Improve your lawn in 12 weeks

Perk up your lawn with our expert tips on mowing, feeding and watering, in this practical step by step guide.

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
To do
To do

Do not To do in January

Do not To do in February

Do To do in March

Do To do in April

Do To do in May

Do To do in June

Do To do in July

Do To do in August

Do To do in September

Do To do in October

Do To do in November

Do To do in December

Our lawns have it tough over winter. Come spring, they might be looking bedraggled or bare, and the battered soil beneath might be washed of much of its goodness. But if you still have a thin covering of grass, all is not lost – you can restore your lawn to its former glory.

Grass grows whenever temperatures rise above 7°C. With days lengthening and spring around the corner, early spring is the perfect time to begin a lawn rescue plan. It needn’t take up much time as the best results come from a ‘little and often’ approach. By summer you’ll have a healthy lawn that’s able to withstand the wear and tear of regular use.

Here’s our 12-week spring lawn action plan.

Grass grows whenever temperatures rise above 7°C. With days lengthening and spring around the corner, early spring is the perfect time to begin a lawn rescue plan.

You Will Need

  • Lawn mower
  • Half-moon edger
  • Garden fork
  • Lawn seed
  • Hosepipe
  • Edging shears
  • Wheeled applicator (if applying moss killer)
  • Spring-tined lawn rake

Step 1

Give grass its first cut as the weather starts to warm. Then mow in the other direction to catch any blades you missed. Rake up clippings so they don’t smother young, emerging shoots. Neaten edges with an edger.


Step 2

Improve aeration where growth or drainage is poor by pushing a garden fork 10-15cm into the soil. Wiggle it around to heave up the soil by a centimetre or so. Work backwards, spiking the lawn at 15cm intervals.


Step 3

If you want a lawn without weeds, dig up dandelions and plantains with a hand fork. In large areas, you may consider applying a selective lawn weedkiller. Mow in the opposite direction to the last cut to prevent a ‘knap’ forming (where grass lays flat in one direction). Rake out as much moss as you can, then apply moss killer. However, if you want a more natural look, where bees and other insects can forage for food, skip this step.


Step 4

Use a spring-tined lawn rake to rake out dead grass and moss in areas of poor growth. If the lawn is large, tackle a small area at a time or hire a powered scarifier. Collect the debris. Your lawn will look ragged, but will soon recover. Mow with the blades set low.


Step 5

Mow the lawn, but leave the clippings on to mulch the sward from now on. Feed with a slow-release fertiliser such as pelleted chicken manure, a spring lawn feed or a multi-purpose feed during a mild spell. Water in well if there’s no rain on the way. Trim the edges if necessary.


Step 6

Repair bare patches a few days after feeding. Break up the soil, scatter seeds, then sprinkle with potting compost. For thin areas, scatter the seed at half the rate stated on the packet, then lightly rake in. Cover newly sown seeded areas with netting to keep birds off.


Step 7

Mow the lawn weekly or fortnighly, depending on how you want your lawn to look. Leave newly sown areas of lawn to sprout, without mowing, and keep them well watered. You could use a sprinkler if the weather is dry.


Step 8

Firm in the roots of recently sown patches to ensure they establish well. If your mower has a roller, push it over the area with the engine off. Alternatively firm the grass gently under foot. Avoid mowing re-sown patches until the grass is 4cm tall.


Step 9

Keep mowing and edging your lawn when necessary. It should be looking healthy, dense and even by now. Make repairs after heavy use. Loosen the soil surface of damaged areas with a spring-tined lawn rake. On clay soils, spike with a fork to reduce compaction.


Step 10

Raise the mower’s cutting height in hot, dry weather and water newly sown areas well. Keep the lawn lush by applying slow-release fertiliser to established areas, and add a milder, diluted liquid seaweed feed to recently re-sown patches.