4 Grass Cutting Tips

You can almost see the grass grow

Mowing the lawn can seem like a bit of a mystery the first time you attempt it. You’ve seen the neat pale and dark green lines that appear whenever someone mows a lawn on the telly, but whenever you attempt it in your own back garden you seem to get a weird, splotchy green mess.

Mowing the lawn is one of those skills that nobody ever really gets taught. They’re just expected to know how to do it instinctively. However, there are a few common sense tips you can use to make sure that your lawn comes out looking healthy, neat and tidy.

Overlapping

When you start mowing the lawn you should do so in a sort of zigzag pattern, going from one end of the lawn to the other, turning around and coming back alongside where you’ve just been. A lot of first time mowers assume this means that the mower should be travelling next to the freshly mown grass, but don’t cross onto it.

Instead you want to make sure that the lawnmower slightly overlaps the area you’ve just mown. To make this easier and more precise, make a mark on your lawnmower to show how far you want the overlap to go. This will be your “overlap marker”.

This is particularly important if your lawnmower isn’t a hover mower but one with wheels. If you take a second to think about it you’ll realise that running wheels up and down exactly the same path is going to wear tracks into the soil, which isn’t going to look good for the lawn as a whole.

Obstacles

For the easiest mowing results you want a completely flat, level and rectangular lawn with grass that is entirely uniform in length, but of course, lawns like that seldom exist outside of the gardener’s imagination.

There are a number of obstacles you’ll probably face while mowing the lawn. If you find that some of the grass is damp or longer than the rest you can get round it simply by slowing down a little. Just push the mower through the grass at a slightly slower speed and it shouldn’t present any problems.

A slightly trickier area is the bumps and high spots in the lawn. When you approach these it’s worth stopping to raise the height of your blades, otherwise you could end up with a slightly too close shave that leaves bald patches on your lawn, or worse, you could accidentally stop the blade. The same is true when you’re approaching slopes or shady areas.

Maintenance

Of course, it doesn’t matter one jot about your mowing technique if your tools are in poor condition. There are a number of maintenance steps you should take on a regular basis to ensure good mower performance.

If you have a cylinder mower and you find that the blade stutters regularly, or the lawn is coming out in a “ribbed” or “rippled” effect, it could be that the blades are blunt or the mower is under-powered   The same is true if the lawn starts to take on a frayed look, or a sort of silvery sheen.

Getting just the right look

Now you’ve got the basics sorted, you need to focus on getting the look of your lawn just the way you want it. There are a number of tricks to this. Firstly, if you’re using a cylinder mower, change the direction that you’re mowing at least once a month. This stops the grass being constantly pushed down in one direction.

If you want the famed “striped” look on a large lawn or one without a straight edge, the best place to start isn’t on one side of the lawn but straight down the middle. From there you can mow outwards on either side of the central strip.

Naturally it’s important that you have the right tools for the job, whether you buy lawnmowers online or from a store direct it’s worth spending time to make sure you have the right machine

Finally, when you get to the edges of the lawn, don’t worry about getting all the grass. A quick final cut once or twice around the edge of the lawn will give it a professional looking frame.

Attached Images:

Mark Bartram is Managing Director of Lawnmowers Direct, so he knows a thing or two about lawn maintenance.






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Smart and Cheap Solutions to Cut Off Lawn Deluge

When rains pour, they can bring several problems that are sometimes difficult to deal with. One in particular that frustrates a lot of homeowners is the runoff that goes directly on their lawns. This happens when rain falls so fast or heavily that the ground cannot absorb water at once.


Storm water runoff poses a number of serious issues. For one, it can cause soil erosion, and the the dirt, grass clippings and other debris it scours from the lawn carry pollutants to bodies of water. These things can affect marine habitat by blocking sunlight, which in turn promotes the growth of algae that feeds on the oxygen that supports aquatic life. In areas where sanitary and storm sewers are combined, storm water runoff can overwhelm sewers, causing basement overflows and backups.

If you leave in a low-lying area, your lawn and home are particularly at risk of being damaged by storm water runoff. So to avoid watery disasters down the road and prevent paying expensive storm water management fees in the future, here are simple and frugal solutions you can do today to keep that pesky runoff at bay.

Attach rain barrels to downspouts

A rain barrel is typically tied into a downspout to collect rainwater coming down the roof. The water can then be reused for watering plants, cleaning the driveway and washing cars. While you can easily purchase new rain barrels at your local home improvement store, which may cost anywhere from a $100 or more, you can save some cash if you make them on your own.

Containers such as wine and whiskey barrels and gallon drums make for great rain barrels. You can buy them for a couple of dollars at local food distributors, car wash stalls and local vineyards. Or, if you have a nice neighbor you may even get them for free. To turn them into rain barrels, you can search over the Internet for step-by-step instructions from DIYers who also made their own rain barrels. With a little elbow greasing, not only will you prevent runoff from damaging your lawn and home, you also get to help the environment by reusing rainwater.

