How Do You Renovate A Neglected Lawn?

Last updated on October 23rd, 2023 at 08:44 pm

Is the holey, overused lawn a thorn in your side? Do not be annoyed by this detriment to your garden, but take the initiative. Replanting an old lawn is less costly than suspected. Moreover, it is by no means necessary to consume the entire budget for the hobby garden to restore a lawn. There are various methods to choose from. Patient gardeners choose the slow, inexpensive method by means of lawn seeding. Those who want to invest a little more choose the fast-paced approach using sod. Here’s how to do it step by step.

Lawn renovation by reseeding

Amateur gardeners who want to reseed an old lawn and consider the time factor secondary use fresh lawn seed. Ideally, the exact lawn variety that was originally used is still known. If this is not the case, suitable reseeding mixtures are available from specialist dealers, matched to the function of the grass area as a play and sports lawn or ornamental lawn.

How Do You Renovate A Neglected Lawn?

Tip: The best time to reseed an old lawn is in the spring months from May to June. Alternatively, September can be considered for lawn renovation.

Step 1 – Mow deep

The first step is to mow the lawn as deeply as possible. If the grass blades are very high in the spring, preferably mow in two stages to avoid overworking the lawn mower. The drier the grass, the easier it is to cut. Then completely remove the clippings.

Step 2 – Scarifying

In this step, thorough scarifying creates the optimal conditions for all other stages. The usual working depth of 3-5 millimeters does not meet the requirements in this case. If you are replanting an old lawn, it is important to break up the turf so intensively that space is created for the absorption of effective active substances for soil improvement as well as for the lawn seed. Only then will the desired homogeneous unit develop, which will ultimately result in a lush green lawn carpet. It is therefore recommended to use a professional scarifier, which can be rented in well-stocked rental stores or DIY stores.

  • Scarify the mowed lawn in two operations
  • Work in both longitudinal and transverse directions
  • Rake off all loose plant parts and compost them.
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Step 3 – soil improvement

Seeding of the lawnIf there are punctual settlements in the old lawn, they are perfectly visible after scarifying. Now is the perfect opportunity to even them out with the help of a suitable filling soil. After that, give the soil a few days to settle and possibly add some more soil. If the unevenness is due to the mischievous work of moles or voles, it is advisable to take the intermediate step of scaring them away or combating them. Although the voles will leave for a few days during the renovation work, they are guaranteed to return as soon as peace returns. Where this intermezzo can be skipped can be skipped, enrichment of the old turf with soil additives is now on the agenda. If the grass area suffered from a compacted soil, a layer of sand now provides the necessary loosening with a maximum dosage of 3 liters per square meter. On the other hand, you can enrich silty lawn soil with clay powder. Mature compost, which you apply in a 1 centimeter thick layer – i.e. 10 liters per square meter – with the sand, has a vitalizing effect on the stressed lawn.

Work in a layer of soil additives of more than 10 millimeters, with the help of the scarifier.
If the soil is so compacted that a higher application of sand is required, you will not be able to avoid breaking up the soil and leveling it

Tip: Use a fill soil of similar structure to the previous one for leveling soil settlements. Excessive physical differences will cause an inhomogeneous appearance later because the lawn seeds will develop differently.

Step 4 – Fertilizing and seeding

Now a phosphorus-based starter fertilizer is used, which is administered before the lawn is sown. A spreader ensures even distribution. Ideally, you apply the fertilizer in the longitudinal direction, while the lawn seeds are scattered in the transverse direction. This little trick effectively prevents mis-spreading.

Step 5 – Covering

Finally, to allow the lawn seeds, as light germinators, to close the soil well, cover the seeds with a lean substrate, such as peat. This covering layer should not be applied higher than 0.5 centimeters. In this way, sufficient light reaches the seeds, while at the same time they are protected from washout.

Step 6 – Rolling and sprinkling

  • If a lawn roller is available, it provides additional stabilization of the seeding. Subsequently, the rehabilitated lawn is irrigated intensively.
  • Do not water newly laid lawns in full sunlight
  • water every 2 days for the first 14 days after seeding.
  • Mow for the first time from a growth height of 8-10 centimeters.
Rasen Aussaat

With the roll turf method quite simply replant old lawn.

