A Complete Guide To Lawn Restoration

Written by Ian Thompson

Ian holds a Masters in Turf Management from Sydney University, has over 20 years experience working as a golf course Superintendent, turf manager, product formulation and development. We call him our resident Lawn genius.

There’s nothing like a pristine and freshly cut lawn to make your garden look amazing. But lawn care goes far beyond mowing the grass. So, how do you restore a tired, ol lawn? More importantly, where do you start on a repair  job that could take weeks?  There are some key steps you need to take to restore your lawn to top condition — our guide sets out how to go about lawn restoration. Follow these easy steps that show how you breathe some new life into your old lawn, and you’ll soon have the best lawn in the street.

When to Renovate the Lawn

Before you start working on the lawn, identifying a few telltale signs of a lawn in poor condition will help you focus attention on resolving the underlying problems. Some examples are obvious, like clumps of weeds such as dandelions or bindii in lawns. If you have a dead lawn in parts, that can be a result of many different things, including insect damage, competition for sunlight from trees, or even drought. Before starting your restoration you need to identify and plan to deal with issues like this or you’ll end up with similar problems after all your hard work. Not sure where to start? Call us for advice

Choosing the right time of year to restore the lawn is vital for fast recovery. Grasses have two main seasons when they grow at their best. Cool-season grasses such as Fescue and Ryegrass proliferate in late autumn or early spring and prefer temperate climates in the Southern part of Australia. As a result the best time to renovate these is the first week of Spring. Warm-season grasses like Buffalo, Kikuyu, Couch and Zoysia thrive in more tropical regions and grow best in late spring or early autumn. As a result the first week of November is a good time to renovate to ensure fast recovery. Grass restoration at the height of summer or winter is not recommended due to the risk of dring out in summer and the poor recovery time in winter.

Basic Steps to Renovate Lawn

1 Week Prior: Work on the Weeds

It’s a simple place to start but we want these prickly house mates removed before we proceed any further.  Start by identifying the weeds in your lawn an applying a suitable herbicide. Bow & Arrow is a broad spectrum herbicide which isn’t damaging to your lawn but is damaging to common broadleaf weeds like clover and bindii.  Do you need advice on the correct herbicide, so you don’t kill the grass as well? Reach out and give us a call.

Mow the Lawn

Mowing your lawn is not only vital to keeping it looking tidy, but it has other benefits. As we know renovations are about, ‘out with the old and in with the new’. As part of the renovation set the mower down lower and remove all the old grass blades. This process is referred to as ‘scalping’. This will take several trips around the lawn starting at your normal mowing height and then lowering. Make sure not to attempt this in one mow as this could slow the blades making for a poor cut and potentially damaging the mower. Now the old is removed the new growth will be ready to kick start.

Aerate the Lawn

Getting air to the lawns soil is one of the most overlooked aspects of restoration. Soils need oxygen to stay healthy and be able to access nutrients, water and just generally breathe. Using an aerator to poke holes in the grass will enable oxygen to reach the parts it needs to, and it will perk up the grass. Oxygen is beneficial, as it helps grass roots grow deeper tand keep the lawn in good condition.

Top Dress the Lawn

Top dressing is when you spread a thin layer of soil on the surface of the lawn. It is also an effective way of getting rid of bumps and divots, so your lawn looks and feels more even. The best product to use is a clean washed medium sand or 80/20 mix free of small stones. Generally available at a local landscape yard.. A straight and even lawn not only looks good but also prevents falls. Need advice on soils or how much to use, simply reach out to us.

Fertilise Your Lawn and Protect the Nutrients

A vital stage in lawn restoration is applying a  fertiliser to promote the new growth and restore the health and vitality of the soil.  This fertiliser keeps the area healthy and gives it a boost, particularly after a period of neglect. We recommend Lawn Play Renovate, after all this is exactly the purpose of this fertiliser. It contains the normal nutrients but also wetting agent to improve the soil and  microbes to keep the soil and grass healthy. 

Hydrate Your Lawn

Many lawns get into poor condition because they do not have enough water. Ensure your lawn restoration area gets a soaking to a depth of 6 to 8 inches. This will help water in your fertiliser, the wetting agent in Lawn Play Renovate doing exactly what it should do and restoring the water holding capacity of the soil. This soaking will give it the hydration to recover, and it can then be topped up daily and during the restoration process. If you have problems with drought, wetting methods can help keep your lawn in good shape and hydrated without using too much water. That proactive approach can stop you from running into trouble in the later maintenance stages and help repair lawn hydration issues.

Summary and Next Steps

A beautiful lawn that is well maintained is something to celebrate, it encourages you and the family to spend more time outdoors. Start working on your grassy areas now so you can spend more time in the garden with a beautiful lawn area where the kids can play, or you can fire up the barbecue. If you take the first steps by contacting a lawn expert and get the advice you need and the products that suit your soil and garden the best, you will be well on the way to a magnificent lawn. Want to know more? Reach out and make that call today to our experts on lawn restoration.


Should I leave grass clippings on the lawn after mowing or clear them up?

Leaving them on the grass returns nutrients to the soil and is a form of natural mulching to reduce fertiliser requirements, but for this to work you need a good microbial base to break down the leaves, otherwise they just become thatch which prevents water and oxygen infiltration.

Apart from a lawnmower, what other tools are needed to keep grass in good condition after lawn restoration?

 Our top tools for lawn maintenance begins with a sprinkler, no water, no grass. We recommend investing in a self propel mower so it’s less of a chore. An edger is key to make the lawn that little bit nicer. A sprayer is also key, one that could be used for all areas of the lawn and garden.

Why does my lawn have lots of brown spots?

Several problems cause brown spots so it’s not fair for us to jump to conclusions. Pet urine is a very common cause of brown spots on lawns. We recommend sharing any images you can take with our lawn genius, he loves looking at lawns, dead or alive.  

Why is my neighbour’s lawn greener than mine?

Ask them…. Or ask the lawn genius, a quick review of your program can help highlight what may be holding your lawn back from being the greenest in the street.

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