One of the best things any homeowner can have in their property is a green and vibrant lawn.
For many who live in urban environments, this brings a much-needed touch of vegetation that can transform any front and rear yard.
These areas are ideal for kids to play on in the summer, hold parties and summer grills or just an area where to spend some family time.
However, taking care of something which appears so simple can be more intensive than it first appears.
Here is all you need to know about how to take care of lawn areas around the home, and those all-important yard maintenance tips that will make a difference.
- What is a Lawn?
- Types of Lawns
- Grass Varieties
- Warm-season grasses
- Cool-season grasses
- Watering Tips and Lawn Irrigation
- Irrigation Methods for Watering Lawns
- How to Mow My Lawn?
- Lawn Fertilization
- Seasonal Lawn Care
- Spring Lawn Care Tips
- Summer Lawn Care
- Fall Lawn Care
- Winter Lawn Care
What is a Lawn?
Before looking at lawn care basics, you need to full understand what a lawn is.
Lawns are patches of soil which are seeded with suitable grass species. They need maintaining in specific ways and are regularly mown to keep them at a specific height which is desirable.
When you look deeper, you need to understand things like watering and over seeding to maintain the surface of your lawn so it is lush, green and level.
While you may see many perfect lawns, these are subject to weeds and pest like any other garden plant.
Depending where you live, you may need to choose one type of lawn over another. This means there are other factors to consider.
Types of Lawns
Lawns can comprise different grasses for different regions and climates. While they have a different appearance and texture, they have many more differences.
These various grasses can tolerate different climates. This comprises temperatures, rain and exposure to the sun among others.
When choosing grass types, you need to think of your climate and how you lawn will change over the years to come. Aesthetic qualities and practical uses follow right behind.
There are three main grass varieties which go to make up lawns:
- Cool-season grasses
- Warm season grass
- Grass alternatives
Type of grass and the yard maintenance you carry out will change depending on the purpose of your lawn and its location around the home.
- Front yard lawns – these are there to look nice. They serve more than family areas and they contribute to the look of the community. In some areas, there are rules how you lawns should look like. Grass mown lawns are the usual types you will find in most areas.
- Backyard lawns – These lawns are the ones which most often fit your needs as a family. Because they are away from public view, you can most often design them as you wish. Any grass you have here needs to be kid friendly and can cope with the heavy foot traffic for when you have guests.
- Decorative garden lawns – because these are often interspersed with raised beds, paving stones and other obstacles. They may be grass types which are not suitable for heavy foot traffic. You can opt for drought-resistant grasses which are usually used in areas where long grass is appreciated and there is less need for cutting your lawn.
Because of the need for these green areas, there are thousands of grass types. Over recent years, there’s been a push for lawns which are more sustainable.
This leads to turf which requires less watering, they are resilient against pests, and don’t require fertilizing as often.
- St. Augustine grass comes with a coarse texture. It takes hold quickly and has adapted to tropical regions which are hotter, and most times they are used in coastal regions.
- Zoysia grass is another which copes well with hot and humid climates. It copes with drought exceptionally well and has a medium to coarse texture. This grass is a light to medium green color. It can cope with the heavy foot traffic, but if it thins, it can take a while to recover.
- Kentucky Bluegrass is the most well-known cool season grass. It is dark green with a medium texture and delivers plenty of uniform leaves and density. It can be used in partially dry regions, or ones which are slightly humid. It is also most often used in public areas and roadsides or it is well-appreciated in any homeowners yard.
- Ryegrass comes with darker leaves and a fine texture. It delivers good dense coverage and takes hold quickly. It is more suited to cool most summers and mild winters. This grass is often found with the next variety in a mix where it creates a hardier cover suitable for rough playing and even sporting events.
- Fine rescue comes with fine blades and groves vertically. It can germinate quickly and takes hold as fast. Out of any cool season grass, Fine Rescue has excellent drought tolerance so if there are water shortages, you won’t need to be worried too much.
Watering Tips and Lawn Irrigation
There is no getting away from it, but the drier your climate, the more you need to water your grass. During the summer, this is even more important.
Here are some practical lawn watering tips.
- On average, a lawn requires one inch of water each week. This can be from watering or from the rain.
- If you don’t have frequent rain, you should only water your lawn when your lawn shows signs of water stress. You can spot this when footprints stay visible after walking across your lawn and the grass blades take on a bluish-gray color.
- Deeper watering is better than frequent watering.
- Watering should be done early in the morning so the water can soak into the soil before evaporating. Watering in the evening can cause mold to form as your lawn sits in moist conditions for too long.
Irrigation Methods for Watering Lawns
You can purchase various types of sprinklers such as traveling, impact sprinklers, oscillating sprinklers and stationary speakers.
