The real reason your lawn has brown patches (and what to do about it)

When it comes to brown spots and dead patches on your lawn, there are three things you should consider looking at, before jumping to the conclusion that it’s lawn disease.

When it comes to brown spots and dead patches on your lawn, there are three things you should consider looking at, before jumping to the conclusion that it’s lawn disease.

1) The irrigation
2) Your maintenance practices, including nutrition
3) Shade

These three things are the common causes, in many instances, of dead spots and struggling lawns. And like always, the devil is in the details. For example, you may say: “Well I have irrigation, it’s fine.” Is it fine though? I’m going to break down these three areas for you, starting with reticulation. And before I do this, it’s worth noting that these things work together. One without the other will not be effective. Doing them in the wrong order will also not get you the result that you need!

Perth Irrigation
Perth Irrigation


Ok, so this one is really pretty simple, it’s just that most people don’t do it. One of the most important things you can do is make sure that the lawn area is getting even watering. We do this by making sure that plenty of overlap is built into the system. Each sprinkler should throw all the way to the next sprinkler, in every area. For example, a 6 by 2 meters wide rectangular area would have 6 sprinklers set out around the perimeter on each side. They would all overlap with each other and the spacing would be 2 meters. Trust me, you should set your sprinklers out like this. It’s far better to have an efficient system that you can monitor and turn the run time up – or down depending on the weather – rather than having an extremely inefficient reticulation setup. The problem with the latter is you will run it and run it and run it, waste water, and still have brown patches

A common response I get from people is: “Really? Are you sure? I really don’t think I need this many sprinklers.” Ironically, I am usually there to correct a garden or lawn struggling from lack of water.

The same goes for gardens. Get plenty of overlap! Cover the whole garden. One thing people often do not take into account is that, as plants grow, perth reticulation can hit the leaves and bounce off-stopping the water from getting to the other side of the bed. This is why on larger beds we recommend having sprays on either side. Sprinklers may need raising up height-wise as plants grow, so regular checks are important for the best results.

Different plants also have different watering requirements so ensure the whole root zone is covered. 

Also if the lawn is getting uneven watering, then fertilizer will be getting watered in at a different rate. A nice uniform lush green lawn needs a nice uniform reticulation system. Period.

Just make sure you use a decent pop up, and sink it beneath the lawn, a little off the edge so the lawn mower and edger don’t cause damage.

Perth Irrigation Supplies


Ok so I’m going to keep this short, I don’t have a background in lawn maintenance, BUT I have picked up a thing or two over the last couple of decades. I have also brought back many lawns to life, beautifully. It is very common for poor maintenance practices to be a large part of what has caused a lawn to struggle. First, the reticulation needs to be addressed and then we can work on other things.

Garden Maintenance

1) Mow little and mow often. As a general rule of thumb try not to mow more than 25% off a lawn at once. Light regular mowing will make your lawn stay healthy and happy. You wouldn’t massacre a hedge or shrub taking 90% of the leaves off. So why do it with your lawn? This is one of the best things you can do for your lawn to avoid brown patches, and also make it look a million dollars. BUT without proper watering, mowing it will not help when it gets really hot in Perth. Start watering! Lush green lawns don’t make themselves.

2) Getting a professional who deals in lawn care to deal with weeds, such as Winter Grass and others, will be required unless you’re going to meticulously hand weed them out as soon as any rear their heads. It’s best to book them in and set up a schedule where someone will come around every few months and keep on top of the various weeds that your plaque turf. 

3) Fertilizing – Once you have the watering sorted, the mowing on schedule, and your weeds under control, following a proper schedule can make a big difference. Use a spreader and apply the correct amount evenly. Think about it, you eat regularly to be healthy right? You don’t eat one day, then fast food for 4 months, and then eat a banquet every day for a week. But people do this with lawns fertilizing in an extremely ad-hoc way. Lawn is a living thing and needs regular care at the right times. The best time to care for your lawn is before an issue arises. As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure. Wetter soil and Sea soil can help too, but just keep it up. There is no point in putting a one-month wetter soil down and then stop applying it for 6 months as it gets hotter. If you are going to do it, look at how long it lasts, then reapply.


Most lawns need a lot of direct sunlight to do well. Some lawns can handle more shade than others, so research your lawn type and the amount of shade it can tolerate and then make sure it gets it. Common areas that struggle are backyards, under trees, and on the edges of garden beds where roof eaves or plants create more shade and the list goes on. It’s important to make sure the lawn gets full sun in winter. Many people make the mistake of only looking at summer when planning a new lawn, only to lose parts of the lawn every winter.

Garden Shade

In conclusion, although there can be many causes of common problems – lawn disease, brown patches, and poor lawn growth – we would recommend you consider these basic essentials when planning for a healthy and happy lawn. There are many other things such as coring, verti-mowing and more, but start with the basics first.

If you need reticulation repairs or installation, contact us at or enquire through our website. We offer a variety of irrigation supplies in Perth and will complete any reticulation installation in Perth and its surroundings.

Do you need help with your reticulation? Enquire now!

Luke Porter | Install Sprinkler Heads

Luke Porter

The Director of Retic Renovation is passionate about beautiful healthy lawns and gardens.

I have over 17 years hands-on experience in both landscaping and reticulation service and I’m extremely competent in problem solving, repairs, installation, and product knowledge.