Lawn Renovation: Reviving an Overgrown or Patchy Yard

Even the healthiest, most well-tended lawn can become a bit lackluster over time due to thatch buildup and age. Add pet damage, foot traffic, grubs, or other lawn pests, and the grass can become thin and patchy. Lawn renovation revitalizes your yard to be the lush green grounds you can be proud of. At Lawn Pride®, we’re lawn reviving experts. We’ll walk you through the steps of getting back to lush lawn and leaving patchy and overgrown lawns in the dust.

When to Renovate

The best time of year for lawn renovation is during mild fall temperatures, especially for cool-season grasses. Once the soil has thawed, early spring is another good opportunity. For warm-season grasses, aim for late spring to early summer. This timing allows for lawn germination and growth during the peak season for each lawn grass seed type.

Depending on the lawn’s original condition, it can take six months to a couple of years following lawn renovation for your grass to be full and green again, which is why it’s important to consider these circumstances before renovation:

  • You’re introducing lower-maintenance turf seed through overseeding.
  • The grass is dying out, about 30-50% yellow or brown.
  • The lawn has more than ½ inch of thatch.
  • You’re repairing extensive pest, weed, or pet damage.

Optimizing Lawn Germination

Germination is the process a seed goes through to become a plant. From sprouting to rooting into the soil matrix to producing the green leaf for photosynthesis, grass seed typically germinates in five to 30 days, depending upon growing conditions such as temperature, moisture, light, oxygen, and type of soil. Following our lawn renovation steps provides the optimum conditions for lawn germination for all lawn grass seed types.

Lawn Renovation Step-By-Step

Step 1. Test Your Soil

Get a home soil test kit at your local big-box store. The test will tell you how to feed your lawn to optimize its health later in the renovation process.

Step 2. Weed Control

Weed control eliminates broad-leafed weeds that compete with newly emerging grass. Research the different herbicides that you can apply to your lawn while effectively targeting the weed's roots.

Step 3. Moisten the Lawn

If the soil is dry, water the lawn until the moisture reaches a depth of six to eight inches. Then, allow the soil surface to dry until you reach step nine.

Step 4. Keep the Lawn Short

Cut the grass so that it’s about one inch long. This lets you reach the deep thatch layers and keeps longer grass from shading out the newly sprouting grass seeds.

Step 5. Remove Thatch and Scarify the Lawn

Lawn scarification is a more aggressive form of dethatching. You can rent a scarifier that cuts deep into the lawn to remove thick layers of thatch. This ensures the soil and grass roots take up water and nutrients more efficiently and improves lawn germination.

Step 6. Soil Prep

Vigorously rake up the thatch, getting as much up as you can, and compost it. For heavily compacted soil, aerate the lawn thoroughly. The lawn will look rough at this stage, but the final results will last far longer if a thorough lawn renovation is done.

Step 7. Lawn Fertilization

Proper lawn fertilization is critical at this stage. Apply any additional phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) recommended by the soil test results. However, do not add any nitrogen (N) at this time as it stimulates so much growth from existing grass that it can crowd out the new seedlings.

Step 8. Lay Grass Seed

Apply your grass seed in two to four directions. Rent a drop seed spreader and apply the seed in two different directions. Seed can be spread by hand, but getting it even is challenging. Using too much seed is nearly impossible, and most people use far too little. Choose grass seed that will blend well with your existing lawn and is suited to your climate. Most lawns use a blend of grass seeds for the best performance.

Step 9. Top Dressing

Using a shovel, broadcast a thin layer of dry, high-quality topsoil over the seeds. Aim for just two-tenths to one-quarter inch of dry soil covering the seed.

Step 10. Irrigate

Use a leveling rake or roller to improve soil contact for the seeds and level out the topsoil, filling in small bumps and low spots in the lawn.

If no rain is expected for a day or two, lightly water the lawn often. In the fall, water every two days unless temperatures are high. In spring or early summer, water twice daily. You don’t want puddles or saturated soil. Aim to keep the soil damp for the first 10-21 days, depending on your lawn grass seed types (for example, Kentucky bluegrass takes two to three weeks to germinate).

Post Renovation Maintenance

Following lawn renovation, regular maintenance will be essential for the long-term health of your lawn.

  • Cover the lawn with floating row covers to keep birds from eating the seed before it germinates.
  • Avoid walking on the grass, allowing pets to play on it, or fertilizing for four weeks.
  • Don’t allow leaves to sit on the lawn; they will smother the newly emerging grass.
  • Don’t mow until the grass is nearly three inches. Then, take just the top third of the grass blades.

Choose Lawn Pride for Professional Lawn Care Services

For help with your lawn renovation or other lawn care services, trust the experts at your local Lawn Pride. At Lawn Pride, we have the tools, expertise, and knowledge to bring out the best in your grass. You can count on our exceptional service because the Neighborly Done Right Promise™ backs everything we do.

We’re here to help you fall in love with your lawn again and take out the guesswork. Request a free estimate today, or contact us with any questions.