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How to Renovate your Lawn: Full Step-by-Step Guide

A close up of grass with the sun shining on it.

There are many ways that a lawn can get destroyed. One of the most common ways is because of neglect. Now, sometimes it is not always our fault. Just because your lawn doesn’t look so great right now doesn’t mean you can’t fix it up. With the proper guidance, it’s not that difficult, so here is exactly how to renovate your lawn.

There are three essential steps when renovating a lawn:

  1. Remove any weeds as this can prohibit the healthy growth of grass.
  2. Prepare the soil using a garden fork to turn the ground, making it easier for seeds to set themselves.
  3. Finally, once you have planted the grass, water it every day.

OK, that is the simple version, but here I will lay out ten steps to make renovating your lawn easy. We will start by discussing what tools you will need, and at the end, I will answer some questions that you may have.

So, if you are about to start renovating your lawn, I recommend reading through this article.

What Tools Do You Need To Renovate Your Lawn?

You don’t have to go out and buy all of the tools mentioned in this section. Remember, you are renovating your lawn, so not everything has to be perfect.

However, some tools will make your life easier, these are the basics I recommend, and I’ve linked to the product of my choice where available from Amazon:

Note: This post may contain affiliate links which will take you to online retailers that sell products and services. If you click on one and buy something, I may earn from qualifying purchases. See my Affiliate Disclosure for more details.

If you do not have a weed puller, you can use your hands with a small garden spade, although a weed puller makes things easy because it can get right to the root of the weeds.

A sprinkler system will give you the best results for nourishing the grass, but not everybody has that option. All you need is a watering hose and time throughout the day to water the grass at least once but twice is best.

Renovating Your Lawn: 10 steps

These ten steps should act as a rough guideline and don’t need to be followed precisely. With that said, if you decide to go with each of these steps, renovating your lawn will be a breeze.

#1. Inspect The Lawn

I find that inspecting the lawn before you start will give you a good idea of what you need to do and how long it will take to complete the project. You could walk around with a pen and paper to take notes as you go along. Here are a few benefits of inspecting the lawn before you start a renovation:

  1. You will know where all the weeds are.
  2. Taking notes will help you remember the tools needed.
  3. Inspecting the lawn will help you get creative. For example, you might decide to add a flower bed to your garden.
  4. It will help you create a planned approach and have good time management.

If the project is a lot bigger than you thought, you might decide to hire a professional to come and help you. Although a lawn renovation doesn’t usually require professional help, it is nice if you have the means.

#2. Gather All Of The Tools

You can wing it in most cases, but I find that laying out all my tools before I start a project helps me. I know that from experience, having to run to the other side of your home to fetch one tool is a big time waster because it is so easy to get distracted on your way there.

Another important thing is if you don’t have all the tools and find yourself stuck, having everything you have in eyesight could give you a clue that something might work as an improvisation for what you don’t have.

A lawn with flower beds surrounding.
Consider adding flower beds to your lawn

#3. Prepare Flower Beds (If Applicable)

If you are going to add a flower bed somewhere in your yard, it is best to prepare that part first. If your lawn has no grass on it at all, outline an area. However, if your lawn does have grass, dig up the place where you want the flower bed to go.

This will save time because you won’t have to cut the grass in that area. I think flower beds are fantastic for lawns, and they can transform their aesthetic appeal significantly. So, if you weren’t planning on doing it already, it’s something to consider.

You could also renovate the lawn entirely and then decide whether or not you want to add a flower bed.

#4. Remove Any Weeds

Removing weeds is most likely one of the most important parts of renovating your lawn. They can wreak havoc on healthy grass and prohibit anything from growing in its surrounding area. So even if there are only a few weeds, it can have a significant impact.

Here are a few things to note about removing weeds from your lawn:

  • Remove the entire weed, do not leave any roots.
  • Using a weed puller makes things easier.
  • Pulling the weeds while the grass is wet makes them easier to remove without breaking.

I still recommend removing the weeds while they are dry unless you want to do it the day before and give the lawn time to dry out before you proceed.

#5. Prepare The Soil

If you do not have any grass on your lawn, you need to prepare the soil. This is probably the most demanding job of the whole project because it needs to be done in steps. The easiest method is to use a tilling machine to turn the soil. You can use a garden fork and some elbow grease if you do not have one.

