Repairing lawn patches

24 November, 2014

After purchasing a beautiful set of outdoor furniture, building a dazzling pool and setting up a patio dining table and firepit, the last thing you want is to ruin an otherwise flawless backyard with a smattering of bald patches in your grass. Though they can be incredibly frustrating, they are actually quite easy to patch up.

Start with root of the problem
Though repairing law patches is relatively simple, it won't do you any good if you don't first treat the cause. Many things can hinder the health of your yard, from insects to mold to pet urine and foot traffic. By establishing and eliminating what's causing the problem, you'll prevent yourself from having to do another round of repairs down the road.

After you've determined what went wrong, dig out a square- or rectangle-shaped swatch of the area, being sure to get all the way around the damage. You will want to remove the dirt and soil to a depth of four to six inches. Be wary of cables while you're digging – hitting a phone line is a quick way to make a bad problem worse! Next, fill the hole with soil or compost, being sure not to pack it too tight or loose. A good way to get it to the right level of compaction is to gently lay in the recessed area and water it. 

Option No. 1: Fresh seed
The cheaper of the repair options, fresh seed can be installed in the bald area if the temperature outsides is above 52 degrees Fahrenheit. Sprinkle it in an even layer on top of the soil or compost. Rake gently into the soil, establishing as much seed-to-soil contact as possible, and be sure to water the lawn every morning and night until the seeds begin to germinate. After that, continue to water your yard at least once each day.

Option No.  2: New sod
A second option for repairing your yard's bald patches is new sod, which can be purchased in sheets. Cut a square the size of the excavated portion of lawn, laying it directly onto the soil or compost. This method can be done in colder temperatures and requires a bit less watering, but is the pricier of the two options. The square of sod may initially look jarring, but it will integrate itself in with the rest of your grass in no time.

Now that you've laid down new turf, it's important to implement a few preventative measures. While the fragile new grass is growing, set up a few stakes surrounding the area, tying them together with string as a sort of barrier to foot or pet traffic. You can use a fertilizer if you want to give your lawn a little TLC, but be careful not to use anything too harsh – a gentle seaweed fertilizer is usually recommended instead.