I'm a professional groundsman – how to get a perfectly mowed lawn every time and the trick to handling slopes

I'm a professional groundsman – how to get a perfectly mowed lawn every time and the trick to handling slopes

April 28, 2022

IT'S a job we often put off, but mowing the grass is one of those chores that it is vital to keep on top of if you want a luscious lawn.

But while getting the grass in tip-top shape requires a bit more effort than the odd haphazard trim, it doesn't have to be difficult.

Marc is a co-founder of So & Mo, the UK's first subscription lawncare brand, and has also maintained greens at prestigious golf clubs and sporting venues.

Here, he shares his top tips to getting the perfect garden and lawn just in time for summer…

(Avoid) a close shave

If you're gearing up for the first lawn mow of the season, make sure you aren't too heavy-handed.

Mark says: “If you haven’t cut your lawn this year, don’t go severe on the first cut.


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"Mow your grass shorter week by week.

"If you go for a severe trim, you risk leaving bald patches called ‘scalping’, and this is the perfect spot for weeds and moss to grow – not what you need! 

“Set the blades to the highest setting for your first mow and make sure not to remove more than one-third of the grass blade at once.

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"Be careful if you’ve laid a new lawn, as the roots will still be shallow, and the turf could rip.

"For an established lawn, mowing little and often is the secret. As the weather warms, the more regularly you can cut, the better.

"Every three to four days will encourage the grass to grow thicker and healthier."

The grass is always greener

If you want to really impress the neighbours, stripes are the way to go.

Marc says: “To get an impressive striped pattern, you need to cut the grass in two different directions with a lawnmower with a roller – these are usually petrol-powered, but not always.

"To get the light and dark effect depends on which way you cut.

"The grass bent away from the sun looks bright as it reflects. The grass looks darker facing towards the sun as it casts a shadow.

"Regularly cutting the lawn in different directions stops the grass from ‘laying over’, and you’ll get a more consistent cut."

Pick a pattern

To take it to the next level, consider what kind of stripes you'd like to go for, depending on what you're looking to achieve.

Marc says: "Choose your stripes. Straight lines are classic.

"Diagonal lines make your garden look bigger.

"In irregular spaces, use the contours of the garden and have wavy lines.

"The possibilities are endless – play around until you find something that works.

"Pro tip – make sure it’s dry as the grass stands taller, and you get a cleaner cut."

Weed out issues

No one wants a patchy lawn that consists of more weeds than grass, so it's important to tackle this too.

Marc says: “You get weeds in your garden in the first place because they take over thin or bare patches quickly.

"To get your garden in shape for summer, you need to start with a clear-out, and you’ve got two options.

"Use a trowel or handpick them wearing gloves and remove the roots, or use a herbicide weed killer.

"If you’ve only got a few to deal with, avoid using a herbicide to kill them."

Huge moss-take

Similarly, moss can also try to take over your lawn.

Marc says: “Moss takes hold in your garden because it loves a wet environment, so the winter months can be the worst.

"Moss, like weeds, will establish in your lawn quickly if there are thin or bare patches.

"You’ll have spotted the spongy mats in your garden. These suffocate your grass so it can’t grow. 

“For best results, apply Iron Sulphate two or three days before a clear out.

"It will kill the moss and turn it black, making it easier to clean up as part of your spring maintenance.

"When you work a rake over the grass (known in the trade as scarifying) to remove the moss and other dead plants, you’ll leave yourself with a good patch of soil for new grass to grow.” 

Food fuel

Marc says: “We feed our bodies with the right nutrients to stay fit and healthy, and the same theory applies if you want a happy and healthy lawn.

"Nutrients help the grass grow and to strengthen the roots.

"If you don’t, your growth will be slow, and you’ll have a dull-looking lawn. 

“With warmer weather and plenty of sunshine, we want to maximise a healthy topcoat.

"In So & Mo’s seasonally adjusted lawncare, our mix of nutrients helps with recovery, so your lawn will still be going strong after a kickabout or a garden party.”

Don't fake it

Finally, Marc always recommends going 'au naturel', even if fake grass seems like less hassle.

Not only does it look better, but Marc says: “Natural grass is a haven for birds, bees and the planet.

"Pollinators need green spaces to keep their ecosystem thriving.

"Whilst artificial grass is easy to clean, it’s made from hard plastics which can’t be recycled and are bad for the environment.

“Having a healthy lawn is an excellent start to helping biodiversity.

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"If you want to go one step further, so can always designate a patch of your lawn for wildflowers.

"Not cutting the grass and letting it grow wild will help attract more pollinators to enjoy your lovely lawn.” 

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