Lawns across the UK are beginning to recieve a much-needed touch of TLC after the spell of good weather we’ve had of late.
With showers now forecast for the first week of June, gardens will start to have their first major growth spurts of the year and of course, mowing will increase in frequency alongside this. But before you eagerly dust off the old mower, you might want to consider a few tips and tricks to spice up your lawn care routine. After all, you would hate to end up with an untidy lawn when it’s so simple to keep everything in shape.
1. Find the right height
Grass can come in all different shapes, sizes and varieties. The most common variety in UK lawns is Dwarf Perennial Ryegrass. The key characteristic to distinguish this grass species from others is its hard wearing and fast-growing properties (which does mean you’ll need to get the mower out just a little more regularly). If your lawn is made up of Perennial Ryegrass, it is important that you don’t mow too low. The ideal height is somewhere between 1.5 - 2 inches or 3.5 - 5cm.
If you have a lower use, more ornamental lawn there is a good chance this is made up of fescues and contains no ryegrass. Fescues can be mown to a lower height of around ¾ of an inch or 1 - 2cm. If you are unsure which varieties are present, it’s best to double check, this way you’ll avoid any permanent damage that may be caused when mowing too close to the root. One key rule for all grass types is to avoid mowing more than one third off the existing length on each mow.
2. Choose the right time
Knowing when to mow is important if you want to get the best lawn finish possible. Not to mention it will reduce blade damage and clogging up your mower if you avoid mowing at particular times of the day.
Early morning is possibly the worst time to mow, even on good days. This is because dew often takes a while to lift from the lawn and can easily clog mowers. The resulting mow will often be a bit ‘shabby’ and could even cause some damage by pulling up roots. Most who see an importance in mowing at a particular time agree that mid-morning is the best of the bunch. The theory is that mowing when it is too hot can cause scorching on a lawn so therefore mid-morning, after dew has dried and before the sun is high in the sky, is probably the optimum time. Of course, it’s not always possible to choose which time of the day to mow, the main thing to avoid is mowing while the ground is wet.
3. Select the best mower, and look after it!
If The Grass People did mowers... well, you know the rest. Unfortunately we don't sell lawnmowers but be rest assured there are plenty of good ones out there. However, it is a fact of life that any good mower can quickly become a bad one if not maintained and looked after. Yes, the sometimes lesser-spotted lawn mower is dormant for around 6 months in the UK - but whilst its sitting in the shed it is vulnerable to rust and blunt blades. Make sure to give your mower some maintenance before using it, as blunt blades will damage your grass and turn the blade tips yellow.
How to get Wimbledon-worthy stripes
So, now you know how to give your lawn a mow that will keep it nice and healthy, it’s maybe time to think about going the extra mile… or metres (this depends on how big your lawn is really). Firstly, you’ll need your lawn to look it’s best. This may require overseeding or applying a fertiliser, we’ve got plenty of guides and blogs to help you out with those two. Once the lawn is in tip top shape, we recommend sketching out your lawn and figuring out which way you are going to stripe, you can review our How to get stripes in my lawn. Then you’ll need to get your hands on a cylinder mower as these are great for creating that striped look. Many of these have a roller attached to the back which makes them perfect for striping.
Set your mower to the highest height setting and start by mowing around the edges of the lawn at right angles. This ensures the grass is cut right to the edge of the lawn. Then focus on the stripes by lining your mower up in the direction you want your first row and mow to the end, turn 180degrees and repeat until you reach the end of the lawn. Ensure you cut high as longer grass is easily bent and will produce better stripes. Once you have done this you can make these more prominent by going over the stripes again with the mower off, just using the roller.
Now you know all there is to know about mowing to create the perfect lawn, it’s time to get started. Then you can sit back and enjoy as your neighbours take a jealous peak over the fence at your homegrown masterpiece!