8 Easy Steps to Successful Lawn Renovation

If you are looking to fully renovate and fix your lawn. Now, is the time to begin the prep work and learn the steps involved in a full lawn renovation. Here, 8 steps are described for a successful lawn renovation.

How to Renovate a Lawn?

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How to Renovate a lawn

Measure the Lawn

So, the first thing that you need for lawn renovation is how much square footage you’re dealing with. You need to measure out your area. This is a very simple process. You can also do this online sometimes by using satellite views. But I like to just take a tape measure length by the width that’ll give you the square footage of your yard.

Make sure you write that down and make yourself a little map that way all this process going forward. You’re going to know how to calculate how much seed you need? How much fertilizer do you need? And all those things, in general, going forward too it’s awesome to have a map of your yard and know how much square footage you’re dealing with.

So, scalping is actually taking your mower setting it at the lowest setting going over the yard, and scalping off all the dead grass. You want to minimize all this dead grass. So that when you actually seed, it will get down to the soil layer. You don’t want the seed sitting on top of a bunch of dead grass.

You’re going to do that scalping phase to get rid of that. You don’t want to be leaving the clippings in the yard and having them in the way of getting that seed down to the soil.

Thin the Lawn

After that step, it’s also a good idea to thin out the dead grass. That’s where you want to be able to see down to the soil layer. You need to thin it out enough to where you can see the soil. And there’s not a big matted amount of dead grass there.

Various tools can be used to do this. A manual thatching rake can be used if you don’t have a large area. But for a large area, an electric dethatcher would be good for you for lawn renovation.

Core Aeration

The next optional step for lawn renovation would be core aeration. If you haven’t been aerating your yard or you feel like it’s pretty compacted. And you need to level the lawn before you would do the core aeration. I think it’s a great opportunity to take this time when you’re going to do a lawn renovation.

We just wanted to get this opportunity to smooth everything out to make mowing more enjoyable going forward. I recommend if you’re going to be doing seeding then use a soil type at this point. It’s going to help you hold in more moisture.

Now we took a lawn roller and just went over the surface to slightly pack everything. It doesn’t need to be a ton of weight. That’s in there or doing any major compaction but after that leveling work, you have a lot of loose soil there. You want to make sure for the most part it’s going to stay where you want it to stay. Just a light roll at this stage will do that for you.

Seed the Lawn

Now you’re actually at the phase of putting down the grass seed. Remember the first thing that you measured out your area. This is going to be important so that you know how much seed you need to put down.

Different types of grasses have different types of rates on the lawn. And I think choosing a seed is extremely important. As well if you’re going to go to all this work of doing a lawn renovation. I highly recommend that you go ahead and spend the money on a good seed.

best organic fertilizer
Best Seeds for Lawn Renovation

Now, what is a good seed? Well, there’s testing that’s done on elite varieties. These are extensive tests that are done for disease resistance, color, drought resistance, and all these things are important factors in your lawn.

If you’re going to take the time to do all these steps. I would highly recommend seeking out a very good grass seed going forward and making sure you also buy enough of it. So that in case you have some washouts and you have some areas that don’t come in as thick as you thought. You’ll have some of the extra product left and it’ll be the same seed. And you’re not going out to buy something else that doesn’t match what you have in your yard.

You can use a broadcast spreader here to put this onto the lawn. Also, you can use a drop spreader if you have one that works really well with seeding. A lot of times, I just go with the simple method of broadcasting and I found no reason to really switch this method because it’s worked well for lawn renovation.

Just pick a really low setting on your spreader, start spreading to where it’s coming out evenly but not heavy and then walk in multiple directions until you have a nice even coverage of the seed.

After this step of the seed is down. Take a metal rake and lightly rake this in. Now you don’t want to place the seed too far under the soil but have it slightly under that soil layer especially in the bare soil areas. It’s going to help a lot in the areas where you might have some dead grass left. But any of these areas especially with the bare soil. I like to lightly rake that in.

