Caring for Your Lawn
If you are aiming for an immaculate lawn, you need to do a little more than mow it every few weeks. Regular feeding, watering, weeding, and trimming are necessary to give you a lawn to be proud of.
How Often to Mow
There are no hard-and-fast rules about how often you should mow, so be guided by the rate of growth of your lawn and the type of finish you want. Unless the weather is extremely mild, your lawn is unlikely to need cutting in winter, but it will need regular trimming from early spring until the fall.
Hard-wearing family lawns will need cutting once a week, while those maintained for their ornamental looks may need trimming up to three times a week at the height of their growing season. Start with the blades on their highest setting, then reduce the height of the cut as the season progresses; an eventual height of 1 inch (2.5 cm) is ideal for domestic lawns, while 3/4 inches (2 cm) is suitable in gardens where a more manicured look is required.
To prevent accidents, always ensure mowers are turned off when you are cleaning or otherwise maintaining them. Do not put hands or feet near blades when the mower is in use. Electric mowers should always be turned off at the main switch before you inspect or replace cutting blades.
Stripes and Edges
Alternating dark and light green stripes gives a sharp finish to a formal lawn. To achieve this, you need a mower with a rear roller. Mow in parallel rows, with each row in the opposite direction to the next. The stripes are most obvious from a distance, especially from above.
After mowing, put the finishing touches to your lawn by trimming the edges. Use a pair of long-handled edging shears to remove any overhanging grass. Edges can become uneven over time, so redefine them with a half-moon edging tool. Use a piece of wood as a straight-edged cutting guide. Remove all cuttings and trimmed turf.
Watering and Feeding
Recently created lawns will require regular watering to thrive, but established lawns are remarkably tolerant of drought. Although grass may turn brown in extended dry periods, the damage is largely superficial, and the grass will bounce back when the rain returns. Longer grass deals better with drought, so raise the blades of your mower to their highest setting. This encourages plants to become deeper rooted and avoids the risk of scalping the surface, which will pull out dry grass by its roots, leaving ugly bald patches in the lawn.
Most lawns will do well if fed twice a year. Give them a quick boost in spring with a liquid or granular formulation high in nitrogen, then strengthen up the roots for winter with an fall feed. Avoid using spring feeds later in the year since this can result in soft sappy grass, vulnerable to frosts.
Rolling a Lawn
A heavy roller, which can be rented if necessary, is traditionally used in spring to resettle the surface of the lawn after winter, especially if fall-laid turf was damaged by frost. However, rolling is not essential and can cause problems. The heavy weight may compact the soil, impeding drainage and leading to the conditions favored by moss. The perfect lawn demands tender loving care and a few tricks to get the lush, verdant look just right. You will also need the right tools.