Our lawns and gardens are some of the most important areas of our home, as they’re the first thing people see when they come to visit and they’re where we spend so much of our time with family and friends relaxing, playing sport, or just enjoying nature.
Many people put off their lawn and yard care because they believe it’s too much work, and so just settle for mowing the lawn once a month and hope that will cover it. However, there are a few easy things you can do to ensure you’re giving your lawn the care it deserves so that it will repay you with beauty and brightness all season.
To make lawn care easier, we’ve highlighted the most important areas of concern for growing the perfect yard, and even offered some tips for how to maintain it with ease. With a little bit of knowledge and the right tools, you could have the most gorgeous yard on the street and something absolutely amazing to relax in every weekend.
If you’ve never given much thought to gardening before, it might surprise you just how much there is to learn about grass. Many people assume that grass just grows and all it needs is to be mowed and watered from time to time, but there’s actually quite a bit more to it than that.
The most important thing to understand is that there are both cool season grass types and warm seasons grass types, and each has their own unique set of needs.
Commonly found in the Northeast, Midwest, and Pacific Northwest, the cool season grass varieties are ideal for conditions that are cool yet humid. However, there are some varieties of cool season grasses that do particularly well in dry conditions, so even when the snow begins to fall and the humidity disappears, there’s still potential for good growth.
These are the grass varieties that thrive in warmer weather and are generally found in the southern parts of the country. Just because a grass is labeled as warm season, that doesn’t mean that when winter comes around you should be planting the seeds of a cool season grass, it simply means that these do better in warmer regions.
There are some grasses that don’t fit well in either and they are often referred to as the Transition Zone grass types. These areas are where it’s too cold for cool-season grasses and too hot for warm season grasses, and so unique types are required. Usually, you can purchase a mixture of various types of grass that will do well in these harsher conditions.
Whether you’ve moved into a new home that’s completely bare or you want to rip up the existing lawn and start all over again, the process of seeding your lawn doesn’t have to be hard work.
This is one of those jobs that will pay off immensely when done at the right time and with the right choice of seed, so you need to be sure you’ve planned it well. Fall is the best time to start seeding due to the upcoming temperature changes, but there’s nothing that says you can’t seed the lawn at any other time.
If you want to start from scratch, you can easily get rid of the old lawn and give yourself something fresh to work with. Depending on the size of your lawn, you can use a flat edge shovel to pull up the grass, otherwise, hire a gas-powered sod cutter and make light work of it.
With the grass clear, it’s now time to test your soil. This is a step that many mistakingly miss and it will help you pick the right grass, fertilizer, and anything else you need to know to give yourself the best lawn. Soil testing kits are available from the hardware store and can show you the pH levels of your lawn, so hold onto this information for later.
Go through the dirt and find hard rocks or till that may cause a problem, and ensure you’ve removed them all so that you’re only left with soft soil. Use a rotary tiller to go over the area and break up any hard clumps of soil as well.
Cover the entire space with sand so that it’s about an inch thick and then spread it out. Add some compost and spread this out as well so that the soil, sand, and compost have all mixed together.
With the results from your soil testing, you can now amend the soil with whatever is required based on the findings. Depending on the levels, you may need to add lime or sulfur, but ensure this has been carefully applied.
Now it’s time to spread the grass seeds around, so ensure you’ve chosen one that will suit your weather and region. Use a plastic leaf rake to get the grass seed well into the soil and make sure it’s have been evenly distributed.
As soon as you’ve finished spreading the seed, you can now water the area. It’s best to use a fan spray or oscillating sprinkler for this rather than doing it by hand with a hose. For the first 10 days, you should water it three times a day with the sprinkler and ensure total coverage. When it starts to sprout green, you can then water it just once a day for about 20 minutes.
There’s no better time to fertilize your lawn than spring, so try to use this optimal weather as the time that you do it. To be really particular, the temperature of the soil should be about 55 degrees Fahrenheit when you give it the first fertilizer of the year.
There should be about five planned applications through the year, with the second one coming four weeks later, and the other few every six weeks after that.
Before fertilizing, you should hire a broadcast spreader so that you can ensure an even distribution and choose a fertilizer that matches your lawn. Read the instructions carefully to be sure there are no special requirements in regards to how it should be spread.
Fill up your spreader with the granules and set the spreader to the recommended setting on the packet.
Make a header strip around the perimeter of the lawn to begin and make sure that you have engaged the side shield of the spreader. This will keep the granules down and on the ground, and not in garden beds or anywhere else.
When you’ve finished the entire lawn, remove the leftover granules from the spreader and put them back into the bag for the next use.
Every lawn is unique and so too are the areas we live in, so do your research on the fertilizer you choose and how it will affect your lawn. As a general rule, yards that are watered more often will usually need more fertilizer, so don’t assume that just because you keep the sprinkler on you will have a healthy lawn.
Lawn care doesn’t have to be complicated, and especially not when you have some expert tips to remember. Here are a few things you can do to take the hassle out of growing the ideal lawn and how you can make small changes to see big results.
When mowing, pay a lot of attention to how short you are cutting the grass. Scalping means when you cut it too far down, and it can be very unhealthy for the lawn. When your lawn is too short it can be prone to weed infestations and the sunlight can easily damage it, so check with your specific grass type about what is the best length.
Take the time to keep your tools maintained and cleaned, including the mower blades sharpened. Without constant maintenance on your tools, they won’t be performing their best and could actually be doing more harm than good.
The best time to weed your garden is during the winter, as this is when most other plants and grass will be dormant. Weeds can grow especially well in these colder seasons so while you’re having some time off from other gardening duties you should be vigilant with weed removal to give your grass a better chance in the warmer months.
Try to avoid mowing the grass while it’s wet, as this can do damage to it and also cause problems for your mower. When it can’t be avoided, ensure you have treated your lawn mower with oil underneath the deck to keep clippings and moisture from doing it any damage.
Choose the right time to do your gardening and lawn mowing, when it’s going to cause as little stress on the plants and grass as possible. Usually, the darker hours are the best time to mow, so avoid the midday mowing session like you do most weekends to see better results and healthier grass.
To save costs on fertilizer and save yourself the hassle of doing it, you can use the grass clippings that come from your lawn mower as a great alternative. Make sure the mower setting is on fine so that it will do a better job of getting in and fertilizing, and to keep clippings away as you mow there plugs you can clip on that will make for a more direct spraying of the grass.
Clean your yard before you mow and make sure there aren’t rocks or children’s toys laying around. Not only can they damage the mower but they can fly up and hit you as you go, which can lead to very serious injury.
During the warmer months, it’s essential to use a bug killer for your spring lawn care, whether you opt for a green approach or otherwise. There are countless problems that bugs can bring to your lawn and they can easily destroy all of your hard work in a matter of days.
Too many people are put off from gardening because they think it requires so much effort, but the complete opposite is true with your lawn care. Lawns are extremely easy to maintain, provided you put in the work during the planting stage and choose something that will grow well in the area you’re located, so following a lawncare guide is a must.
Lawn care doesn’t need to be complicated, as long as you think about your lawn as the living thing that it is. Try not to put too much stress on it and keep an eye out for weeds and insects that could be doing it harm. Most gardening is the perfect mix of planning and action, so you need to be prepared for all of the seasons and what they might bring to your garden.
The benefits of having a well-grown lawn are wide stretching, as everything from the visual aspect of your home to the plush and comfortable ground that you and your family have to enjoy on the weekends is all on offer.
All it takes is a little bit of planning in the early stages and a commitment to keeping it watered and mowed as required, and you’ll have one of the best yards in the entire neighborhood.