How to Do Basic Lawn Repair

lawn repairOne frequently neglected feature of your home that can make a big difference in the overall appearance of your property is your lawn. When your lawn is patchy, full of weeds, or overgrown it can make your home appear unkempt, regardless of how nice the inside is. Aside from affecting the general appearance, the condition of you lawn can also be a significant factor in determining the resale value of your home if you are thinking about putting it on the market sometime soon.

Take the time to make some improvements. You may be amazed at what a few basic lawn repairs can do to the aesthetic appeal of your property, and you can make major headway in a short amount of time. While the process of growing new grass will require a little patience as Mother Nature does her work, the actual time that you put in on physical labor will be minimal. Here are few steps that you can take to get your yard looking like new by the end of the season.

The first thing that you need to do is get rid of everything that isn’t supposed to be there. This means any dandelions, thistle, or unsightly clusters of weeds need to be removed. There are several ways to go about this, but the best way is still with a small hand shovel. Some folks also find that a long, flat-headed screwdriver works well. Don’t just tear the weeds off at the surface level. You need to get the entire plant, roots and all, out of the ground. A common mistake that people make is to pull up the weeds and then just leave them lying on the ground to chop up with the lawn mower. Believe it or not, this is actually counter productive. When you leave the dying weeds on your lawn or shop them up, you are releasing all of the seeds that they are holding right back into your lawn. If you do this, then next year you will have to repeat the process. When you pull the weeds, place them right into garbage or a lawn refuse bag.

Once all of the weeds are out of the ground, then you need to tend to the bare spots. Before you begin planting new grass seed, make sure the soil on these spots is ready and able to grow things. If the ground is very rocky or hard, then the seeds will most likely wash away before they have a chance to take root. If the ground isn’t ready for seed, then buy some topsoil to spread over these areas. You can buy bags of topsoil at your local landscaping or home improvement store and these bags are ideal if you have a few small areas. If you have larger areas of ground to cover, then you may want to consider buying a truckload of dirt. Check with your landscaping supplier about companies that offer this service in your area.

There are several options available to you when you are ready to seed the repaired areas. The traditional way is to buy a bag of grass seed and spread it by hand. Straw is usually spread over the seeded areas. There are several reasons for doing this. First, the straw keeps the newly sewn seed from washing away when it rains and when you water it. Second, it will help hide your new grass seed from the birds, who will view you lawn patches as a free lunch. Third, the straw will act as a thermal barrier, holding in ground heat and helping your grass to grow quickly.

Another option that has become available in recent years is a little more expensive, but slightly lower maintenance. You can buy a roll that looks just like carpet pad. In this roll is grass seed, nutrients, and a bonding agent that holds everything down. Simply roll this pad over the bare areas and water it according to the instructions. As the pad begins to disintegrate over time, grass will begin to grow underneath it. These work surprisingly well and many folks find the few extra dollars to be well worth it.

Proper follow up is the most critical aspect of your yard improvement project. Make sure that your new grass gets plenty of water and that you don’t get to anxious about cutting it. Mowing your new grass too soon can uproot the tender new shoots. If the grass is in direct sunlight, cutting it to soon can also cause the grass to burn.

After your new grass has had the time to grow and become a viable part of your yard, it is best to begin a lawn maintenance program. Many manufacturers sell seasonal treatments that will help your yard stay green, lush, and weed free. Applications for each season will not only ensure that your lawn looks good this year, but that it will continue to look better each year. This is a minimal investment to make and the applications usually only take a few minutes of your time once every 3 months. A good lawn program means that you won’t have to spend time pulling weeds and re-seeding every spring.

Of course, sometimes homeowners need a new lawn immediately. Whether you are hosting a backyard party or if your house is going up for sale unexpectedly, you may not have the time to nurture a yard back to health the old-fashioned way. In these cases, sod is your best bet. Rolls of sod can be purchased at most landscaping supply stores throughout the summer. The most important thing to remember when laying down rolls of sod is water, water, water. This is a quick way to solve your lawn problems, but it is also fairly expensive, so you’ll want to make sure that you take care of your investment.

Brian Simkins is a freelance writer living in Chicago. He enjoys using his 14 years of home improvement experience to educate and equip new home owners.

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Author: Brian Simkins