We are currently living in our new rented home and there was only a bit of grass (it was summer after all!). We have tried watering and it has come up with a little bit but very grey with different types of grass as well. We\'ve tried to dig up the ground, but it\'s so hard even the fork won\'t get in when it\'s been completely soaked. Should I just give up? We\'ve got the worst looking lawn in the street! Should I use some sort of fertiliser? I just keep thinking that the fertiliser won\'t sink in because the lawn is just sooo hard
Rehab of your lawn will cost more than most renters want to pay. Have you talked to the landlord? He/she may be willing to pay for core aeration, a good first step. Applying 1/2 to 1 inch of compost to the soil will slowly help loosen it. Another option is to build a raised bed. A nice display of flowers will make the lawn less important. Of course, a raised bed comes with the cost of filling the bed with a soil/compost mix. Annual flowers don't need a deep raised bed but vegetables do. Grasses and other perennials native to your region will slowly break up the soil just enough to send roots down but this is a strategy that will take several years. Other options are to grow plants in pots, display garden/lawn art, and create a fairy garden or other whimsical statement. Another longterm option is to cover areas of the lawn with plain cardboard covered by several inches of compost then mulch. The cardboard and compost will nourish the soil as it breaks down and loosen the compaction. I have used a mattock to dig in compacted soil when a spade can't penetrate.