There are two ways you could patch repair bald areas of a lawn, either by installing new turf, or using lawn seed.
Replacing the turf
This method is more suited to larger areas where turf has died, there has been wear from traffic, or if you require a more instant fix, however, when the new turf is laid it is likely to look very different to the existing lawn. Even if you choose turf with the same seed mix as your existing turf, it will have been grown in different soil and conditions and will therefore take a little time for it to adapt to its new environment and blend into the existing lawn, so it’s worth bearing this in mind.
If you only need to purchase one or two rolls to cover your patches, buying from your local garden centre or builders’ merchants may be more cost effective. However, if you require more than this, it is worth checking prices online. Orders for 10-20 square metres for example, could be delivered to your home with free delivery rather than having to collect. Each roll can weigh 18kg on average depending on the weather conditions, so you will need to use a vehicle with sufficient capacity if collecting. Use our turf calculator to see how much you need to buy to patch your area.
Prior to laying the new turf you will need to prepare the ground in the same way as if laying a full new lawn. You must ensure the ground isn’t compacted and there is fertile soil for the new turf roots to grow into. Check the area is level, so you don’t create a raised area or divot when the turf is laid; you may have to add or remove soil in order to level the area.
See our instructions on How to lay turf for further advice.
Using lawn seed to patch repair
Seeding is a great way to fill in bald patches of earth in a grassed area, especially if you are able to source the same seed blend used to grow the existing lawn. This will blend well into its environment so that the lawn’s appearance is not as patchy with different grass types once fully established.
First of all, you will need to calculate the area you want to seed. Most lawn seed packaging will tell you what area each box will cover and the coverage rate. For example, Rolawn Medallion® Lawn Seed requires approximately 35 grams of seed per square metre, but this can vary between brands.
You will need to prepare the ground so that the seed has the ideal environment to grow and where bald patches are caused by traffic wear you will need to break up the compacted earth. Take the opportunity to remove stones and perhaps dig in some new topsoil or compost so that the seed has friable, fertile soil on which to germinate and for the roots to grow down into.
You can reduce compaction using a hand fork, or standard garden fork in larger areas. Simply dig the fork into the earth and shake it to break up the soil. Now lightly pat the area down to level it and scatter the seed evenly over the top (spreading left to right and then top to bottom can help to evenly distribute it). Softly rake the seed into the top 10-25mm of soil and water gently to make sure you don’t disturb the dispersion of the seed.
It is advisable to cover the seeded area with fine netting to avoid birds eating and disturbing the spread of the seed.
If the weather is particularly warm or there isn’t any rain forecast, then you may need to regularly water the area until the new grass plants have established. Try to stay off the newly seeded area until the new grass has a healthy coverage and take care not to mow the newly seeded area too soon, as you may pull the grass plants from the earth if the roots haven’t had time to establish.
If you have a small area to repair, after watering you can cover the newly seeded area with a black bin liner and peg it to the ground, which will encourage the seed to germinate more quickly. If you do cover the area in this way you will need to check it regularly, as the liner must be removed as soon as there are signs of germination to allow the new seedlings access to essential sunshine and water. Once the covering has been removed you can replace it with fine netting until the grass plants are more established.
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