Build a rain garden or berm

If you love gardening, one of the best things you can do to collect and clean storm water runoff is to create a rain garden. A rain garden is a collection of native plants that are strategically placed in slight depressions to collect runoff. It is designed to contain water long enough so that it percolates into the soil, where it is filtered. Native plants are recommended for this type of garden because they require minimal upkeep and do not necessarily need fertilizers. Native plant species that have large root system are a great choice since they absorb rainwater pretty well.

Another great way to put your gardening skills into good use to control runoff is to create berms on your lawn. A berm is simply a tiny hill that is covered with grass or other plantings, which will divert water around the area that you want to protect. Before you build berms, you need to have a clear plan as to where you want the runoff to flow and what type of plant to use. Although grass is a great option, maintaining grass berms can be time-consuming since you need to mow them from time to time. You can check your local nursery to find other plantings that are easier to maintain and will blend well into your landscape.

Intercept water by creating a swale or French drain

You can intercept rainwater by adding a swale–a shallow ditch with sloping sides – or a French drain– a trench with a perforated pipe at the bottom and then filled with gravel–on your lawn. Any of the two are great DIY projects you can finish over the weekend. Just make sure that before you start digging, you find a good site where the drainage will be added to avoid ruining your landscape.

Pay special attention to your lawn

Aside from the ones mentioned above, paying special attention to how you attend to the upkeep needs of your lawn can do a great deal in reducing runoff. Things such as leaving grass clippings on your lawn, mowing your turf high (preferably to a height of 2 to 3 inches), washing your car on the lawn instead of the driveway, doing soil test and periodically aerating your lawn can help you manage runoff and prevent the damage it can do to your property and the environment.

This piece of home and garden improvement advice was written by one of the regular contributors of McIntyre Masonry, a family-run stonemasonry company in Edinburgh that provides a full range of services related to stonework, including structural alterations, chimney repairs, boundary wall restoration and build and lime mortar pointing.

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Creating the Perfect Lawn From Seed

The perfect lawn doesn’t just happen. Rather, it is the result of hard work, patience and common sense. However, as long as the basic rules are followed, even a novice can achieve excellent results.


One of the keys to a perfect lawn grown from seed is soil preparation. First, the site has to be dug over and cleared of any detritus, stones and weeds. Weeds fall into two categories – annual weeds and perennial weeds. Annual weeds are easy to clear as they can be got rid of by hoeing or just in the act of turning over the earth and disturbing the roots. Perennial weeds are, however, a different matter, and require more care. When digging over the site, take care to remove all traces of roots as well as obvious weeds such as dandelions. The reason for this is that if you leave just one bit of root, no matter how small, it will probably return with a vengeance a few months down  the line and spoil the look of your new lawn.

When you are satisfied the area is weed-free, you can set about ensuring that you have a level surface on which to sow the seed. If you are dealing with a large area, you may find it easier to mark it out into sections and do one at a time. However you do it, it is useful to have a spirit level that you can place wherever desired to check that you haven’t created any slopes and that any hollows or bumps have been evened out. The best tool to use for flattening and levelling is a garden rake, which can also be used to break down any lumps of earth to form the fine tilth that you require.

At this point, you can take a breather, as you need to leave the prepared bed for two to three weeks to allow any weeds to germinate. When they do, treat them with a weedkiller and rake off after a couple of days. Then, apply a base dressing comprising of a micro-granular or compound granular fertilizer and leave for a few more days.

Now it’s time to sow the seed. Sowing is a relatively simple business, provided you do it on a dry, windless day, but before you even buy your seed, bear in mind what your lawn is going to be used for. If it is a family lawn that is going to bear the brunt of any manner of indignities, you require a different type of seed to someone who is going to plant a lawn for a putting or bowling green. Make sure you get the right seed mix by going to a reputable seedsman. It may cost a little more than the local garden centre, but his advice will prove to be well worth any extra cost in years to come.

Scatter the seed in the proportions (grams per square metre) advised by your seedsman or on the box. To avoid sowing unevenly and to make sure you have sufficient seed, mark the plot out into sections of one square metre with a little sand. If you don’t do that, you may run out of seed before you’ve covered the whole site.

Finally, spray the area with water. It’s vital to keep it moist over the first ten to fifteen days, so the seeds will germinate. Depending on whether you sow in the spring or the autumn, the best sowing times, you can either rely on the weather or have to do it yourself, but don’t let it dry out. When the grass has reached a height of about five centimetres, you can cut it to about two to three centimetres with a rotary mower.

Written on behalf of the seed specialists King Seeds

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