Lawn Renovation: How to Fix a Neglected Lawn

lawn renovation

Before you hire a lawn care company to renovate your weedy lawn back into a lush green carpet, try to fix your yard yourself. While lawn renovation DIY eats up an entire weekend, the feeling of satisfaction you get from the lawn renovation process will be worth the time.

In this blog post, we’ll talk about

  • The reasons why your lawn needs rehabilitating
  • Learn two ways for lawn renovation DIY

Why Your Lawn Needs Rehabilitation

If your property has many weeds, bare patches, or even has different types of grass growing in it, your yard needs a reboot.

Additionally, your grass yard will need lawn renovation if you have a lot of moles and voles making tunnels over the winter, resulting in a bumpy and uneven property.

You might’ve just moved into your new home before the spring green-up only to realize that there are different varieties of grass growing throughout your entire lawn. Lawn renovation DIY will cost less than paying someone to come out to your property to fix it.

Your lawn renovation goal should be to produce a thick, green yard. You can do that easily by following a lawn renovation process. There are two ways to restore your lawn—using natural means or by using Glyphosate to kill all vegetation so you can start with a clean slate.

Need some inspiration? Then, check out How To with Doc on YouTube for a lawn renovation before and after video! The Doc’s website also has other before and after lawn renovation photos.

How to Renovate a Lawn Naturally

The early spring is the best time for a lawn renovation DIY project.

Here are the steps for rehabilitating a tired yard using natural methods:

  • Clean up all stones, sand, and other debris that splashed up into your property over the winter. You can use a shop vacuum to suck up all of the debris, or you can use a lawn sweeper to pull up all stones and sand swiftly.
  • You want to loosen up the soil to wake up your lawn. Your lawn sweeper will wake up your property while it picks up the winter debris.
  • Improve the soil’s ability to drain water by adding gypsum to your lawn using a broadcast spreader. A 40 lb. bag of gypsum can cover 200 – 1,000 sq. ft. depending if your soil is compacted.

You don’t need to put down gypsum throughout the entire lawn. The areas most affected by winter road salt need that extra TLC.

When spreading gypsum on your yard, make sure that the rows overlap between six to eight inches.

Related: How to Get Your Cool Season Lawn Ready for Spring

  • When your lawn grass grows to three inches, it’s time to mow. You only want to take 1” off the top, encouraging your grass lawn to grow in thick and green.
  • After your second mow, it’s time to add fertilizer. There are many fertilizers on the market. For lawn renovation, you need to use a fertilizer designed to restore lawn grass to health.

You want a slow release fertilizer that will last in the soil for six to eight weeks. When putting fertilizer in your broadcast spreader, make sure you’re filling it over the driveway or on a tarp. Excess fertilizer can burn your grass lawn.

A 20 lb. fertilizer bag will cover up to 5,000 sq. ft. Follow the manufacturer’s directions for using the fertilizer on your property.

About two weeks later (15 days), you can add a soil activator that supercharges the ground with nutrients to grow a thick, green lawn.

  • How you water your lawn will determine how healthy it is this season. Under watering your turf can lead to stressed turf. Conversely, overwatering your yard raises the risk of lawn diseases.

Remember, you only want to water your lawn 1” to 2” per week, and that includes any rainfall you get. You want to buy a rain gauge to help you measure the rainfall amount.

An in-ground sprinkler system allows you to control the rate and time when the irrigation system will go off each day. If you have an older system, you can retrofit it with a timer, moisture sensor, and Bluetooth capability.

If you’re unsure how to start your lawn sprinkler system in the spring, call a landscape contractor to open it up for you. Also, you should perform monthly checks to make there are no broken water lines or broken sprinkler heads.

If you have a small lawn or you don’t have an in-ground sprinkler system, you can use soaker hoses to disperse water into the soil slowly.

  • Put down your second round of lawn fertilizer about six to eight weeks after the first application. Remember to follow the manufacturer’s directions for application.
  • Apply gypsum to dog urine spots. If you have dogs, you’ll have bare spots. The soil and any grass left will perk up after a gypsum application.
  • In mid- to late summer, it’s time to spot treat those broadleaf weeds, including dandelions, clover, and henbit. If you only have a few weeds, a spot sprayer will do the trick.

However, if you have many weeds, you’ll need a dial sprayer that you hook up to your garden hose. And a lawn sprayer will make easy work of liquid herbicides for broadleaf weeds.

Watch more: How to Assemble a Brinly ST-25BH 25 Gallon Tow-Behind Lawn Sprayer

  • By the time you’re heading into fall, your grass should become alive again after a hot, dry summer. Core aerate and overseed your grass lawn, so you have thick turf returning next spring.

In late fall, cut your grass a little shorter and use a winter fertilizer that has potassium in it to help your lawn grass overwinter well and develop a deep root system.

How to Renovate a Lawn with Glyphosate

If you want to start over with a complete lawn renovation, you will need to kill off existing vegetation completely, both the grass and the weeds.

The lawn renovation process is a little different when using Glyphosate for a complete do-over:

  • You want to scalp your lawn as soon as it gets high enough to mow. You may need to scalp your property down to the ground a second time.
  • Next, you apply Glysophate to the area that you want to rehabilitate. Follow all of the manufacturer’s directions!

Remember, Glysophate will kill all plant life, so if you have landscaping plants in the area you’re working on, you want to avoid spraying them.

  • Don’t water your lawn for 48 hours to allow the Glysophate to absorb into the soil. It’ll kill all plant life belowground as well.
  • You can cover your lawn with a tarp, but leave it sit for a week before raking off the old vegetation.

Related: Getting Your Warm Season Lawn Ready for Spring

  • After that week is up, you can rake away all dried up vegetation. After you’re finished raking, add in topsoil or peat moss for extra nutrition. If you did a soil test, it’s also time to add any lime or gypsum to fix the pH.
  • Next, you want to aerate your soil before you plant any grass seed. After aerating, plant quality grass seed that works best for your climate and your yard.

For example, if you live in northern states, you want cool season grasses. If you live in southern states, you want warm season grasses.

  • Put down top dressing over the newly planted grass and make sure you water your lawn every day until grass starts to grow. Add fertilizer six to eight weeks after you planted your grass.
  • Mow your lawn after it fills in and is 3” long. Only take a third off the top, which is about 1”.

There are many steps in the lawn renovation process. Yet, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment when the new green grass starts to grow.

Why You Need Brinly Lawn Care Attachments to Help You with Lawn Renovation

While lawn renovation DIY is labor intensive, Brinly’s lawn care attachments ease some of the burden. You can buy our lawn care attachments online.

Can’t find Brinly lawn care attachments near you? Then call our customer service at 877-728-8224 or fill out our contact form.

Sources:, “Lawn Care: how to Repair a Lawn.”

University of California Agricultural and Natural Resources, “The UC Guide to Healthy Lawns: Kill the Existing Turf and Weeds.”