5 ways to cure patchy grass – and the mistakes to avoid

Patchy grass season is upon us – here’s how to maintain your greenery for the rest of the summer and beyond

Large garden with patchy grass and dining table
(Image credit: Future / Emma Lee)

While long summer days fill our gardens with boldly-hued flowers and intriguing insects, they are also responsible for something slightly less pleasing, patchy grass. You may notice your lawn is starting to look sparse in certain spots at this point of the year, but thankfully, this doesn’t need to set the tone for the rest of the season ahead. 

Instead, expert gardeners suggest it is possible to prevent and cure patchy grass – so if you’re looking to maintain your lush greenery – or you require some emergency remedy – their tips will work perfectly. Here, they share their garden ideas that will keep your garden looking as beautiful as ever before. 

Country garden with patchy grass and dining table

(Image credit: Future / Emma Lee)

What causes patchy grass?  

Before learning how to restore your grass, Saul Walker, an expert from BBC Gardeners’ World Live Special Edition, explains the reasons behind the patches. you need to look out for. Because prevention is better than cure, after all. 

‘Patchy grass is usually caused by a myriad of problems from diseases, such as Red Thread and Snow Mould, pest damage, like Leatherjackets and Chafer Bug Grubs,’ Saul begins. 

He explains that physical damage is often from constant use, while grass can become waterlogged from ‘poor drainage or a poor top.’ The latter is particularly common in newly built properties. ‘Identifying which problem you have and remedying it is always the first step in reviving your lawn before either repairing or replacing it,’ he says. 

How to fix patchy grass

If your lawn is showing signs of patching, these simple country garden ideas will even the smallest of plots back to health. This is what you need to know. 

1. Penetrate grassroots with aeration 

Saul, along with garden expert Noah James, recommends the process of aeration that will ‘increase airflow to the roots, encouraging oxygen for root health.’ Stronger roots grow deeper and promote a verdant lawn that is more resistant to future patching. The process also eases soil compaction for a versatile lawn for the cooler seasons ahead. 

Pristine grass in a large garden

(Image credit: Future / Annaick Guitteny)

2. Sow grass seed 

Perhaps the most impactful way to cure your patchy grass begins with a new grass seed. However, if you’re keen to try this method, you may need to wait a few more weeks for optimum results. 

Saul suggests seeding is ‘best undertaken in the cooler, moister seasons of spring and autumn to allow for the best establishment – after which regular scarification and aeration will keep your lawn in its best ‘Bowling Green’ condition.’

3. Top-dress with nutrient-rich soil  

One way to cure your grass patches is through the process of topdressing; as Noah recommends: ‘Top-dressing with nutrient-rich soil can help make air, water, and nutrients available to the grassroots as it breaks down over time.’ The process encourages the grass to re-root and become thicker – and will not only restore your grass – but promote a healthier plot for the rest of summer.  

Patchy grass with dining table and BBQ

(Image credit: Future / Emma Lee)

4. Regulate your mowing 

While it may seem entirely contradictory, the secret to patch-free grass is in a regular mowing schedule. Founder of Garden’s Whisper, Stephen Webb, shared his grass cutting advice, suggesting you should ‘frequently mow at least once a week during the growing season, and three times a month in winter.’ 

He adds that grass should be kept ‘two inches above the ground.’ If you’re looking for the best lawn mowers for the job, our guide is a great place to start.  

Dining table in a country garden by a riverside

(Image credit: Future / Mark Bolton)

5.  Patch with sod 

Another quick tip that will heal your patchy grass? Founder at Evergreenseeds, Emma Sophie, recommends laying sod at any point in the season in a way that is similar to how you would patch with seeds. ‘Keep the area an inch below so that it can be leveled up with the ground. Once this is done, cut a piece of sod and fix it on the repair site. Gently press the patch and walk on it, so it gets settled down. Then water the area properly so that it goes down in the soil,’ Emma explains. 

Is this the end of patchy grass? It’s time to welcome perfect green pastures back into your garden for good.

Megan Slack
Megan Slack

Megan is a News Writer across Future Plc's Homes titles. She has a background in national newspapers in the UK and has experience in fashion and travel journalism, which she previously practised whilst living in Paris and New York City. Her adoration for these fashion capitals means she particularly enjoys writing about upcoming styles and trends for Homes & Gardens. Megan also loves discovering vintage pieces in her spare time, meaning her decor is largely influenced by the beauty of the jazz age.