A good lawn brings all the elements of your garden together and creates a perfect area for fun and relaxation. It's easy to keep it looking good too.
How to keep your lawn looking good
With so many different models of lawnmower on the market make sure you are using one that is suitable for your lawn. You can find out more in out Lawnmowers Buying Guide, but choosing the correct model will save you time and effort.
When mowing try to vary your mowing pattern; if you always mow in the same direction it will compact the soil and make the grass lean in that direction. To get a striped lawn effect either use a mower with an integrated roller or, for a perfect finish, you could invest in a lawn roller.
Tidy the lawn edges in spring using an edging iron. If the edge is curved, try laying a piece of hose pipe on the ground as a guide.
Edges and repairs
It's often tricky to cut the edges of your lawn with a mower, so use edging shears or a power trimmer with an edging facility instead. A half-moon edging iron is ideal for cutting turf and reshaping lawn edges. To repair a damaged edge cut out a square of turf including the edge, turn it around and put the broken edge to the inside. Then fill the damaged area with soil and re-seed it.
Fertiliser is vital to keep your lawn lush and green. Feed it once in spring and once in autumn. If you've got a smaller lawn just scatter granular seed by hand or apply liquid feed with a watering can or sprayer. Bigger lawns are best fed using granular feed in a wheeled spreader. Always feed your lawn on a dry day but make sure the ground itself isn't too dry - water it first if necessary.
Take care when you use garden chemicals such as fertiliser or weedkiller. Always read the manufacturer's instructions before using them, and keep children and pets well out of harm's way.
It's a good idea to use fertilisers regularly, and choose one that's designed for the relevant season. If there are a lot of weeds in your lawn it's best to apply a combined feed and weed product. During long dry spells it's better to let your grass grow a little longer and not use any fertiliser until the drought is over.
Daisies and dandelions might look innocent enough, but they aren't good for your lawn. You can spot-treat them with a ready-to-use weedkiller, or sprinkle the whole lawn with a combined weed and lawn feed. Try to feed the lawn when you kill the weeds so you don't leave any bald patches. Use lawn weedkillers in spring when the weeds are growing at their fastest - but before they start to flower. If you'd rather not use a weedkiller you can pull the weeds up by hand instead.
You can level small hollows in your lawn with a top-dressing, which can be bought ready-mixed or you can mix your own. To make your own top-dressing, mix equal parts of sieved garden soil with sharp sand or horticultural sand (but not builder's sand). Sprinkle the mix evenly over the area with a shovel and spread it with the back of a rake so it's no more than 1cm thick. Then use a stiff broom to brush the dressing in, making sure the grass isn't buried.
Creating a new lawn
If you're deciding whether to create a new lawn from seed or lay turf, there are pros and cons to both. Seed isn't too expensive, but does take time to establish. Turf, on the other hand, gives you instant results and can be laid at any time of the year - but is much more expensive. But whichever method you choose, your new lawn will need time to establish itself and plenty of watering.