Sumo Gardener

Garden Makeover | Turn Abandoned Land Into a Beautiful Lawn

Abandoned land, more precisely neglected yards, degrade the look of your beautiful house and calls for a garden makeover. This usually happens because you have too much on your plate to give some time to your lawn. 

Or sometimes, you feel too lazy just by thinking about the series of steps in the lawn care process. And, inevitably, in the end, your lawn gets neglected.


But you know, as George Eliot said, "It's never too late to mend"! So, if you want to start your garden renovation, we are here to help you. In this article, we have mentioned every ingredient and approach to bring back your lawn to health.

We have also added a few quick makeover tricks to give a "facelift" to your yard.

What You Need for Your Garden Makeover

What You Need for Your Garden Makeover

Since you are starting from scratch, you need more tools and time to make this task more manageable and less tiring.

Have the right tools

You can't start on your garden renovation without the right tools. When your lawn overgrows, you need something more than a lawn mower to tackle them.

tools for garden renovation

Some heavy-duty gardening tools like brush mower, power rack, hedge trimmer, etc., make the job simpler and convenient. If you don't have these heavy-duty tools, you can rent them from the local hardware store. 

But make sure the store owner keeps his tools clean and healthy. It is because a dirty tool can carry various grass diseases and infect your lawn. 

Dedicate sufficient time

Since you are starting to build your lawn from starch, you need to complete the entire process in stages. Divide the complete process of lawn restoration into simple steps and dedicate at least two weeks to it.

This will not only prevent you from feeling over-burdened but also you can complete each action more efficiently. For example, spend the first two days cleaning and removing the junks and debris. Keep the mowing and trimming job for the next day and so on.

Stepwise transformation

Garden makeover of an overgrown and neglected lawn is undeniably challenging work, but the results will be pleasing if you do the job patiently. Moreover, on that pretext, you will get some physical exercise.

So, a beautiful and pleasing lawn along with some workout, why don't you give it a try! 

Remove the trash and debris

Start your yard restoration by cleaning your overgrown and long-neglected yard and make it free from all the debris and trash that has accumulated over time

Start your yard restoration by cleaning your overgrown and long-neglected yard and make it free from all the debris and trash that has accumulated over time.

Whether it is litter or a fallen pine cone, clear it off. Remove all the broken lawn features, old planters, damaged furniture, rusty lawn ornaments, etc. 

Make a compost pile for all the biodegradable and organic wastes like tree arms, bush trimmings, grass clippings, etc. And collect the other inorganic debris in a wheelbarrow or a large garbage can, or a dumpster. 

This is to ensure that when you run the mower, it can make passes without any obstruction. 

Mowing and Trimming

Since the land is filled with overgrown grass, weeds, crabgrass, and all other plants, you need to do the mowing job patiently and several passes.

If you don’t have a lawn mower, take help of this article lawn mower for 1/2 acre lot and buy one which is best for you.

In the usual lawn care process, we trim before mow so that the mower can chop the grass clippings, and you don't have to rack them. But in the case of overgrown land, mow the yard using a lawn mower or bush mower before you trim the edges.

A kid mowing lawn

For the first two passes, keep the blade to the highest settings and make the passes in the opposite direction to each other. 

If you have any tree in your yard, don't mow a minimum of 2 feet radius around the trunk. As this space is packed with tree roots, any of them may get damaged during the mowing process.

You can hand trim this area with lawn shears to remove the grasses. Since the grasses now have standard cutting height, it's time to trim the lawn into shape. 

Start with the edges along the fence, stone wall, or patio and cut along the driveways and walkways. 


Dethatching is required when the yard has a thick layer of thatch even after mowing and trimming. You can use a power rack which is aggressive enough to a very thick layer of thatch. But if the lawn has a small amount of thatch, use a dethatcher.

It is necessary because dethatching the soil gets exposed to the water, air, and sunlight, making it healthier. However, if you feel that mowing and trimming have removed the grasses well, you can skip this step.

Add herbicide weed killer

Weeds, the long-known enemy of the lawn, need to be eradicated. Plugging them from the roots is not enough, for sometimes a few stubborn weeds keep on coming back and occupy the space. 

So the best way to remove them is by using a fertilizer with a pre-emergent herbicide. In the following step, instead of applying weedicide in the entire lawn, spot spray a separate and selective weedicide.

It will bring more efficient results at less price.

Wait for the chemical to dry and kill the weeds completely to follow the next step.

Rack the clippings

After trimming, mowing, and dethatching, all the overgrown grasses are shortened to the lowest height, and the yard is filled with chopped grass clippings. In the following step, you need to rack away these clippings to clear the ground for the soil's subsequent treatment.

Make sure that no dead weeds are left in the lawn soil. If there is, rack the area cleanly.

Test the soil

It is one of the most critical steps that let you know what your soil lacks. You can either buy a soil test kit or take the help of the local well-known soil lab. 

Check the level of pH and other essential nutrients. 

For healthy growth, the pH should be around 6.5 with the right amount of NKP nutrients.

Water the lawn generously

A man watering his lawn

Since the lawn's surface is free from overgrown grasses and weeds, now it's time to treat the ground. Water the lawn generously. 

That means if the soil is dried, it requires at least 1 inch to 1.5 inches of water. But if the ground is soft, 1 inch of water should be enough.

If you are not sure regarding the amount, press an 8 inches screwdriver in the ground. If it gets in without any difficulty, you have watered enough. 

Watering the ground makes the soil soft and prepares it for our next step.


Aeration is done to improve the soil compaction. It also addresses the problem of lack of air and water exchange between the soil particles.

