Hi, we live in a west facing home, the soil was predominantly clay but we have put layers of good soil on top but our grass does not survive. What should we do, this is our 4 th spring when we are envious of other people’s lawns in our area.
Please give us suggestions,


Dear Gardener,

Lawn care is one of the most popular sources of questions for the Master Gardeners. If you go to the Toronto Master Gardener website, and put “lawn care” into the Find It Here search engine on our Homepage or the Resources page, you will find some fascinating lawn-related questions and answers.

There are some basic rules for a nice lawn. I think that having a “nice” lawn, and not a “perfect” lawn is great. Perhaps think of giving up your aspiration to have an emerald-green lawn for the whole of the growing season like your neighbors. Consider that it takes so much fertilizer, irrigation, and even pesticides (which are not legal to use for gardens in Toronto) that an alternative is better for the environment.

What you want is a nice-looking lawn. Consider the following:

  1. Soil: aerate your soil and add organic matter or top soil.
  2. Sow lawn seed that is specific for full sun, semi-shade, or shade, depending on what your growing conditions are. Make sure your lawn seed is comprised of fescues with additions of rye grasses and stay away from a Kentucky Blue grass as it takes too much maintenance.
  3. Watering depending upon the weather. An inch of water a week is a general guideline.
  4. Mow – once the new grass is established, mow regularly at a height of 2-3 inches.  Leave the grass clippings on the lawn to add organic material back into the soil.
  5. Accept (and embrace) a lawn with clover and other plants in its mix. They will stay green much longer than grass in the heat and drought of summer. Please take a look at this resource from the Toronto Master Gardeners on the alternative to the ideal emerald-green perfect lawn:

A reference that you may also like is a handy Lawn Care Calendar on the City of Windsor’s website. Check out the following link: