Lawn not looking its best? Matt Blashaw names the most common lawn care mistakes

These are the top reasons why your lawn isn't looking great, says the HGTV presenter

kids garden with lawn and playhouse
(Image credit: Colin Poole/Future)

If your lawn is not looking its best, you may be making one of these common lawn care mistakes, says expert gardener, home remodeller, and HGTV presenter Matt Blashaw. Assuming that you're watering regularly and have the best lawn mower, it's likely that you're making mistakes in the longer term care of your grass. Here's what they typically are. 

1. You're trying to get a good result from a poor lawn

a multifunctional outdoor space for the whole family

(Image credit: Annaick Guitteny/Future)

'If you don't have a good lawn to begin with,' you'll have to put the extra legwork in to 'bring it back to life.' When you move into a new home, you need to do 'almost an inspection or an audit' to try and 'figure out what's going on with it.' 

In other words, if you've just moved into a home with a lawn that looks unhealthy, you will need to carry out a thorough assessment of the grass and soil to determine whether it's worth nursing back to health, or whether you should just reseed it or even replace the top layer with fresh turf. 

Find out how to plant grass seed in our guide. 

2. You're overwatering

sprinkler in large garden

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'Of course, watering is an important thing, but some people overwater'. Matt recommends installing smart sprinklers: 'they work with wi-fi, and the wi-fi tells them what weather's coming in and whether it's going to rain, and then it stops the sprinklers from overwatering.'

Matt explains that many lawn owners tend to think that it's logical to water a lawn that doesn't look good: 'well, you could be drowning it.' A lawn only needs 'roughly three inches every week', so ideally, during dry spells, that's 'every other day, then Saturday and Sunday.' A good rule of thumb is to water for about 10 minutes before 10am in the morning. And then stop, urges Matt. 'The minute you start overwatering, the water seeps up, and erosion starts happening,' he says. 

Head over to our guide to the best garden sprinkler for our top buys. 

3. You're not raking it

Caring for your lawn

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As Matt points out, 'thatch is a very good thing in a small amount, because your lawn uses it as organic fertilizer.' However, 'when it gets over an inch thick, you have a problem. The sunlight's not getting in, the water doesn't penetrate.' The solution? Simple – 'you can use a big machine, but what I like to use is an old school rake. As soon as you start to get the thatch out, it's like bringing some breath into your lawn.' 

Want to know more tips on getting rid of thatch from your lawn? Learn how to scarify a lawn in our handy guide.  

4. You never aerate your lawn

spring lawn care tips: aerating

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Aerating isn't something you have to do every year, but Matt says that you do need to do it 'every two or three years'. The consequences of not aerating are similar to not raking – nutrients, air and sunshine eventually have trouble penetrating compacted soil down to the roots of your grass. 

'If you do all of the steps I've told you and your lawn is still looking bad, then there's a deeper problem,' Matt says. So, if your lawn ideas aren't looking quite their best, give these tips a go before ripping it up. 

Find more spring lawn care tips in our guide and get yours looking its best again. 

Anna writes about interior design and gardening. Her work has appeared in Homes & Gardens, Livingetc, and many other publications. She is an experienced outdoor and indoor gardener and has a passion for growing roses and Japanese maples in her outside space.