Everybody wants to have a pleasing lawn to display in front of his or her house. Indeed, a well-kept lawn is not simply a matter of vanity, as a clean and tidy lawn adds equity to the value of a home. While many homeowners fear their untutored gardening efforts may do more harm than good, basic gardening is simpler than most imagine. Armed with nothing more than a little extra knowledge and a few basic tools, properly dressing and aerating a lawn is a simple and rewarding task.
The benefits of top dressing
Good healthy soil is a living, breathing thing, and it must be cared for as such. Filled with earthworms, insects, and countless microorganisms, natural soil converts natural debris such as twigs and leaves into nutrients that enrich the soil. Since the lawns adorning modern homes lack the natural stimulation provided by nature in the remote places of the earth, topdressing becomes ever more important, as it adds vital nutrients to the soil.
The first thing to do before getting started is to neatly mow the lawn with a good quality lawn mower. Old-fashioned mowers were often heavy and would churn the earth badly, but modern mowers are quick, gentle, and easy to use. Mow the lawn nice and short, but not so short that it can damage the grass. After the lawn is cut, dethatch the grass using a regular rake for a small lawn, or a trusty power rake for a large one.
Dethatching the lawn
Novice gardeners are often unaware of the term dethatching, but it is simply used to refer to the process of removing the small pieces of dead or detached grass that gathers just above the soil. This "thatch" gathers above the soil and often prevents moisture and air from reaching all parts of the soil. Thus, thatching is important for keeping a lawn vibrant and healthy.
Aerating a lawn
Aerating the lawn is a simple process that is done when water has difficulty piercing through the surface, or when the lawn needs a makeover in the appearance department. This can happen on clay surfaces or to lawns that experience a large amount of foot traffic over time, which causes the ground to become compacted.
The aeration process
Also known as coring, aerating involves breaking the soil down by loosening compacted soil and allowing air and water to penetrate all the way to the roots of the earth. There are two main aerating tools that are worth noting, including plug aerators and spike aerators. Plug aerators actually remove the soil from the garden, making the tool popular amongst gardening aficionados.
Spike aerating is a less expensive option, but is sometimes less effective as it simply pokes holes in the turf. Be methodical regardless of the chosen method, and always try to get the soil to be fine and uniform in appearance. Wetting the lawn is a good way of ensuring the soil is manageable, with many gardeners preferring to aerate the day after it rains for this very purpose.
Top dressing a lawn
After the lawn has been mowed, dethatched, and aerated, top dressing can begin. High quality top dressing is available for purchase, but it is also easy to make with a mixture of sharp sand, loam or topsoil, and some compost or peat to add nutrition to the soil.
With the top dressing nearby, use a shovel to apply small mounds of it to the lawn. Then, spread it evenly across the lawn using a light rake. Ensure the layer of top soil is no more than 2.5 centimetres deep to allow the grass to breathe properly. Keep the depth of topsoil as even as possible over the entire lawn, and reseed any of the very deep areas of topsoil with grass seed. Water the area well but check the lawn a few days later to see how the mixture has settled. Finally, use a rake to smooth out any small hollows or humps that may have developed.
How to buy gardening and lawn dressing equipment on eBay
Whether you are an avid gardener looking for some fancy new tools or a novice starting a new gardening collection, you can find a huge selection of new and used tools on eBay. Simply find the search box located on any page, and type in the name of the item you need such as "lawn mower" or "aerating spike". Using the filters, you can quickly find the perfect tool for you, and get started on improving your lawn with just a few clicks of the mouse.