The seeding of lawns always requires a longer thread of patience from the amateur gardener until the longed-for, rich green carpet presents itself. The renovation of an old lawn is much faster with the help of turf. Thanks to the innovative sandwich method, there is no need to peel off the worn-out sod. The sod is laid on top of the old turf, which quickly decomposes underneath and transforms into a nutrient-rich layer for soil organisms. Here’s how to do it step by step:

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Step 1 – Mow super short.

Since nothing more is expected from the grass roots of the old lawn, mow the area as short as you can. No action is required against the weeds within, such as scarifying or even applying an herbicide. As extensive tests have proven, the subsequent rolled turf does not give weeds a chance to develop after all.

Step 2 – Level out irregularities

The smoother the surface, the more even the new appearance of your lawn will be. It is therefore worth investing a little effort in creating the fine subgrade with a fine crumbly soil structure.

  • Straighten the mowed lawn with topsoil.
  • Alternatively, spread a compost-sand mixture
  • Smooth out with a rake

Tip: If possible, the first two steps are carried out the day before delivery of the sod. Since freshly peeled sod dries out very quickly, it should be processed within 12-24 hours.

Step 3 – fertilizing and laying

Rasen Aussaat
  • The installation begins along a straight edge
  • Place the turf rolls butt to butt
  • Laying in a staggered pattern is ideal, as when bricklaying walls
  • Do not leave any joints or gaps
  • Cut the edge with a sharp knife
  • Finally, roll the turf lengthwise and crosswise

Lay the lawn in such a way that, if possible, you do not have to walk on it. If this is unavoidable, lay out wooden slats there. If you are using the lawn roller, only walk on the already compacted grass areas. If necessary, still need to rework fixed edges of the lawn. Since rolled turf is 2 to 3 centimeters high, a leveling is required here to bed borders, terraces or garden paths.

Step 4 – Watering

On the day of laying sod, it should be watered thoroughly. In the evening, when the grass area is no longer under direct sunlight, run the tap until each square meter has been soaked with 10 to 15 liters. Beautiful to look at, the old lawn after this rejuvenation cure from the first day. To carry out regular watering in the following weeks, turf can be easily walked on to set up the sprinkler. You should not expose the grass to the stresses of a barbecue for at least 4 weeks.

Proper care of turf

If your old lawn shines in a new, fresh-green dress, the weather determines the first mowing pass. Experience shows that after 7 to 14 days the new lawn has grown to the point where it requires a lawn mower. If intensive irrigation is still taking place at this time, it is first reduced. Once the area has dried out, proceed as follows:

  • Do not trample the blades of grass in advance.
  • Cut the grass by a maximum of one third
  • The optimum blade height is 4 to 6 centimeters
  • Never mow under full sunlight
  • Allow the area to dry first after a rain shower
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In the course of laying sod, a nutrient supply takes place that is sufficient for the next 4 to 6 weeks. Then apply a high-quality slow-release fertilizer. In the seasonal rhythm, apply a nitrogen-rich preparation as a starting fertilizer in March/April. For summer fertilization, a slow-release fertilizer is indicated in mid/late June. It is also advisable to prepare the lawn for the rigors of winter with a potassium-based fertilizer at the end of August.


Sooner or later, every lawn gets on in years and leaves something to be desired in terms of appearance. The more intensively the grass area is used, or in view of cumulative soil problems, the entire garden suffers from the shortcoming of a slackening lawn. How good that the restoration of a lawn is effortless. There is no need for laborious uprooting, just as there is no need for grading work. Instead, mow deep, scarify and reseed. If necessary, take the opportunity to correct soil problems with the help of improvement measures. You can lay an old lawn anew even faster with rolled turf, using the innovative sandwich method. If you follow the easy-to-understand step-by-step instructions, you will quickly recognize the uncomplicated procedure and will no longer be annoyed with an unattractive old lawn.


  • James Jones

    Meet James Jones, a passionate gardening writer whose words bloom with the wisdom of an experienced horticulturist. With a deep-rooted love for all things green, James has dedicated his life to sharing the art and science of gardening with the world. James's words have found their way into countless publications, and his gardening insights have inspired a new generation of green thumbs. His commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship shines through in every article he crafts.

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