Here is a simple step-by-step guide to preparing your soil:

  1. Turning the soil: If you are using a garden fork, push it into the soil. You do not need to go deep, use the halfway point of the forks as a guideline. For each spot, turn the soil three times. This is time-consuming, but it gets the job done. If you have a tilling machine, go over each spot twice.
  2. Rake the soil: To help with drainage, get the surface as flat as possible. I find that using a simple garden rake is the best. Be patient and think of it as a Zen garden.
  3. Adding fertilizer: Most people wait until they have seeded the soil before adding fertilizer, which makes sense. However, I prefer spending just a few extra dollars to get some fertilizer for the soil before it is even seeded. You can even let that sit for a day if you have enough time.
  4. Watering the soil: It is important to only water the soil after fertilizing it, but don’t spray the soil too hard as this will disturb the fertilizer. Instead, give it a light sprinkle.

Again, your lawn might be different from the ones I have worked on, and if you need to improvise, feel free to do so.

#6. Cut And Prepare The Grass

If your lawn is lush with grass, you have to cut it. However, if you have removed weeds or have a patchy lawn, you still need to prepare the soil where there is no grass.

This gets a bit tricky because most people don’t want to disturb the grass in the surrounding areas. So, instead of turning the soil, I like to take a garden fork and poke holes in the areas that need new grass.

#7. Water The Grass And Soil

There are different soil types, sometimes it can be healthy while other times unhealthy. Planting grass in unhealthy soil could result in a lawn that looks just as bad as before you started the project. So, you want to keep nourishing the soil with water and fertilizer.

The same concept applies if you already have grass, and in fact, I think it is more important to keep the grass you already have on the lawn well nourished.

Hands sprinkling grass seeds into bare spots on a lawn, close up.
Grass seed is very easy to plant

#8. Plant Your Grass Seeds

Hopefully, you have turned the soil correctly or poked holes in the patches of your lawn. There is no secret method to planting seeds. Planting grass is one of the easiest seeds to handle. You can even just throw it in the areas that need it.

NOTE: Before you plant the seeds, check to ensure that your soil feels healthy. If it doesn’t, and you still want to plant the grass, that is ok.

#9. Keep Watering The Lawn Daily

Grass takes around two weeks to grow. If you stop watering your lawn for a few days, the seeds could end up dying, and all the work you have done up until this point would have been for nothing.

Always use a light sprinkle when you are watering the lawn. Don’t be too harsh as the seeds will still be fragile, or you might disturb the fertilizer.

#10. Keep The Soil Fertilized

It is commonly recommended that you fertilize a garden about once a month; however, if you have heavy rainfall or anything that might disturb the fertilizer you want to get on it straight away and ensure that the growing grass has constant nourishment.

What Is The Best Time Of Year To Renovate A lawn?

Many people say that renovating your lawn is best done in early spring. Yes, you should get outstanding results if you do it at that time of year, but my secret is to do it two weeks before going into spring.

You are basically giving yourself a head start, and allowing your lawn to reap all the benefits that spring brings with it.

How Long Does It Take To Renovate A Lawn?

When it comes to how long it will take to renovate your lawn, there are many variables. For example, renovations that don’t require you to plant much grass, it can be done within a day. For growing grass, it takes waiting two weeks for the grass to grow.

From my experience, I like to dedicate two days to the project if I’m not growing grass.

Should You Get A Professional To Renovate Your Lawn?

The garden service industry is highly lucrative. In fact, many teens make a lot of money by doing lawn care in their area. With the experience that the professionals have, you are most likely going to end up with a better-looking lawn.

The question is, where is the fun in getting someone else to do the work? Finishing a DIY project and then seeing the end result in two or three weeks is so satisfying. You will also learn a lot during the process, and maintaining your lawn will be easier with your newfound knowledge.

Taking Care Of Your New Lawn: What To Expect?

Now that you have completed your project, you need to maintain it. If you don’t, you will have to renovate it more than you think. Maintaining a lawn is a lot easier than embarking on a major project every year or two.

Lawn maintenance is not difficult. Let’s take a look:

  • Water your garden daily. Investing in a high-quality sprinkler system is a good decision.
  • Inspect the lawn for weeds at least once a month.
  • Keep the lawn fertilized.
  • Do not let the grass grow too long.

Buying Grass Versus Growing Grass: Which Is Best?

A more suitable way to phrase this question would be to say which is best for you. Buying grass is easy but can also be costly as the price will go up the more extensive your lawn is.

You still need to turn and prepare the soil before you plant new grass; otherwise, your fresh grass could die. For the best lawn grub killers on the market, read this other article I wrote!

Grass with a mower, seed, rake, and edger sitting on it with sun streaming in golden.
With the right tools and guidance, lawn renovation is quick, easy, and fun!


Renovating your lawn and then maintaining it may seem tedious at first but trust me, once you start the project it will fly by with the right guidance, which I have provided here. Good luck, and I hope your lawn looks fantastic when you are done!

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