The downside of these is, they waste lots of water. Another thing is they don’t directly distribute water to the root system and rather spray the tops of your lawns.
This means of watering is the cheapest and one which is most-readily available. The downside of this being, you can’t distribute water as good as sprinklers and the garden hose you use.
Over extended periods, this will reflect in the growth of your lawn, and could lead to bare spots during hotter weather.
One other factor is, and it is one of the lawn care tips you will break instantly, and that is, you will end up walking on damp grass. On the plus side, if you have sown grass seed in small areas, then this watering type is ideal.
For many individuals, this system can be outside of a budget. All the pipes are buried and can either end up on sprinklers, or they can feed the roots systems directly. These can be complicated to the extent, they won’t water if it rains.
However, in many cases they need preparation for the winter. These built-in systems, can really take the effort out of DIY lawn care when it comes to irrigating your lawn.
How to Mow My Lawn?
Lawnmowers are not made equally, and what cut you get with one, may differ from another even if they are set to the same desired height.
Grass height is vital when it comes to cutting. If you cut too short, it stresses the grass. With a different type of grass, you may need to change the height, but the recommended length is around three inches.
One of the next things you need to be wary of is blunt blades. This pulls the grass and doesn’t cut the grass as you think it is doing. This makes it harder and can make it easier for disease to set in.
When you are looking how often to mow lawn again after a cut, you should leave it until there is enough growth to remove one third of the leaf blades. Never cut off over one third of your mowers mowing height in one go.
One final thing is when gardeners look how to mow a lawn. You may find it easy to begin at one end, but you should never mow your lawn the same every time. You should also always cut when the ground is dry. You can cause severe damage if you mow when it’s wet.
You can fertilize your lawn in different ways. You can use either synthetic, or opt to use organic fertilizers.
You can also leave your grass cuttings and leaves as a natural way of fertilizing, but this will look unsightly and you won’t appreciate the look of your lawn.
You should only fertilize your lawn twice per year, and one of these times should be in the fall. Doing this during the fall is a good time as the fertilizer can be absorbed by the roots with its slow release nutrients, rather than it going toward maximum growth.
If you have a new lawn, you definitely need to fertilize twice, one in early spring, and the second we have seen in the fall.
Seasonal Lawn Care
It is vital to have a lawn maintenance schedule. Many people use a lawn care calendar for this so they are sure not to forget anything, however, once you do this a couple of times, you get to know your lawn and how it grows.
Here, we will take a look lawn care through the seasons. You can jot these down and use them as your calendar, or refer back when you are at that time of year.
Spring Lawn Care Tips
Aeration – you can perform this on cool-season grass if required. This lets more air down toward the roots and makes irrigation better.
Over-seeding – Spring isn’t the best time to seed, but, if you have had a spout of weed removal or a moss buildup, then you can seed in thinned out areas.
Weeding – Spring lawn care wouldn’t be the same without weeding. This is when you find most rear their ugly head and make a mess of your lawn. Weeds use all their energy because of their fast growth. This is the ideal time to do something about them.
Fertilizing – With a spring and summer type fertilizer, be careful not to do it too early because you will see grass grow to early and too quick. Additionally, you may end up fertilizing your weeds.
Mowing should also be done one per week in late spring.
Summer Lawn Care
- Mowing will be twice per week if you have the growth.
- Watering will need to be done if you wish to keep a green and lush lawn. One inch per week is sufficient.
- You can aerate your lawn for warm-season grasses during the summer. This helps with watering so it soaks into the soil rather than evaporating.
- Weeding at this stage shouldn’t be as much of a problem, you may though see an outbreak of ragweed.
- Fertilizing is on an as needed basis. You may see your grass lose its vigor, but if it’s healthy, there is no need to fertilize.
Fall Lawn Care
- Fertilizing is the most crucial here. Nutrients break down and soak toward the roots.
- Weeding may be required if you spot some resilient weeds. It can be time to break out the weed killer, but you will need to re-seed immediately after. You can use corn gluten meal as weed prevention.
- Aeration may not be required, but if you do, be sure it’s only on cool-season grasses.
- Re-seeding now can be the best time. But, if you use corn gluten meal, this will kill your seeds.
Winter Lawn Care
Most of the seasonal lawn care has already been taken care of in the fall. If you have a mild winter, you can carry on lawn mowing if you are still getting sufficient growth.
If you find soil is soft or frozen, you should skip this altogether and make sure you mow at a high level.
One thing you can do at this part of the year is to have your soil pH levels tested. Once you have the results, you can determine which are the best nutrients to add to your lawn so it receives all the benefits before next year.