I am in a rental unit that had an elderly couple as tenants for many years. The outside has been utterly neglected. We have already discovered that the property managers are worse than useless for taking action on these sorts of issues.

Last year I made some attempt to remediate the lawn with a fertilizer/grass seed combination to little improvement.

This year we've been out already and managed to rake up a lot of fresh, thriving moss and want to tackle the problem early in the year.

Our soil is a red, clay and the yard has multiple slopes, primarily east and south. The grass is pretty ratty, but I will not consider laying sod as I am willing to exert effort but not substantial monetary outlay to correct this as best I can.

Can someone suggest a plan of attack?

1 Answer 1


I am not sure you can get a really nice looking lawn fast. Given the clay soil improvements take time and you might not feel your efforts had been well spent if it takes three or four years to make a perceptible difference.

Still there are inexpensive things you can do:

  • in the spring give the lawn a hard raking to remove the moss
  • aerate with a gardening tool that will remove plugs of soil, there are manual and roller types
  • apply lots of grass seed of a variety suited to the light conditions
  • top dress with one quarter inch of your choice of compost or top soil
  • water in, keep watering if the spring is dry until you see the new grass is established

If you do this every spring and fall the lawn will improve. The goal is to improve aeration, increase the organic matter and increase the density of grass in order to shade out weeds and moss.

  • Who said fast??
    – Stephen
    Mar 16, 2012 at 19:54
  • As a former landscaper I quoted services to many people. People want cheap or quality or unique but they always want it now.
    – kevinskio
    Mar 17, 2012 at 13:05
  • Fair enough, if I wanted a fast solution I'd hire a professional to remediate and resod ... then I guess I might expect a dramatic improvement quickly too.
    – Stephen
    Mar 17, 2012 at 14:43

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