Garden Advice

How to Make Your Lawn Green and Thick

If you’ve got grass in your garden, odds are you’ve thought about how to grow the perfect lawn more than once.

For many people, perfection isn’t even necessary. They just want to know how to make their grass green. Or at least, greener. Anything to not be stuck with a browning, dying patch which never quite looks healthy enough.

Because a green and healthy lawn is a statement all of its own. If you’re looking to sell your property, it’s a good boost to those oh so important first impressions. If you want to make your home look well-cared-for, green and happy grass will do that, too.

Table of Contents:

If you are someone who:

  • Wants their grass to be thicker and greener;
  • Is wondering if the grass will thicken on its own;
  • Wants to improve their grassy lawn altogether.

…then, you’ll find this post helpful! Let’s start with how to…

Improve your soil

Step one of how to make grass thicker and fuller is to prepare the soil. Without good quality soil, your grass-growing job is going to be a whole lot harder.

If you’re always struggling with thickening lawn grass – especially if you notice a constant spread of weeds like clover or moss, creeping charlie, or even mushrooms – then the quality of your soil is likely to blame.

Because making grass greener isn’t just a case of treating the grass itself. You need to consider every aspect of your plants’ environment if you want to get a lush, green lawn.

Test the soil

If you’re not sure whether it’s your soil that is at fault, there’s an easy way to check. You can buy a soil testing kit from many local gardening centres, as well as online.

A test will tell you what your soil’s pH level is and other details about the conditions which may help you work out how to make grass greener and thicker.

Normally if you were trying to get a greener lawn, you’d have to guess. After a soil test, you know whether you need to boost your soil pH with a little lime or some other commonly available ingredients.

Establishing good-quality soil may solve your problem. It will naturally provide a better bed for your lawn, so you will need to worry a whole lot less about getting thick grass.

Aerate your lawn

Armed with your soil test information, you’ll have a much better idea of what steps to take next when it comes to getting a nice lawn.

For most people, at least one of those steps will be aeration. Aerating your lawn is a process which involves poking thin holes in your soil, ready to receive a quantity of fertiliser.

Aeration is making grass grow 101. It’s an easy way to get your soil the nutrients it needs. Without – crucially – needing to dig up all of your grass and start over again from scratch, which is really the only other option.

If you’ve been struggling with getting a green lawn for a long time and nothing seems to work, aeration is almost certainly going to be required. It may be needed two or three times per year for those real problem cases.

Overseed

Phase two of how to have a beautiful lawn involves overseeding. If you’ve been working on thickening your lawn but have seen lots of weeds or bare patches, this is another solid step to take. Here’s how it works:

  1. Mow your lawn to the lowest possible level.
  2. Make sure you catch and remove all of the grass cuttings so you can see the grass itself.
  3. Remove all weeds and other non-grass plants.
  4. Identify the barren spots where no grass is growing.
  5. Spread new grass seed in those spots at a spread of roughly 15 seeds per square inch. You can get a tool called a grass spreader which distributes the seed evenly.
  6. Feed and fertilise the newly seeded areas if you want the best chance of making the grass grow thicker.

Fertilise

If you’re having trouble with getting your grass to grow greener, the problem could be something as simple as a lack of proper feeding.

Many people who think they’ve hit a wall growing a nice lawn simply need to establish better fertilising patterns.

Much like many things in life, you’ll always find it easier to resolve questions of how to make your grass grow green and thick if you base it on actual facts and data. In this case, the results of your soil test.

You can then create and use fertiliser by:

  1. Buying a compost bin and filling it over time;
  2. Alternatively, buying some bags of ready-made compost;
  3. Mixing it with a small quantity of nitrogen fertiliser (or whatever your test indicates your soil needs);
  4. Adding the fertiliser to the soil via aerated holes;
  5. Fertilising regularly from the very start of the growing season.

Water deeply but less often

Step four of your plan to make grass greener will be all about watering. You can increase the chances of having a thicker lawn by watering sensibly:

  • Average amount of watering – once or twice a week. Grass needs roughly one inch of water per week to be happy. Whether that comes from rain or whatever watering system you have doesn’t matter.
  • Watering new grass seeds – provide constant moisture until seedlings can be seen.
  • Watering sandy soil – you’ll need to do this more often. Perhaps three times a week.
  • Watering in hotter, drier weather – again, do this more often. Perhaps three times a week.

If you want to make your lawn greener with watering – or irrigation, as it’s sometimes called – you need to follow good watering practices too:

  1. Plan to water early in the morning – this helps the water to actually reach the grass before it evaporates. The warming sun will then help dry off the plants, which is good for them.
  2. Water first, but then test – water for half an hour, then plunge a trowel or spade into the earth to see how deeply the water has penetrated. You want to reach at least four inches deep. As soon as you know how long it takes water to reach that depth, you can dispense with the spade tests.

Mow correctly

A classic mistake which most people make when they’re trying to work out how to make grass thicker and greener is to mow every week or every so many days. Essentially, they mow when they think they should rather than when their grass actually needs it.

There are a few simple things to bear in mind when mowing if you want to increase your chances of getting a green lawn:

  • Don’t cut too much – ideally, you don’t want your grass to lose more than a third of its length when you cut it. This prevents the plant from getting too much of a “shock”.
  • Don’t cut too short – most grasses are happy to be kept somewhere around three inches – or perhaps three and a half inches – in height, though shorter varieties do exist. Grass that is at its preferred height will retain shade and moisture for its roots and take enough sunlight away from potential weeds that they will stand less of a chance of growing.
  • Don’t cut too roughly – a mower with blunt blades will smack at the grass tips rather than cut them cleanly. This can leave browned grass tips behind. Sharpen those blades!
  • Don’t cut the same way every time – many people who are trying to discover how to get a thick lawn overlook the simple things. Give your soil a chance to remain evenly spread and your grass a chance to grow nice and upright by varying the direction in which you mow.
  • Don’t cut and then take the cuttings – leave grass cuttings in place as natural nutrients for the grass which remains. The lopped grass will also retain moisture. Spread grass cuttings evenly over your lawn if required.
  • Don’t cut when wet – try to avoid doing this whenever possible. This is also the only situation where you will want to not leave grass clippings in place – when they’re wet and there’s a lot of them.

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Control or get rid of weeds

The most obvious sign that something is wrong that most people notice when they’re trying to grow a beautiful lawn is the presence of weeds.

Weeds tend to show you that, in order to make your grass greener and thicker, you need to get a better balance of nutrients and minerals for your lawn.

Of course, you want to remove weeds when you see them (although it’s a good idea to do this in Autumn). But to control them – and prevent them from coming back – you want to improve the quality of your soil from your grass’s point of view.

Take all of the steps listed above and you should be well on your way to a perfect green lawn.

Takeaways

  • Improving the quality of your soil will solve many grass-related problems.
  • Consider testing your soil’s pH level and aerating it.
  • Overseeding your lawn can cure problem patches once soil quality has been improved.
  • Using compost and fertiliser can help your grass get the nutrition it needs.
  • Knowing how to properly mow and water your lawn is key to its long-term health.

Image source: Shutterstock / irin-k

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