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Close up shot of a lawn with leaf litter

Overview

It's time to get your grass growing again. The best way to do this is to aerate it and apply a quality top dressing to your lawn in the spring or autumn.

Steps

1Mow the lawn

Before we can aerate the lawn, we need to mow it. When you do cut it, make sure it's not too short or too long, just a trim, leaving the length of the grass at 40-45mm. Don't leave any grass clippings on the lawn.
A Bunnings team member mowing a lawn

2Aerate the lawn

The idea behind aerating your lawn is to create holes so that water, air and nutrients can more easily get to the roots. It also stops the top layer of the soil from becoming too compacted. Work your way around the lawn in a line with the aerator, making sure nowhere gets missed. Overlapping by up to 50 per cent is also a good idea. If you used a petrol driven aerating machine, you will have plugs of grass and soil on the top of your lawn. You can either leave them to break down or run them over with your lawnmower.

A Bunnings team member aerating his lawn

3Pour the top dressing on the lawn

A bag of top dressing covers about 1–2 square metres. When you choose one, make sure it's a good quality soil, compost and nutrient mix, with no lumps and clumps. There are two ways to put the top dressing on the lawn: you can load it into a wheelbarrow and shovel it onto the lawn in piles about the size of a pillow. Or you can place the bags on the lawn, cut them open and pour top dressing out in piles. When handling top dressing always wear a dust mask, safety glasses and gloves.

A Bunnings team member emptying a bag of lawn top dresser onto his lawn

4Spread the top dressing

Use the back of a steel rake to evenly spread the top dressing across the lawn. You want it to be 1–2cm deep across the lawn and down near the roots, not covering the lawn.

A Bunnings team member spreading top dresser evenly across a lawn

5Water the lawn

Once you're happy with the even level and spread of top dressing, it's time to water it in. You can either turn your sprinkler or reticulation system on or water the top dressing in well with a hose. Once the dressing is well watered in, don't walk on it or mow it for a week. But when you do mow it, you'll notice your lawn is healthier, richer and greener.

A Bunnings team member watering his lawn

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More D.I.Y. Advice

Health & Safety

Asbestos, lead-based paints and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber are health hazards you need to look out for when renovating older homes. These substances can easily be disturbed when renovating and exposure to them can cause a range of life-threatening diseases and conditions including cancer. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page.

When following our advice in our D.I.Y. videos, make sure you use all equipment, including PPE, safely by following the manufacturer’s instructions. Check that the equipment is suitable for the task and that PPE fits properly. If you are unsure, hire an expert to do the job or talk to a Bunnings Team Member.