For this purpose, you can either use a plug aerator or spike aerator. But most professionals recommend going with the former one, as it is more effective in its job.

Add fertilizers

Experts advise adding fertilizers within 48 hours of aeration, as it can smoothly go down the holes. You can go for some nitrogen fertilizer, which is an essential nutrient. 

Water another round

The purpose of watering this time is to wash the fertilizers from the grass blade into the soil. So, a small amount of water will be required. Watering too much can cause the fertilizer to drain away even before absorbing.

Lay weed fabrics

These specially designed fabrics suppress weeds' growth by cutting the direct air, water, and sunlight supply. Spread the sheets around big trees and in or around the flower beds, where you think it's required. 

Sowing time

Planting seed

Since the soil is completely prepared for sowing new seeds, spread the grass seeds all over the lawn uniformly. Maintaining consistency is essential, or else in some places, grass will grow in abundance while other areas will lack them.

A seed spreader will be helpful for this purpose.


For germination, the seeds need a sufficient amount of water. So, keep the soil damp, but don't wet it too much. The seed will start to sprout within one week. 

Since they don't have an established root system, they will entirely depend on the water you supply to them. So, until they grow their deep root system, water them generously. 

Decrease the amount of water every week, as it will train them to become drought resistant. For the first two weeks, water three to four times a week.

After that, reduce the number to two to three times for the subsequent three weeks. At this period, the roots will grow to the full length. From the 6th week onwards, water the grass once a week.


Even after the grass sprouts, you can't leave them completely alone. They still need some care and love but in a small amount. So, here are the things you must do - 

  • Water once a week
  • Fertilize the yard once in three months.
  • Eliminate the weeds 
  • Clean the fallen leaves once in a while.

5 Quick Garden Makeover Tips

Despite following the lawn care process strictly all around the seasons, you feel your lawn is missing the exceptional and fresh look? 

Or, you have a small get-together but don't know how to earn praises from your friends? Try these five lawn renovation tricks to give some easy and quick makeover to your lawn. 

These tips are neither too time-consuming nor too expensive but can provide a satisfactory and pleasurable outcome.

1. Add some color to the lawn patio

5 Quick Garden Makeover Tips

The lawn patios are the house's extension and need some well-planned and cozy decoration to make it look exceptional. Just by a few simple and easy decorations, you can add colors to it.

Start by cleaning the patio floor and place a classy, designed outdoor rug on it. It will bring a cozy and sophisticated feeling to your lawn. After that, you only need a bistro set and a few outdoor cushions to complement the elegance of your lawn. 

But if you want some more relaxing and cheerful decor, you can add some hanging baskets of any ornamental plants like petunias, fuchsias or verbena, etc.

You can also place them along the patio edge if your lawn patio doesn't have any hanging spots. Additionally, you can also hang some outdoor fairy lights, which will make your lawn look marvelous under the night sky. 

2. Pressure wash the hard surfaces

Washed surfaces make your lawn look neater and cleaner, giving it a fresh and healthy look. And the best way to clean these surfaces is using a pressure washer

When you power wash the hard surfaces, the high pressure water spray removes the mold, dirt, and even the long deposited mud and stubborn sun-baked grime quickly.

You can clean the walkways and driveways, timber, stones, etc. But make sure not to use very high pressure, or else you can blow out the grout.  

When you wash timbers, paint it with a few coats of oil after it has dried. It will make it look fresh and will make long-lasting.

3. Update old furniture

An update in your furniture can make your lawn look bright and exciting

No matter how well decorated your lawn is, old furniture always makes it look dull and clumsy. Moreover, they remain outside the house all around the year and face the harsh impacts of changing seasons. So, they end up looking faded just after a few years. 

Therefore, an update in your furniture can make your lawn look bright and exciting. But if you don't want to invest so much, you can do a little renovation to your old furniture to make it look new. 

Clean the furniture and paint it with any wood paint. Replace the cushion covers and add small potted plants beside the chairs. You can also do some research to get some more innovative and fresh ideas.

4. Paint the fence palings

Just like the la furniture, the fenced patio stands out in the harsh weather all year round, which is why they develop drab greyish looks on them.

So, painting them is the quickest and best makeover you can give to your lawn. This trick changes the look of your boring-looking yard. 

In this case, the thumb rule is "the darker, the better". Paint the boundary fences with two coats of good outdoor grade paint of black or off-black shade. 

This dark shade will give a uniform finish to those vertical surfaces and create the perfect backdrop to match your yard's green foliage.

5. Show love for birds

Welcoming the birds will add life and cheerfulness to your lawn. Moreover, their melodious singing will help you rescue your stress and anxiety, as said by the researchers. 

Furthermore, they help you control various bugs, aphids, and other insects by eating them. Attracting certain species of birds can also help you to reduce the use of pesticides. 

Therefore, install some bird feed and birdbath on your lawn. You can also hang a beautiful birdhouse in the trees. In this way, you are not only making your yard a beautiful and lively place but also helping these feathery little creatures.

Wrapping Up Our Garden Makeover Guide

Lawn renovation will definitely demand a lot but would reward you even more. Once you're done, show us how your garden looks by sharing it to our Facebook page and let everyone see the fruit of your garden makeover. 

About the Author Ann Katelyn

I'm Ann Katelyn, Creator and Chief Author of Sumo Gardener. Since I was a child I've always been fascinated with plants and gardens, and as an adult this has developed into my most loved hobby. I have dedicated most of my life to gardening and started Sumo Gardener as a way to express my knowledge about gardening with the hope of helping other people's gardens thrive.

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