After a hot summer, it’s not unusual for a lawn to look tired. You might see some color spottiness, bare patches, and weed growth as the seasons change.
Even if you have a sprinkler system for your landscaping, the constant exposure to hot weather puts enough stress on the grass to stunt its growth or create nutrient deficiencies.
Once you know the hot weather is likely gone for good, it’s time to start thinking about lawn renovation in the fall. It’ll help you restore patches, remove thick weed spots, and set the stage for a healthier winter season.
Why Is Fall the Best Time to Renovate a Lawn?
The best time to start the renovation work for a lawn is in the early fall. Depending on the weather and season, it might be helpful to wait until mid-season to start the work.
You’ll want the soil to be warm during the renovation work. When the temperatures are higher, a faster germination process occurs.
Since the air is typically cool during the fall months, the young grass can start growing without dehydrating.
It’s the perfect combination for germination and root establishment.
What Is the Cost to Renovate a Lawn?
It’s important to remember that “lawn renovation” is not the same as “lawn replacement.”
When you choose lawn renovation, the restoration tasks include aeration, overseeding, power seeding, fertilization, and soil balancing.
If you need lawn replacement services, the old sod comes out, and new stuff gets installed.
The typical cost to overseed a yard with aeration services depends on the size and scope of the project. Although the average cost in the United States is about $1,000, the actual price can vary from $400 to $1,600. []
Professional landscaping companies need to see the condition of the lawn before they can offer an accurate estimate.
If you decide to do the work yourself, you’ll have the cost of supplies to consider. A 50-pound bag of grass seed typically retails for about $100. You’d also want to invest in a push aerator to speed up the work, which averages about $20 per hour for services.
The cheapest option is to use a spike aerator. Whether you strap the tool to your shoes or use it like a pitchfork, you can expect to pay between $20 to $100 based on the quality you want.
Steps to Follow for a Successful Lawn Renovation Experience
When you’re ready to renovate your lawn, these steps can help you have a successful experience.
- Decide on the seed type to use for your lawn. High-quality grass limits the number of weeds that grow while working with your climate. Since most weed killers work by limiting seed germination, you can’t apply anything until the grass sprouts. []
- Mow your lawn to a height of about one inch. Although that’s shorter than what you likely keep it at for maintenance, this step will make it easier to complete the aeration and dethatching work. It’ll also give the seeds more access to sunlight and water while providing the blades time to grow and establish themselves for the winter months. []
- Add leaf compost or topsoil to the lawn to encourage seed germination. The coverage will help prevent birds from picking out what you’ve worked so hard to spread while delivering an extra nutritional boost to the soil. It might be helpful to test everything to see if you have nutrient deficiencies to correct during the restoration process. []
- When sowing grass seeds, it’s important to have consistent coverage to avoid patchy growth. Even if you only purchase a hand spreader, the tool will deliver better results than what you’d get by grabbing handfuls. If you have a large property, it’ll be better to invest in a spreader you can push. []
- Tamp down the area firmly to ensure the seeds go into the soil. If you leave them on the surface, they’ll be less likely to germinate. Accelerating the process with straw or a specific landscaping product can help you renovate the lawn quickly and effectively before the winter months arrive.
- Try to restrict foot traffic in the overseeded areas for at least one month. Although stepping on the grass doesn’t stop it from growing, the compacted soil could create problems to manage. If any weeds appear, pull them by hand.
You can mow your lawn again once the new grass gets about one-third higher than where you like to trim. It’ll take between four to six weeks to achieve that height.