5 reasons your lawn doesn't look the way you want it to

We all want a great looking garden for the family to enjoy over summer – but often pay no attention to the lawn until it's too late. Here are the five most common lawn problems you can face and and how to remedy them before they get out of hand

Story by: Bethany Seton
Splendour in the grass – so how best green, teal
Splendour in the grass – so how best to bring your lawn up to the standard of this pristine example?

Soil That is Too Dry or Too Wet

Like most plants, our lawns need the correct amount of hydration to stay in the best condition. 

During the rainy seasons, your lawn can get waterlogged, which will kill off the grass if there is no way for the water to run off. During heavy rain, make sure you have aerated the lawn to reduce that risk. 

In a dry spell, you need to make sure that you are giving the lawn enough water to thrive. You should water in the evenings or early mornings to provide the grass with the best chance of drinking the water before it evaporates back into the air. 

Use water butts that collect rainwater to limit the amount of water you need to take from the mains and using recuperated rainwater will help provide additional nutrients that the grass needs to flourish.

Compacted Soil

We regularly turn our flower bed soil over to break it up and allow plant roots to gain access to nutrients and water. Your lawn needs the same access and needs to be aerated regularly to allow water to soak into the soil rather than wash away or evaporate. The way to treat this issue is with a specific tool called an aerator or use a garden fork and create holes throughout. 

Compacted soil can also occur in heavy traffic areas where people have been walking, and these areas will need extra attention to combat the problem. Try to encourage people to use specific walkways or to alternate where they walk, to help limit the amount of compacting that can occur. 

During the dry seasons, it can be hard to aerate the soil sufficiently, so be sure to get on top of the situation before prolonged dry spells happen.


Made in the shade? Not so much. Maximise architecture, cottage, facade, home, house, outdoor structure, property, real estate, residential area, roof, teal, brown
Made in the shade? Not so much. Maximise sunlight on your lawn by cutting back trees and tall plantings

Bad sunlight

Most backyards will have some areas of their lawn where the sun rarely shines upon. Try to trim back natural obstructions such as trees or tall plants to give your lawn more sunlight in these darker areas. 

You may find it easier to create your lawn around where the sun shines to ensure a consistent lawn throughout. Grass needs sunlight to grow, but too much can also cause it to yellow and dry out. 

Remember to give areas that get a lot of sunlight more water to stop your grass from changing colour. 

You could look at adding trees or plants that can offer these dry areas more shade to reduce the impact of too much light during the dry seasons. 

Over fertilisation

When looking at how to fertilise your lawn, more is not necessarily better. The signs of an over-fertilised lawn, commonly referred to as "fertiliser burn," results in dry brown stripes throughout the grass. The cause of the brown stripes is due to a build-up of salts within the soil, which dehydrates the grass, causing it to die off. 

Although lawns do need to be fertilised, you should only need to do this once or perhaps twice per year. Never add fertiliser to a wet lawn, add it when dry, and then water it after to help let the goodness seep down to the roots where it will be most effective. 

If your lawn does start to show signs of over-fertilisation, you should try watering it as much as possible to dilute the salts in the soil, and hopefully, they will drain away over time. 

Bug? Weeds? Dead spots? There are ways to green
Bug? Weeds? Dead spots? There are ways to fight your way back to a pristine green space.

Weeds and Pest

If your lawn is starting to get a lot of weeds growing on it, you may have one of the problems stated above and should look to fix this before buying the weed killer. 

Weeds often start to take over your lawn when the grass has dead spots or is not growing well. Once the weeds start, they can be hard to shift. If you notice any dead spots, try to fill them in with grass seed as soon as you can as weeds thrive in these areas of your lawn. 

There are many pests that can damage your grass, some of these attack the roots and others the grass blades themselves. 

Once you have fixed any issues you have with your lawn, look at getting a suitable bug killer that will eradicate the pests but not harm your grass or any other plants and trees nearby.

You do not need to spend a lot of time to ensure a healthy-looking lawn, but you should pay attention throughout the year and fix these problems as they arise. If you have any doubts or are unsure of what to do, you can (and should) speak to your local garden centre as they will offer advice that suits your location and the type of lawn you have.

About the author:

Bethany Seton is a real estate agent from Melbourne. For the last two years, she decided to leave her office job and follow her passion for writing and traveling. Currently, she travels with her laptop and writes for various blogs, hoping one day she will gather all the experience she gets in one book.

Dec 05, 2019
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