The yard is one of the most important features of our home, yet it’s often one of the most overlooked. As much time as we typically spend there with the kids, it’s essential that we keep it beautiful and healthy.
People spend a lot of money on lawn care, and it’s easy to see why we would get the impression it’s the only way to get a flawless lawn that’s strong enough to handle stampeding kids. The good news is that the price tag does not have to be huge.
Quality do-it-yourself lawn care is possible, and it is not as hard or as time-consuming as you might think. Consider these steps for getting a lawn that’s clean, safe, and beautiful for your family.
Seed It Right
Whether your lawn was planted by a contractor after construction or if you’re several renovations into your turf, you may need to plant some more seed. Choosing the right species of seed is critical to getting the outcome you want, and discount store “lawn mixes” are not right for much of anybody.
Shop with a specialized retailer. For example, select Nature’s Seed grass seed will have better germination, fewer weeds, and a purer composition of your chosen species than the clearance bags at the big-box store. Check them out for the best possible seed.
What seed is best? You’ll have to do a little research, but briefly, there are two major categories: Warm-season and cool-season. Warm-season grasses thrive during summer and go dormant (brown) at the first frost. Cool-season grasses activate in early spring, then lay low (also brown!) in the hottest weather of summer before surging again in the fall. Mixing the two results in a blotchy lawn that’s never fully green, so choose a season and seed it 100%.
Manage It Correctly
Lawn care, especially for new lawns, is often misunderstood. We think of emerging baby grass the same way we think of baby people: tiny, delicate, and to be protected from rough handling.
Grass is just not that way. Mowing grass as soon as it is tall enough to mow is essential. It helps the taller seedlings by encouraging growth, and it also clears the path for sunlight to reach the shorter seedlings. Once the newly-seeded grass has some blades tall enough to mow, mow it. You’ll get a more even stand of grass.
Fertilization is often done wrong as well. Spring is simply not the time for it, in spite of what may be on the shelves in the lawn & garden department. Fall fertilization builds stronger roots and an overall healthier plant, so think fall for fertilization.
Deal With Pests
There is perhaps nothing more likely to ruin a nice day outdoors than bugs. It may be the proverbial ants at a picnic, pesky wasps around the deck, or ticks hiding in the tall grass. Or it may not even be a pest that bothers you but instead one that damages your outdoor plants or your lawn.
It is a sticky situation because our lawns are occupied by our kids and pets, so it can be hard to apply chemicals. Fortunately, there are many cultural techniques that can help reduce the impact of insects. Encouraging predators that eat the bad guys can be helpful, and there are lots of ways to repel them from our kids. You can also treat carriers like dogs so that they don’t import ticks from elsewhere.
Our lawns are so important. Apart from the value they add to the home, they also provide the place where memories are made, starting with first steps and going right up to prom pictures and maybe even grandchildren. Keeping the lawn healthy and beautiful is simple with a good plan.