Everyone has a house in their neighborhood that makes them mumble with jealousy under their breaths every time they pass by. How is it that someone who lives right around the corner and shares the same crazy weather as you can have a lawn so full and lush that your dog stops to roll around on it while you’re out for your walk?
You may assume that they are retired and have nothing better to do than fuss with their grass, but there’s a good chance that they’re simply working smarter, not harder. You can have a lawn like that too with minimal upkeep if you start from the foundation.
1. Lawn Foundation
Proper site preparation can reduce many future issues with your lawn. If you are removing a lawn to start from scratch (which is recommended), you’ll want to make sure all materials are cleaned away including buried stumps, roots, bricks, cement, rocks or other debris.
To eliminate drainage problems, grade the entire area, sloping away from the building foundation. If you have a small area, this can typically be done with hand tools. Otherwise, a bobcat may be needed.
If more debris is stirred up, clean it away and then tell till the foundation soil to a depth of at least two inches. This will help create a bond with the top soil and improve air circulation, water drainage and root penetration.
2. Soil Preparation
The topsoil plays a key role in your lawn; it should be suitable to the area. Adding a fully decomposed organic matter to the soil and then testing the pH to determine if levels need to be corrected is recommended. If you’re not comfortable testing this yourself or you want to make sure that you receive the most accurate results, most counties or cities will do testing, often for free.
3. Proper Lawn Fertilization
Nitrogen is essential if you want a dynamic lawn; however, over-fertilization can result in increased mowing requirements and thatch buildup. When you have your soil tested, you can ask if it needs nitrogen or if it’s lacking in other nutrients such as iron or phosphorus. In many cases, a balanced fertilizer with iron, sulfur, potassium and phosphors will do just fine.
4. Grass Seed and Seeding
For most people, choosing the right grass seed is a confusing decision. How are you supposed to know which type to buy?
General Area – Your home will fall in one of three general areas being cool (blue grasses), warm or a transitioning zone where a mixture of grasses are ideal.
Traffic – Whether you’re laying a front or back lawn will reflect seed choice as well. If it’s going to see a lot of traffic from children or pets, your seed choice should reflect this.
Lighting – How many trees do you have? Does the space receive full sun, partial shade or full shade?
Seed Types – Some types of seeds will provide a thick and compact lawn while others are considered meadow, resistant of wear and tear and drought. Mixtures are a good idea as well.
If you’ve done everything right, aftercare will be a breeze, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t upkeep.
Watering – There are a few different factors that influence watering requirements and the needs of two lawns will never be identical. Hot, windy and dry conditions will naturally require more watering than cloudy, cooler weather. Watering should be done early in the morning or late in the day to reduce waste from evaporation.
Mowing – Applying the rule of thirds is always recommended; never cut more than one-third of your length of your lawn at a time. You also never want to cut if you know you won’t see rain for a few days because grass is traumatized by cutting-water helps it to recover.
Leave the Clippings – Grass clippings should always be left where they fall as they provide nutrients back to the soil and help protect freshly cut blades from the environment.
Just like most other things, if you lay our lawn the right way from the very first step, you will see the benefits. Not only are you blessed with a boast-worthy landscape, but your maintenance is a little easier as well.