7 of the best summer lawn care tips you will ever read, fact.
True story: when summer kicks in, your garden becomes your own, personal oasis, and you should make it as ridiculously awesome as your childlike imagination allows. Install a zipline from your bifolds to your shed. Build a tiki hut for those after work drinks. Teach your nephew’s how to play chess on a giant outdoor chess board. Do anything you must to squeeze every last drop of fun out of the short English summer.
But, first, start with your lawn, because no matter what awesome extras you add to your garden, they’ll only look awesome if your lawn is awesome, fact.
It’s the twelve lemon centrepiece of your outdoor space. The focal point and the frame. The place you subconsciously gravitate toward when the days are brighter and evenings longer no matter what you’re planning on doing: getting the boys round for a Bae-B-Q, playing tag with the kids, pruning your bushes, flopping onto a sunlounger with that book you almost started last summer (probably in a lightweight jumper ‘cos it’s still England), or just having a chinwag with your next-door-neighbour, who you’re finally starting to get on with. Lawns are everything come summer, which is why you need to give yours a little TLC.
Sure, you should *probably tend to your grass’ every want and need throughout the year (*you really should), feeding it, removing moss, pulling weeds etc. The problem is: no matter how good your intentions might be, life can get in the way of your to-do list, as can the topsy-turvy English weather. But not this summer. No. This is the summer you take back control of your garden and make your lawn dazzle and wow like the Centre Court at Wimbledon.
So, without further ado, here’s how to bring your lawn into tip top shape so that your tiki bar and giant-sized bishops look even more glorious than you ever imagined they could. That’s the power of a sexy lawn.
1. Raise The Bar (On Your Mower)
To help you remember the importance of raising your mower deck to the 3.5” mark, I went on a two-month writer’s retreat and returned with this handy little poem:
Roses are red,
Your grass is green,
The longer their blades,
The better their roots will be.
That’s the basic premise of mowing high. The taller the grass blades are the more your lawn will be allowed to develop deeper roots, and deeper roots have a far better chance of seeking out water found underground (I like to picture the roots stumbling across a fast flowing subterranean river where every lost gnome is sat on the banks with their fishing rods). Anyway, it’s not just about the roots. It’s also about all about creating shade for the soil, which is important because it will help your lawn retain more water. Basically, try to mow nice and high all summer long.
2. Water In The AM
The thing about summer is it’s meant to get hot. And sometimes it does (remember that 32 degree-er, cor!). The issue is, as the mercury in your thermometre climbs higher and higher, your lawn starts to lose more water to evaporation. That’s why you need to be clever with your timings and make sure you water your lawn between 6 and 10am, although the earlier you do it the better. You could even water it last thing at night if you’re not an early bird.
3. Let Clipped Grass Lie
We checked, and the logic behind this act of laziness makes sense: there are natural nutrients (aka nitrogen) in grass clippings that will break down and help feed your lawn. However, there is a caveat that suggests you should only leave your grass clippings to mill about on your lawn during the hot summer months – and not when your clippings are wet or thick. This is because a) thick blades tend to become matted, which will stop nutrients, water and sunlight getting through to the roots, and b) wet grass clippings stick together (it’s sort of like how wet snow sticks together to make better snowballs, but also nothing like that), which can encourage disease. Nonetheless, it’s absolutely fine to leave grass clippings in your lawn if the conditions are right – and, in the summer, they are right.
4. It’s Time For… Weed Watch
Weeds suck. Not just to look at, but in every sense of the word suck (except maybe the literal sense). And the reason they suck is because they steal from your lovely lawn. Water, nutrients, sunlight, the tires off their cars, televisions, jewellery, everything. But instead of spot treating them with chemicals, which isn’t ideal for planet earth, try hand combating the heck out of them, which you can do by following our handy weeding guide or asking your Grandma because, come on, every grandma knows how to properly pull weeds.
5. Feed Them A Hearty Meal
According to what I can remember from my GCSE science revision book, the more sun there is the more your grass will grow, which is why you end up mowing your lawn twice a week in the summer. But with repeated cutting can come a nitrogen deficiency. Alas, it’s not a bad idea to feed them (your lawn, that is) some good slow release summer fertiliser to help it thrive. Bonus point: you’ll also help prevent any unwanted weeds and/or moss from gatecrashing your next BBQ.
6. Sharpen Your Mower Blades
You wouldn’t eat a steak with a blunt spoon because it would ruin the experience right? Well, the same goes for cutting your lawn with a dull mower blade. The only difference is, using a dull blade on your lawn won’t just ruin the experience, it will ruin your grass by tearing it, creating ragged edges that lose moisture faster and welcome disease in quicker. Simple.
7. Overseeding Is What Heroes Do
For whatever reason – harsh winter, heavy footfall, dogs peeing – lawns can start to look a little thin or patchy in places at times. Thankfully, overseeding your lawn is a surefire way to repair a damaged area and bring back that lush green grass you love popping on your Instagram. Of course, it’s not as simple as chucking some overseed about and hoping there’s no strong winds in the forecast. What you need to do to give your lawn the best chance at coming back to life is:
- Prep your lawn (pull weeds, remove any stones etc.)
- Scarify and then fertilise your soil with a quick release fertiliser
- Moisten the soil a little with a watering can before sprinkling about the seed
- Water it again and then roll the lawn