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How to revive a tired lawn

If your lawn has seen better days due to wear and tear and months of neglect, or you’ve inherited a moss-laden lawn, then this guide will help you bring your patch of green back to life in no time.

Early spring or autumn is the ideal time to revive your lawn when the weather isn’t too warm or wet. Arm yourself with the right equipment, set aside a few hours and you’ll be surprised how quickly your lawn becomes verdant and healthy-looking again.

Don’t have the time to nurture your tired lawn back to health? We hear you! We can put you in touch with the very best gardeners and landscapers near you. They’re checked and recommended by us. Request a quote now – we’ll get our landscapers to get in touch.

How to revive a lawn

How to revive a lawn

If you want to give the job a go yourself, set aside an autumnal weekend, arm yourself with these tools and follow the steps below:

Tools you’ll need

  • Spring-tined lawn rake
  • Garden fork
  • Lawn seed
  • Hand fork
  • Watering can
  • Compost
  • Lawn fertiliser

Why not hire one of our professionals to help you do the job? Price up your project using our lawn treatment service guide.

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How to revive a dead lawn

Most lawns aren’t actually dead, they are simply dormant. The quickest way to test if your grass is dead is by watering it. If it doesn’t start turning green after a few days of watering, then it is likely to be dead. At this stage, we’d say call in a professional gardener to help with this mammoth task. You can also read our guide to laying grass for plenty of useful hints and tips.

However, if your grass appears to be having a little doze, here’s how to wake it from its slumber:

Step one

Using a spring-tined lawn rake, vigorously rake the lawn to remove moss, creeping stems, and decaying material, like leaves, that may have accumulated over time. This is also known as scarifying. Don’t be worried if the lawn ends up looking worse than it did before – it won’t take long for the new grass to recover quickly and be more healthy as a result of your ravaged raking.

Step two

Over time, lawns can become compacted due to heavy use, so it’s important to aerate the lawn. Wait for some rain to moisten the ground, and then, using a garden fork, spike the surface about 8cm deep every 15cm. This will encourage the roots of the grass to grow and improve drainage, preventing waterlogging in the colder, wetter months.

Top tip: If the heat or dehydration is the culprit for your grass going dormant, sufficient water should get it growing again. However, don’t overwater it – drowning grass is just as bad as dehydration!

Step three

If your lawn is suffering from brown, dry patches due to hot weather and drought, these can easily be restored. Simply loosen the bare soil with a hand fork and scatter grass seed over the exposed soil.

Step four

At this stage, you could choose to add some more grass seed over the entire lawn to spruce it up even further. Cover the lawn with a  thin layer of compost to protect it while it germinates and water generously. The brown patches will green up again before winter sets in. Finally, sprinkle the entire area with lawn fertiliser (following the manufacturer’s instructions) to make the roots stronger.

Common mistakes people make: Leaving weeds to grow back. Weeds steal valuable moisture from the grass’s roots – the grass you are trying to maintain. Be sure to remove all the weeds from their root so they can’t grow back.

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How to revive a lawn after scarifying

If a lawn isn’t maintained, over time, moss and thatch (decaying materials) will build up and prevent water from reaching the grass roots, resulting in dry patches and an ugly looking lawn. The process of removing this build up of moss and thatch is called scarifying, and a scarifier tool can be used instead of a rake to scratch through the blades of grass and soil to remove the debris. Similar to a lawnmower, lawn scarifier tools are either electrical or manual and can be purchased or hired.

Once you’ve scarified the lawn several times, sprinkle a layer of grass seed if your lawn is looking particularly tired. This is optional, but it will help to give it a lush pick me up! Then cover the seed with a mixture of some fine compost and sharp sand to protect it. Finally, give it a good water and a sprinkle of lawn fertiliser to encourage strong roots.

We highly recommend calling in a professional gardener to scarify your lawn as the process can be extremely laborious. If you want to know what it could set you back, check out our lawn scarification cost guide to find out. 

How to revive a lawn after scarifying

How to revive a brown lawn

Has the recent heatwave turned your lawn dry and brown? Don’t worry, it can be bought back to life with these simple pointers:

  • Scratch through the grass with a rake or scarifying tool to help the lawn absorb moisture
  • Aerate the lawn with a fork to deliver moisture to the roots
  • Give it a good mow but leave one-third of the grass blades, and leave a scattering of grass cuttings on the lawn to add much-needed moisture
  • Water generously and feed with lawn fertiliser, but avoid high-nitrogen fertilisers which can hurt the lawn if the hot weather returns

Top tip: If your brown grass spots are limited to small areas, it could be a result of pets weeing on it. Water the grass thoroughly to bring it back to health and train your pet, or encourage neighbouring cats, to wee somewhere else.

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How do you treat a worn lawn?

It’s great that your lawn is getting lots of action from entertaining and kids playing on it, however, bare soil and areas of impoverished growth can soon look a little ugly.

The easiest and simplest way to revive a lawn is to re-seed these individual areas. Turn the soil over, rake it to remove debris, and sow seeds onto a level seedbed. Cover with a thin layer of topsoil and water generously. You could also protect the patches with netting to prevent little’uns stepping on them.

Will dried-out grass grow back?

In a word, yes. Be patient, as you might have to wait a few seasons for it to come back.

Like what you see? There’s more where this came from. Why not check out our blog for more tips, how-tos and household inspiration? 

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