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Overgrown Garden


Hello everyone,

I am new to this site! I would really, really appreciate some advice on how to tackle my overgrown garden please. I have just moved house, and the back garden has not been touched in a long time! 

I think I have hugely underestimated the job, and thought mowing the area would solve the problem. I have attached some photos. Photo 1 shows the garden when we arrived. Photo 2 shows the garden after I tried to mow it, notice it is just a bed of long dead grass! Photo 3 shows a small area after mowing, where I have attempted to pull up all the dead grass by hand (hard work) . 

Sorry for the long explanation, i'm at a loss really as to what to do. Shall I continue to mow and then rip up all the dead grass? I have been using a qualcast 1200W electric mower from Argos. Thank you in advance for any advice, it is greatly appreciated :-). I have tried googling "how to treat an overgrown garden" but some of the articles are very technical with lots of fancy equipment! 



  • image    image

    Sorry my 2nd and 3rd photo wouldnt add to the initial post! 

  • Andy LeedsAndy Leeds Posts: 518

    I just see one picture but looks like you need to mow at the highest level so you don't ruin your lower then gradually lower the cutting level.

    If there's a lot of loose dead grass already maybe firstly you could take it out with a spring tine rake, that would also help to not clog up the mower.

    Once you've done that you probably want to come back with details on what directions the garden faces, what kind of planting you may want (mainly lawn / jungle etc.!). 

    To be honest, it doesn't look that bad to me ?.

  • Thank you very much Andy. That is great advice. Sorry, I have attached the next two photos on this thread, they wouldn't post with the initial post. I will buy a rake as you suggested :-) at the moment just aiming to get a nice green lawn! 

  • Andy LeedsAndy Leeds Posts: 518

    Wait to see what others say, don't just take my post as gospel ?.  I'm but a beginner too.

    Looking at the other pictures if you want to overseed that lawn you probably want to get a 'normal' garden rake and rough up all the soil (once you have cleared and mown it). Then get yourself some grass seed.  

    Edit: actually looking again at the pictures the lawn runs right to the fences - is this what you want (just lawn) or do you want to create borders so you can plant shrubs / flowers / climbers?

    Last edited: 30 April 2017 19:45:45

  • CloggieCloggie Posts: 1,455

    A spring tine rake would be good to pull out some of the dead stuff - I bought a black and decker scarifier for about £30 and used it without the rubbish hopper that comes with it.  It was cheap and light but it did pull the moss and thatch out of the lawn.

    Then I used the mower on the highest setting to pick up the rubbish.

    I've got compost bins but you could fill your green bin with the "hay" that comes out.

    Then pray for rain.

    Keep on top of the mowing and you will see it revive.

    Like Andy said, any bare patches can be filled in with seed.  I like to mix bought compost, bit of fine soil and sand with grass seeds and throw that in any holes.

    Done this way, it will probably be next spring/summer before it starts to look good but it is the cheapest way to do it and from the photos it doesn't look beyond hope to me either, might even be ok after a couple of mowings.

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 52,115

    It looks like it's been neglected for a while Charlotte!  image

    Not to worry - even rough looking plots can be turned round. If the ground's really uneven you might want to fill in any big dips with a mix of soil and compost and you can then oversow those areas later. I'd be tempted to give it a weed and feed - loads of readily available products - and this is a good time of year to do it. That will give the grass a boost, but also tackle any areas of weeds. As you've just cut it, you need to leave it for a few days, or even a week, before doing that. After that, mow regularly - at least once a week - and only taking about a third of the height off at any time. If you let it get too long, then scalp it, the grass weakens, and it makes a better environment for weeds to thrive. Regular mowing is the best thing you can do to improve it. 

    Grass is one of those things that can be a big chore or a relatively simple thing, depending on how perfect you want it to be. A bit of scarifying to get rid of moss and thatch will also help the health of the grass, but that's something you can tackle later.  image

    If you want to plant up various areas, it might be better to decide on those first, cut them out, and then tackle the grass. 

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Thank you so much for your replies Andy and Cloggie.

    I think at the moment, we're just aiming for getting the lawn back in shape Andy. Will think about flowers etc after :-) we are total beginners so really appreciate your advice. I think i'm to go for a spring tine rake with plenty of mowing as you have both suggested. Hopefully this will work, and it seems much less costly than redoing a whole lawn! I am feeling much better about it now after seeing that you're both optimistic it's not that bad! Thank you 

  • Thank you for you're reply fairygirl ? (love the name!). Thank you for the suggestion of weed and feed, just had a look and this is dead cheap in wilko so will definitely get some of this! A third of the height is great advice too, I've just been trying to mow over the same patch to make it as short as possible ?. Will try just taking a small amount off regularly. Really appreciate your advice, thank you. 

  • CloggieCloggie Posts: 1,455

    You'll also find that whipping over it once a week is far less of a chore than trying to continually keep catching up if you leave it to get a bit too long.  When it gets a bit long you have to do it twice, once at high level and again lower.

    It's my Saturday or Sunday morning job in summer. 

  • Hi Charlotte - I wonder whether a lawn is less work than a flower bed, but I understand your reticence if you're not sure what flowers to plant! My flower beds need the odd bit of staking and trimming but not the weekly / twice-weekly mow, biannual scarify, feed, weed, moss kill, constant watering etc than my grass does. Nothing, though, brings the different parts of a garden together better than a good old slab of greensward!

    In addition to all the great advice above, I suppose I'd just join Cloggie in warning that a decent lawn is in my experience the work of years rather than months, so seek and follow advice and act now or it'll be years +1! An electric scarifier for the £30 Cloggie mentions would be a good investment, but do take a deep breath and prepare yourself for the shocking bareness of the lawn after you've got rid of its 95% dead thatch...
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