Then after this step take the roller back over that and take it over everything that seeded. To press that seed lightly into the soil. This is going to help with seed to soil contact. That’s what the seed needs for it to grow the best for lawn renovation. So a light rolling over everything is going to help to press that into the soil and give you great results at this point.

Weed Killer/Control

If you’ve had a lot of issues in your yard with weeds or maybe some poa. Then this would be a step when you can use organic weed killing products. This is safe to use at the time of seeding and won’t harm any of the actual grass seeds that you put down.

But it will help to prevent weeds that are coming up. As you start to water and it’s a step that usually takes to just give the best success possible for lawn renovation.

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killing weeds | Lawn tips

But if you’re not as comfortable with spraying and you’d like to put down a granular product. There are starter fertilizers or a couple of them that actually have the same ingredient in there and you can use this to put your starter fertilizer down.

We’re going to use a product like this to help give it some phosphorus here at the beginning stages of the grass growing. It needs phosphorus for root development.

Cover the Seeded Area

The next step in the lawn renovation process is to cover the areas that were seeded. Sometimes people will leave this step out but I found in the past that any areas that were covered, compared to just areas that were left with bare soil or just left with some dead grass existing there. Didn’t have as nearly as quick of successful germination.


Most people water their lawn far more than they need to, especially after it rained. Over-Watering your lawn will cause shorter root systems to develop making it more susceptible to dry conditions and pests. So if you need to water be sure to water deeply and less frequently to create a healthier and stronger lawn.

The best time to water is early morning before daytime temperatures rise, and try to avoid watering on windy days. Also, try to avoid watering in the evening as there are long periods of dampness which increases the chances of disease and fungus.

watering the lawn
Watering for Lawn Renovation

One way to prevent over-watering is to buy a rain gauge. Rain gauges are inexpensive and tell you exactly how much water your lawn has received and might let you know that you don’t need to water it at all.

If you are using a lawn sprinkler to water your lawn, position it so that you are only watering your lawn, and not sidewalks and driveways. If you are using an irrigation system ensure you are using water sensed labeled controller.

Weather-based controllers allow you to adjust your watering based on weather conditions, and some newer technologies like moisture sensors, efficient sprinkler heads, and micro drip systems will dramatically increase your water savings. Drip irrigation systems use 20-50% less water than traditional pop-up sprinkler systems.

Be sure to also have your in-ground system checked for leaks by a certified irrigation contractor. Another location to check for leaks is where your hose connects to your water spigot.

If water leaks at this connection simply replace your hose washer and ensure a tight connection to the spigot using pipe tape and a wrench.

Irrigated lawns also require a lot more water in comparison to other types of vegetation, so limit the size of your lawn by replacing grass with water-efficient garden beds of perennials.

Use water wisely, be water smart!

When to Complete First Mow?

Now, you notice things are growing in. You need to decide on when you would like to do that first mow. Really that comes down to what height you would like to mow the grass. So if you were targeting a height of two inches on this grass we probably let it grow to about three inches and then make our first mowing at that time.

The only thing you want to think about before that first mowing is to let the ground dry out a little bit. So that it’s not going to cause any major damage on the first mowing.

If you have a manual reel mower or you can find one. Because you can pick it up. You don’t need to make any turns in the corner and it’s really light and able to get onto the yard without doing much damage.

Read: How to Keep Lawn Healthy and Green?

Properly mowing the lawn for Lawn renovation

Aftercare of this you could do another application in probably three to four weeks of starter fertilizer or another fertilizer. Then going forward you can kind of decide to feed some fertilizers throughout the rest of the fall in lower amounts.

The last thing that you need to think about is just having patience. This takes a lot of time and effort. You’re dealing with the weather as well you might get some washout periods or you might have some major storms that kind of put a hindrance on what you’re doing.

Make sure you have extra materials that you can place down again and you will get there over time. Many lawn renovations did not go exactly as planned the first time but the only thing you can do is just keep working on them. And you’ll find success in the end.

Hope, this was helpful for your lawn renovation.





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I am Ricky Martin, a seasoned landscape designer, a passionate gardener, and a barbecue enthusiast. With 12 years of experience in building and restoring, I welcome you to my website lawnscanner.com