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DIY Lawn Dethatcher, How to Make Your Own Lawn Dethatcher

If thatch buildup is ruining your lawn, then here’s a DIY that will assist you in making your own lawn dethatcher. There are two ways to get rid of the thatch and this article discusses them both.

IMG - DIY Lawn Dethatcher: How to Make a Homemade Lawn Dethatcher
DIY Lawn Dethatcher: How to Make a Homemade Lawn Dethatcher

How to Make a Homemade Lawn Dethatcher

Lawn thatch is the build-up of organic debris such as pine needles, dead leaves, and grass clippings below the grass.

In most cases, this debris will decompose naturally and won’t cause any problems, but when it doesn’t decompose on its own it will make your lawn look bumpy and disheveled.

Reasons like cold climate, mowing too often and excessive use of fertilizers and pesticides can slow down the organic decomposing of thatch.

When left unattended, this thatch can cause the grass to remain deprived of the nutrients and moisture that it needs for proper growth. Also, the grassroots may begin growing upwards instead of going down into the soil.

There are two ways to handle this problem:

  1. Removing the thatch layer physically, and
  2. Promoting the organic decomposition of the thatch.

And doing them both is certainly a better choice. So, here’s how to make a homemade lawn dethatcher – one for physical dethatching and the second one to promote organic dethatching.

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Make Your Own Homemade Dethatching Rake

Before you begin dethatching your lawn, you must check how thick the thatch layer is. You don’t need any measurement device, just push your finger into the layer and you’ll know how thick it is.

Using the lawn rake is advisable only if the thatch buildup is more than half an inch thick. If this is not the case move on to the next section that describes how to make a lawn dethatcher spray.

There are lots of lawn dethatching rakes available on the market, but if you’re a DIY lover then you can make one quickly with some simple things:

  1. Two wooden planks that are at least one inch thick, two inches wide, and more than two feet long.
  2. 10 Nails at least 4 inches long
  3. 5-6 Nails or screws – 2 inches long
  4. One four to a five-foot-long pipe or wooden pole to make the handle.


Take one of the wooden planks and hammer the 4 inch long nails into it as shown in the image below. Place them roughly at a distance of one and a half to two inches from each other.

If you’re using a thicker piece of wood, you’ll need to buy longer nails so that the spikes of the rake remain at least 3 inches long.

Step-1 of Making Your Homemade Lawn Rake
Step-1 of Making Your Homemade Lawn Rake

Next, place the second wooden plank on top of the first one, as shown in the image below, and join them both using the 2 inch long screws or nails.

Step-2 of Making Your Homemade Lawn Dethatcher Rake
Step-2 of Making Your Homemade Lawn Dethatcher Rake

Now, your homemade lawn dethatching rake is almost ready and all that’s left is to fix the handle. Here’s what your finished rake should look like.

Your Finished Homemade Lawn Dethatcher
Your Finished Homemade Lawn Dethatcher

Using the Rake for Dethatching Your Lawn

Whether you’re using your own homemade rake or a commercial lawn rake, there are some small things to keep in mind.

  • Physical dethatching shouldn’t be done too often or else you’ll do more damage to your lawn than help it.
  • When using the rake, keep the spikes of the rake tilted at a 45-degree angle to the ground.
  • Don’t dig the rake into the soil or you’ll end up uprooting your lawn grass, just glide it gently through the grass layer as if you’re combing the grass.
  • Dethatching is best done when the lawn and the soil are only mildly moist and not completely wet or completely dry.
  • The best seasons to carry out lawn dethatching are the onset of spring and late autumn.
  • Move the rake in straight lines and do not rake any patch more than twice.

And finally, water your lawn to help the grass recover from the stress it has experienced.

Just an additional tip: You can use the collected thatch to make organic compost, which can later be used to nourish the lawn grass.

Instructions for Making a Lawn Dethatcher Liquid to Promote Organic Decomposing

While the rake method is good enough to dethatch your lawn, using a homemade liquid dethatcher will help speed up the decomposing of the remaining thatch layer. Here’s the recipe for making a dethatching liquid.


  1. Sugar – ½ pound
  2. Ammonia – ½ cup
  3. Beer – ½ can
  4. Dishwashing Liquid – ½ cup
  5. Water – 2 liters

Before you mix the ingredients do check the label of your dishwashing liquid to ensure that it doesn’t contain any anti-bacterial ingredients.

The quantities mentioned here are approximately a 100 square feet lawn, and you must adjust these quantities to suit the size of your lawn. Once your liquid dethatcher is ready you can spray it evenly using a hose sprayer.

The dethaching liquid will attract microorganisms that will help decompose the thatch. The best thing about this liquid dethatcher is that all the ingredients used are completely safe and will not damage the grass or the soil.

To get the best results you should water the lawn 3-4 hours before spraying this liquid. Also, avoid watering the lawn for the next 48 hours.

References & Credits

The information contained in the article is based on the knowledge and experience of the author and has been additionally supplemented from the following sources:

  1. http://ipm.ucanr.edu/TOOLS/TURF/MAINTAIN/thatchtime.html
  2. http://www.landscape-america.com/problems/soils/dethatch.html
  3. http://thehousingforum.com/how-to-dethatch-a-lawn/
  4. Interior Design Dubai

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