Our lawns have it tough over winter. Come spring, they may have bare patches or have developed areas of moss or weeds. 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 temperatures rising, 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.
Browse our 12-week spring lawn action plan, below.
Looking for the right kit to help you get your lawn into shape? Our experts have tested a range of manual and powered aerators and scarifiers – check out the best scarifiers and best aerators reviews. You can also keep edges looking neat with our pick of the best lawn edging.
How to get a perfect lawn
You Will Need
- Lawn mower
- Half-moon edger
- Garden fork
- Lawn seed
- Edging shears
- Wheeled applicator (if applying moss killer)
- Spring-tined lawn rake
Give your lawn its first cut as the weather starts to warm. First mow in one direction, and then mow again in another direction to ensure you catch any blades you missed. Rake up clippings so they don’t smother young, emerging shoots. Neaten edges with a lawn edger.
- Choose the right mower for your garden with our buyer’s guide videos
- Lawn mower reviews
Improve aeration where growth or drainage is poor by pushing a garden fork 10-15cm into the soil. Wiggle it around to heave the soil up by a centimetre or so. Work backwards, spiking the lawn at 15cm intervals.
If you want a manicured lawn without weeds, dig up dandelions and plantains with a hand trowel. In large areas, you may consider applying a selective lawn weedkiller. When mowing, always 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 if desired. However, if you want a more natural look, where bees and other insects can forage for food, skip this step.
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.
From now on, when you mow the lawn, leave the clippings in place to act as a nutrient-rich mulch that will feed the grass. To help your lawn even further you can also feed the grass with a specific lawn fertiliser. Add 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.
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.
Mow the lawn weekly or fortnightly, 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.
For help in choosing a hose see our expert reviews on hoses and hose reel kits.
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.
Keep mowing and edging your lawn when necessary. After just a few weeks, it should be looking healthy, dense and even. 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.
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.