You don’t need to be a weatherman (or woman) to know that the UK isn’t blessed with the most desirable of climates. Our weather is unreliable and generally takes the middle ground in terms of heat, cold, sun, cloud, rain and snow. There’s not enough of any particular weather to be worthy of note, except on the odd few days when it veers to an extreme – so unusual it makes headline news.
Still, every cloud has a silver lining…literally! This temperate climate means we can have gorgeous gardens during the summer, generally without having the worry of hosepipe bans and scorching heatwaves. The cornerstone of outdoor living is the lawn – the canvas for horticultural artistry. Even if you aren’t green-fingered, it is likely that more of your garden will be given over to lawn than any other single feature. Unfortunately, if your grass looks more grazing meadow than bowling green, a beautiful space will elude you until it’s sorted. But where do you start, and what do you need?
Is your soil chalk, clay or sand and do you have a problem with weeds or pests? Are there any bare patches and what’s causing them (e.g. pets)? Is the lawn type fit for purpose – the finest blades aren’t going to stand up to footie with the kids.
If your lawnmower has blunt blades and the blade height is difficult to adjust, you need to choose between a service or a new model. But lawns also need scarification (removing moss and other debris) and aeration (small holes in the ground to allow air, water and nutrients to circulate) and both of these require specific tools.
Plenty of water of course, but no garden reaches its full potential without products to feed the growth and kill the weeds. These are relatively inexpensive and can be purchased at most DIY stores and garden centres. However, if you don’t know what you are doing, you can waste money or worse do damage – many a garden has been scorched by an over-enthusiastic application of fertilizer.
If you can’t be consistent with your maintenance, it’s hardly worth starting. It’s all very well being enthusiastic in March and April, but if you’ve lost interest by July, both time and money will be wasted.
Feeling enthused? Or overwhelmed and resigned to golden-yellow thatch instead of a glorious green carpet? It is possible with research, time, dedication and money to achieve great results by taking the DIY route. But in reality it’s a job many just don’t enjoy doing and consequently the professional lawn treatment market has rocketed over the last few years. Most people do still like to mow their own lawns (although many even outsource that these days), but buying and storing expensive equipment and carrying out lawn work is a job better left to those that do it all the time.
With treatments starting at from around £20 a visit (and with four to six visits a year), you could spend more on the fuel taking you to and from the garden centre.