The ornamental area of the Beechgrove Garden is built around the pond and the main lawn. Our grassy knoll gives an openness to the garden, whereas the individual gardens surrounding it are all quite enclosed.

Of course, to many a well kept lawn is an essential feature to a beautiful garden. We take great pride in our green grass, and it offers many opportunities for showing viewers how to care for their lawns.

Tips from Jim for a lucious lawn:

Scarify the lawn - scarification requires vigorous raking by hand with a springback rake. Alternatively, there are two mechanical options - use a mains electric scarifier or hire a motorised scarifier from a garden machinery specialist . The purpose is to remove moss and dead grass, which is aptly referred to as thatch. This will allow water to drain more quickly from the surface and at the same time air and light can penetrate to the soil surface. This encourages grass plants to thicken up by a process known as tillering. Regular aeration by scarifying helps prevent fungal disease activity. It is also key to tackling the major menace of moss growth.

Keep it cut - concurrent with the scarifying treatment, the lawn should be cut regularly, keeping the cutting height quite high until the weather warms up. How often have you seen a spring lawn, after the first cut, turn yellow? This indicates that the cutting blades have not been adjusted upwards since the previous cutting season. Through late April and May, the height can be reduced gradually as weather conditions improve.

Consider weekly mowing as taking a crop off the land, just as a farmer would cut hay or silage. The plant nutrients in the soil are depleted and must be replaced. To encourage fresh young growth, the lawn has to be fed. There are numerous specialist lawn fertilisers available, formulated for the job. Some may have additions of weedkiller and moss killer added. These are not always required.


Maintain the look - regular summer maintenance, keeping the lawn neat and tidy helps to set off surrounding beds. Throughout the summer, most lawns need to be cut once (and sometimes twice) each week. When mowing, it is best to remove the clippings as you go. Otherwise, thatch will build up and that spring scarifiation will go to waste. If you use a mower with a roller to get a stripy effect, it is best to change the direction of the stripes each time you mow. Otherwise, the grass will start to grow in the direction that you're rolling it in.

Lawn edges should be kept well trimmed at all times. As the saying goes a well mown lawn with sharp edges will catch the eye, even though there may be a few weeds in the border.


Aerate the lawn - autumn lawn treatment should include aeration. After a season of regular mowing, sometimes under wet conditions and heavy use, the top layers of soil become compacted. This slows down drainage, helps to encourage conditions that benefit moss growth and, because of the lack of oxygen, has a negative effect on grass roots. Aeration counteracts that compaction, helps water to drain quickly from the surface and in so doing allows oxygen to penetrate more easily to plant roots. With the lawn in a healthy condition, it is less likely to be attacked by fungal diseases and it is better able to compete with moss . The simplest way to aerate a lawn is using a garden fork, but be sure to insert the tines as far into the ground as possible. Each set of holes should be no more than 15cm apart. On heavier soils, using a solid tine fork can be counter productive, so it is much better to hire a hollow tine aerator which will take out cores of soil up to 15cm deep. These should be swept off the lawn and added to the compost heap. If you do nothing more you will see the benefits in due time but to make a really fine job, the lawn should now be top dressed with compost. This material can be bought readymade from some garden centres and from lawn specialists. It generally consists of composted organic matter that has been shredded to about 3mm and mixed with sand. It is applied in bulk at a rate of approx 2kg to the square metre. It is spread evenly over he surface and then worked in to the holes using the back of a garden rake or a stiff brush.

There several benefits derived from this treatment. Firstly the compost will prevent these newly made holes from sealing up again. Secondly because these 15cm deep columns of compost are quite loose, water will drain away quickly and oxygen will pass through to the roots. You are introducing some organic matter into the lawn which will eventually give up plant foods and finally, the topdressing process can be used to even out minor depressions in the lawn. As a result, when you start to cut next season, you will find that the machine will give a much truer cut � long bits alternating with scalped bits.