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    • NurseMoneySaver1122
    • By NurseMoneySaver1122 4th Jul 17, 3:12 PM
    • 198Posts
    • 10Thanks
    Taking on the lawn but clueless!!!
    • #1
    • 4th Jul 17, 3:12 PM
    Taking on the lawn but clueless!!! 4th Jul 17 at 3:12 PM
    Hi everyone

    So I'm not sure if anyone can help but here goes.

    I'm taking on my parents lawn to help them out, however I'm more than clueless about what I'm doing!

    So a few years ago they literally threw a load of sand over the grass to assist the dog they had at the time (long story!). Since the dog passed away, about 4 or so years ago now, they've pretty much left the lawn and over time, the sand has kind of gone and grass, weeds and all sorts of rubbish grows through. My mum tends to deal with this by literally pulling it out by hand!

    So basically I want to sort it out and get the small area back to nicely growing grass, but I'm literally clueless where I need to start!

    I don't know if I need to just dig it up and put soil down etc or dig it up and throw grass seed down!

    A photo would probably help you guys to answer my question, but I don't know how to (if it's even possible in this forum) to add a pic!?

    So does anyone have any advice, or can point me to a good website that isn't simply trying to sell products?? Also, any recommendations for actual products based on success you may have had yourselves would also be appreciated

    Thanks in advance
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    • martinthebandit
    • By martinthebandit 4th Jul 17, 3:20 PM
    • 3,463 Posts
    • 5,932 Thanks
    • #2
    • 4th Jul 17, 3:20 PM
    • #2
    • 4th Jul 17, 3:20 PM
    Politics -
    from the words Poli, meaning many
    and tics meaning blood sucking parasites

    (thanks to Kinky Friedman (or Larry Hardman) for the quote}
    • mysterymurdoch
    • By mysterymurdoch 4th Jul 17, 10:35 PM
    • 136 Posts
    • 106 Thanks
    • #3
    • 4th Jul 17, 10:35 PM
    • #3
    • 4th Jul 17, 10:35 PM
    Start cutting it and see how it looks then
    • Laz123
    • By Laz123 5th Jul 17, 8:59 AM
    • 1,498 Posts
    • 918 Thanks
    • #4
    • 5th Jul 17, 8:59 AM
    • #4
    • 5th Jul 17, 8:59 AM
    I'd advise re-turfing it. Once grass is neglected for too long it's had its day and no amount of repairing will resurrect it. You can hire a rotavator for less than 50 per day and depending on the size turn won't be too expensive.
    There's no present. There's only the immediate future and the recent past.
    George Carlin
    • Ebe Scrooge
    • By Ebe Scrooge 5th Jul 17, 10:09 AM
    • 4,127 Posts
    • 3,569 Thanks
    Ebe Scrooge
    • #5
    • 5th Jul 17, 10:09 AM
    • #5
    • 5th Jul 17, 10:09 AM
    In addition to the good advice posted so far - depending on how far gone it is, it's worth trying an application of one of the many "weed and feed" products ( available at any garden centre or DIY shop ). Follow this with regular cutting throughout the growing season. Over the course of a few months, the cutting will weaken and eventually kill most of the weeds, allowing the grass to take over.

    It's not an overnight fix, but it is very cheap and not too much work.

    If this doesn't help then it may be a case of - as a previous poster mentioned - removing what's there and re-turfing. Turf is quick and fairly simple to lay, laying seed will be cheaper but take longer to establish - and will need some protection to stop the birds eating the seed until it's started to get going. In either case, preparation is everything. Time spent on making sure the soil is dug, well-drained, raked, levelled and firmed down properly will pay for itself many times over in the long run.

    But re-laying a lawn is a lot more work, and more costly, than rescuing what's there, if it's in any way salvagable. So I'd be tempted to give the weed 'n' feed option a try first, and see how it goes.
    I may not know much about art, but I know what I like.
    • Grenage
    • By Grenage 5th Jul 17, 10:27 AM
    • 1,422 Posts
    • 1,330 Thanks
    • #6
    • 5th Jul 17, 10:27 AM
    • #6
    • 5th Jul 17, 10:27 AM
    As above, it can be a lot of effort to rescue a lawn, especially if you want prompt results. A harsh cut and the aforementioned weed and seed is probably the most pragmatic approach.

    For a very good lawn, you'd need to remove the old sod, re-level, and reseed - and this is far from the ideal time of year.

    Alternatively, if you are in no rush, you could cover the lawn until rots (6+ months), then rake it even and reseed.

