Verdun, Sir, (I think you did mention shaving) is an affliction you climb up to that one moment you look in the shaving mirror then it is all downhill.

Dove I just made the same mistake not reading a subject correctly, we are all susceptible.


Daniel,  no!   sow your seed in spring.  Seed will germinate quickly in spring and grow away well.  Sow now and you are likely to have to resow in spring.  

most lawns are cut too short,...even scalped......and grass suffers as in your case.  Daniel, your grass will look so much better when longer and wear better so I would do nothing except mow.  Mowing little and least weekly .......will not stress the grass and is easier too 

Ha ha Frank...just read your post. 

Papi Jo

Dovefromabove wrote "Frank   my mistake   I didn't see the word 'take' in the first sentence of your second paragraph.  Mea culpa - should have put my glasses on."

Not so much a matter of eyesight as a faulty punctuation in the misread post, Dove.

Frank wrote "Forget the four in one take the advice given by Verdun and Dove leave it to over winter then start again in spring."

Should have read something like "Forget the four in one. Take the advice given by Verdun and Dove: leave it to overwinter, then start again in spring."

When reading posts on this forum, as a former teacher of English, I can't help cringing at the missing comma in such comments as: "Lovely Verdun" rather than "Lovely, Verdun". No doubt Verdun is a lovely person in his own right (even reaching perfection after shaving) but the poster probably meant his garden / flowers / photos etc looked lovely, not the man himself.

No hard feelings, Frank.

My favourite manual on this topic of punctuation is Lynne Truss's book Eats, Shoots & Leaves. The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation. Let me quote from the back cover:

“A panda walks into a cafe. He orders a sandwich, eats it, then draws a gun and fires two shots in the air.
"Why?" asks the confused waiter, as the panda makes towards the exit. The panda produces a badly punctuated wildlife manual and tosses it over his shoulder.
"I'm a panda," he says, at the door. "Look it up."
The waiter turns to the relevant entry and, sure enough, finds an explanation.
"Panda. Large black-and-white bear-like mammal, native to China. Eats, shoots and leaves.”

So, punctuation really does matter, even if if is only occasionally a matter of life and death.


Papi Jo says:

... as a former teacher of English, I can't help cringing at the missing comma in such comments as: "Lovely Verdun" rather than "Lovely, Verdun". No doubt Verdun is a lovely person in his own right (even reaching perfection after shaving) but the poster probably meant his garden / flowers / photos etc looked lovely, not the man himself.

 Hmm, I'm pretty sure that 99.9% of the time 'Lovely Verdun' is exactly what is meant 

just as 'Lovely Hosta' usually refers to the Forum member rather than a good looking plant 

Lovely Papi Jo 


Papi Jo, Could you define correct English as she is writ, you see I passed out from high school with very high marks in English the rules were obeyed and written as we were taught. I knew of nobody going to University from our area, it was night school and army education so forgive my missing comma's. From that time I have watched the language murdered changed and in the case of my youngest Daughter turned on its head, write the words as they sound to you was the principle at that time, spelling went out of the window, it took further education to right that wrong. You may cringe at missing comma's I look at the context of the written piece as long as it all makes sense why knock it.

This is a gardening board and all our replies were to a person asking for help, between us I think we made it clear the way forward, the answers to the question would be of far more interest to that person than whether every dot and exclamation mark was in place. Let us stick to gardening and if reading some of the content leaves you feeling sick my advice would be do not read it.


Oh no Papi Jo.......I resemble that .   "lovely Verdun" means the man himself of course.  I is shocked you got that wrong 

down here they do all call me "me 'andsome".....point made

I think.  

Oh!   I too is a fan of grammer and propa punktuashion  

Last edited: 16 September 2016 16:52:42

Could be worse, folks.

Take a sojourn into some of the Facebook forums and you'll find people posting exactly as they type their mobile phone messages.

Question the legitimacy of their idle, pidgin rubbish and you find yourself accused of being the Grammer Pollice.

I do it time and again, just coz I enjoy the reaction. 

Last edited: 16 September 2016 19:18:51


Thanks all,  though I've not a clue what the last 10 posts were about!!

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