Cutting the grass when it is really long.

Cutting the grass when it is really long.

When a lawn has been left unattended for some time, it is often necessary to deal with an overgrown mess. You’ll need a bit more patience than someone cutting a well-maintained lawn. Getting it into perfect shape is a little more difficult.

Commercial lawn companies have equipment that will cut such a lawn, but it can be very expensive to hire them. And in the summer months they can be so busy that you will have to wait a long time before they can deal with the problem.

Removing the Top Layer of Grass

This first step is the hardest. Whatever tool you use, it will be a workout.

I suggest using either a strimmer or scythe. Many people will not have access to a scythe. Depending on the size of your garden you can either use a sickle, which is available from most garden centers, or a strimmer. Of the two, I think a strimmer is the best choice.

In general, when cutting lawn, you will want a strimmer with a plastic wire attachment rather than a steel blade. I find that strimmers tend to tear the grass a lot, and the grass can get caught up in the tool. I recommend taking off a small section at a time and removing the waste.

Once you have removed the top layer, you will need keep going until you can access the lawn. If the lawn has been left unattended for more than a year, the grass may have bent over, in which case you will have to keep on going over it with the strimmer until you have a lawn that can be cut via a mower.

Doing a Second Trim

Once you have left the lawn to recover for a week, it is time for the second trim. By this stage, you will probably have a lawn that is short enough that you can a conventional lawn mower on it. However, before starting you need to set the lawn mower to the highest setting.

Cut it with the lawn mower, trying to make sure everything is even.

The reality is that after you are finished mowing it, the lawn will almost certainly look dreadful. Don’t worry about that. Things will improve over the next few weeks.

Which Lawn Mower is Best?

In general, if you are mowing a really tough patch of lawn, or a large lawn, you will want a petrol mower. But if you have a small lawn, an electric mower is best. I often use an electric mower in my own garden, in the tricky areas near the house, and it works very well.