    It depends on the size, and how much you like manual labour. Maybe just start with the weed and seed.
    • glasgowdan
    • By glasgowdan 5th Jul 17, 5:36 PM
    • 2,856 Posts
    • 3,201 Thanks
    • #7
    • 5th Jul 17, 5:36 PM
    • #7
    • 5th Jul 17, 5:36 PM
    I've turned awful looking fields into respectable amenity or hard wearing lawns with two seasons of regular mulch cutting and some weed control.
    • moxter
    • By moxter 17th Jul 17, 11:35 PM
    • 98 Posts
    • 95 Thanks
    • #8
    • 17th Jul 17, 11:35 PM
    • #8
    • 17th Jul 17, 11:35 PM
    If this is a lawn that's had no love, then laying down new turf is likely to be an expensive mistake. Unless it gets serious love afterwards then it'll end up looking even worse than what you've got now, but you'll be hundreds of pounds poorer.

    Grass is resilient stuff. Start by taking some photos of what you have now. In a few months time you might feel frustrated that the lawn isn't looking great, but with a bit of effort I guarantee it'll be looking a lot better than it is now.

    Start with the basics. Mowing is essential if not sexy. It doesn't just keep the grass looking neat, it's actually a bit like pruning - the more the grass gets cut, the stronger it grows back. Weeds on the other hand don't like being sliced so they weaken. Actually that's not entirely true, some of the weeds slip underneath the mower blades so you'll have to tackle them by hand. But in time, when the grass learns to grow harder, the weeds will feel like they're trying to grow in a more hostile environment.

    There are other things you can do. Get a wire rake and twice a year, in spring and autumn, give it a very very vigorous raking - this is called "scarifying" - to get rid of all the moss and dead grass that is accumulating. The ground will look pretty brown afterwsards and your lawn will look a mess for a few days, but again it's allowing the grass to grow more strongly. You can get hand scarifying tools as well, or even hire a motorised one, but a wire rake is cheaper if you don't mind getting a bit sweaty.

    Fertilise it a couple of times a year as well - one with weedkiller if you must. You can also aerate the lawn, cheap option is a garden fork, just spike the ground to let some air in. You can also get tools which actually remove plugs of soil which allows it all to breathe that bit better. Afterwards mix some topsoil with some sharp sand and scatter it over the top, and mix in some more grass seed.

    If it's online advice you're after, Lawnsmith is pretty good - and not pushy about the products he is trying to sell.

    I'm actually in a similar position to you - my lawn was looking hopeless - but I've been happy with accepting it's not going to be a "great" lawn, I just want it to be OK.
    • NurseMoneySaver1122
    • By NurseMoneySaver1122 27th Oct 17, 1:08 AM
    • 198 Posts
    • 10 Thanks
    • #9
    • 27th Oct 17, 1:08 AM
    • #9
    • 27th Oct 17, 1:08 AM
    Thank you for all the great advice, it very appreciated, not to mention REALLY needed!

    So we decided against trying to save what was there. We were considering the seed option but we are now passing (if not already passed) the ideal time. However, from my research, it seems an ideal time to turf!? I appreciate this is the pricier option, however the actual grass area is tiny, approximately 9m2 (the back half of the garden will be edged off and stones put in place as that's where the shed etc is).

    So I dug up the mounds of sand that was put down years ago. It's not almost level with the adjacent path but still seems some sand is mixed in with the soil so I think I still need to take some more off yet too. My next step will be digging it to around 6" then adding some manure (so I've read!).

    In the mean time, I've attempted pulling the weeds out, but in the process many weeds broke off leaving the root behind! I was going to buy a glyphosate weed killer but I saw they work by spraying the leaves which then kills down to the root. But I now have no leaves to spray...but I'm sure there are many roots lower down! And I don't want to lay turf only to have real problems with weeds after because I haven't completed this step fully.

    So I basically need advice about my next best step?
    • sevenhills
    • By sevenhills 27th Oct 17, 9:12 AM
    • 1,071 Posts
    • 376 Thanks
    You can buy bags of topsoil quite cheaply, add this to level things off.
    I have repaired lawns cheaply using grass seed, which ever way you choose, you will still need to deal with weeds coming through. Turf is good, if you can spare the cash.
    Weeds can be killed at any time. It is not too late to seed, so long as the weather does not turn frosty.
    I have known grass seed grow in December, in a mild winter, that we seem to have more of.

    • Farway
    • By Farway 27th Oct 17, 3:13 PM
    • 6,088 Posts
    • 9,539 Thanks
    Depending on the weds but a lot will not survive once you start mowing, others will, like dandelions, but a weed & feed weedkiller applied as per instructions will work, as will old fashioned on hands & knees just grubbing them out
    • Apodemus
    • By Apodemus 28th Oct 17, 7:57 AM
    • 972 Posts
    • 795 Thanks
    I!!!8217;d be wary of removing sand and replacing with manure. Sand is good for drainage and reduces moss problems, but it all depends on how dry or wet your garden and surrounding soil is. If you are in a very dry part of the country then you want more organic matter in the soil, in a wet part you want more sand.

    Manure will introduce more weed seeds. While you can easily control the broad-leafed weeds later once the new turf is down, if coarser grasses seed themselves from the manure, the only way to get rid of them is to dig them individually by hand.
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