Whether you enjoy spending time outdoors or hosting backyard barbecues, you’ll want to make sure your grass is green and healthy this summer. And while cutting grass may seem easy enough, chances are, you’re probably making some common lawn care mistakes that could ruin your garden.
In addition, avoiding these mistakes will make life easier, and less work when it comes to maintaining a lush lawn. So, before you get out the lawn mower to tackle your garden, here are seven common lawn care mistakes you’re probably making right now.
Once you're done here, check out our guide to 7 lawnmower mistakes you're probably making (opens in new tab) right now. And if your lawn looks burnt, check out these 7 ways to revive a dried lawn and make it green again. Also, here are 5 reasons to buy an electric lawn mower if you're thinking of upgrading.
1. Planting grass in areas where it won’t grow
It’s always handy to learn how to plant grass seed to make your lawn greener, but a common mistake is to grow grass where it’s simply not meant to live. Grasses require full sun to thrive, so if you’re planting seeds in shady areas, these may not survive. Instead, it’s recommended to use ground cover plants that suit the soil and aspect of your garden. “It is important you understand the makeup of your garden from the soil to its position,” agrees Anna Hampshire from Marshalls, the landscaping experts. ”This will ensure you can prepare your garden effectively for the sunshine. From positioning garden furniture in shade or sun trapped areas to knowing whether or not to add mulch to planted areas, having knowledge of what’s required will be sure to make the heatwave a little kinder to your outdoor space.”
Bear in mind that different kinds of grasses are successful in different regions of the country. So be sure to choose the grass seed best suited for your region.
2. Mowing in the same direction all the time
We all have our mowing technique, but never cut grass in the same direction each time. This will prevent the ‘bending over’ of the grass blades to create that lush and healthier lawn. Ideally, you need the grass blades to stand up, but if you find that your grass is starting to bend over horizontally, run a light rake over the lawn before mowing. If you want to be fancy, you can also learn how to stripe your lawn to make it look bigger.
If your lawn mower is tearing the grass rather than cutting it, be sure to check out how to sharpen lawn mower blades.
3. Overwatering the grass
Overwatering our lawn is a common mistake, especially during warmer weather. Quite often, we feel that the more water it gets, the greener it will become, but it can actually do the opposite. “Overwatering grass can lead to its demise,” agrees Anna from Marshalls, “therefore, grass should be watered during the cooler time periods and only once a week. When watering grass you are looking to water deeply to ensure there’s enough water to see through a drought.” If you want to upgrade your lawn, learn how to lay sod to upgrade your lawn all year round.
4. Cutting the grass too short
We all want a neat and tidy lawn, but cutting the grass too short can actually damage the grass. This makes the root systems too shallow and unable to soak up all the essential nutrients. Experts suggest cutting your lawn down to 2 ½ to 3 inches for a healthy height to thrive. In addition, always ensure your mower has sharp blades, as dull blades will tear, rather than cut the grass, which not only looks messy, but can cause damage to the grass.
5. Not watering plants properly
Similar to overwatering grass in the summer, plants should only be watered once a day during the cooler periods. “A natural instinct during a heatwave is to water plants multiple times a day”, advises Anna from Marshalls, “Instead plants should be watered once a day during the cooler periods, in the morning or evening using a watering can.”
6. Using too much fertilizer
Another common lawn care mistake is to pile on the fertilizer, especially when the grass is brown. In fact, excess fertilizer will only get washed away in the rain, which ends up being costly and damages plants. Always follow the directions on the bag and only apply the recommended amount (and nothing more!). In addition, skip powdered or granular fertilizer just before a shower or else it will run off in the rainwater.
7. Not clearing up clumped grass on the lawn after mowing
Not all lawn mowers will catch every trace of grass cuttings, so always remove clumps of clippings. If left on the lawn, this blocks sunlight to your grass which will cause blades to die, or yellow leaves. Once dry, simply remove cuttings with a quality rake like this Garden Rake Heavy Duty Bow Rake ($37, Amazon (opens in new tab)), to achieve a spotless lawn.
Other tips for lawn care
- Remove weeds, thatch and moss. Learn how to get rid of dandelions without ruining your lawn and how to dethatch a lawn
- Aerate the soil to allow better penetration of air and water to the root of the grass blade
- Mow your lawn regularly. Experts advise at least once a week in summer and once every two weeks during spring, autumn and warm winters
- Ensure your lawn has good drainage to prevent it from getting waterlogged
For more outdoor tips, tricks, and how-tos, check out our guides on how to plant sunflower seeds and when to do it, how to plant potatoes and how to grow tomatoes in pots. You'll also want to read how to prune hydrangeas, how to care for an orchid, and how to care for air plants. If you're in the market for gardening tools, take a look at the best pruning shears.
Also check out the best time to water your lawn according to the experts.