Having a green lawn is a mark of pride for many homeowners. A beautiful, lush, and natural-looking lawn becomes a big part of how they come to define “home.”
When you consider your own landscaping options, there might be some decisions on whether to hire professional lawn care or if you can do it yourself. This article will outline some of the basic considerations you’ll face so you can approach do-it-yourself lawn care with confidence.
Where do you start with getting your lawn in shape?
Every solid project requires a good foundation. The foundation for a good lawn is the soil in which it grows. If you have soil issues, you will have lawn issues. Perform a soil test for your lawn soil. This will give you valuable information on what your soil has and what you need to add to it.
There are do-it-yourself kits available from some lawn care services or lawn and garden shops. The cooperative extension offices in many states will also test soil for free or for a low fee. Private companies also provide kits and testing for a fee. Once you get the results returned, you will see what you may need to add to the soil in order to get the lawn of your dreams.
What type of grass seed should you use?
The type of grass you have in your yard depends on your location. For people living in the hot areas of Florida and other subtropical zones, St. Augustine is likely the local neighborhood favorite. In other areas of the country, there are additional options. Tall fescue or Bermuda are both popular choices in many areas of the country.
If you are aware of the type of grass you have in your yard and are content with its health and the way it looks, simply learn more about how to treat it well. If you are starting fresh, make sure you select a grass that thrives in your geographic area. One good tip is to locate the best-looking lawn in your neighborhood and initiate a conversation with the owner. They can give you a good idea of what types of seed, fertilizer and watering schedules might also work well in your yard. Here's a great link to the basics of getting grass seed started: http://sumogardener.com/watering-grass-seed/
How Do You Get Grass Growing in Shady Areas?
Most grasses require at least four hours of sunlight every day. If you have an area that doesn’t receive that much sun, you still likely have a couple of options to get the lawn you desire.
Find a seed mix that works well in the shade. Many fescue blends, for example, will work very well for you in the shade. That is great news for people that live further north, as well. In the south, St. Augustine is often the grass selected because it grows well in shady areas.
How do you plant new grass?
Planting new grass is actually a simple procedure for most homeowners.
- Loosen-up (aerate) the soil. At a minimum, start by raking it vigorously with a dirt rake.
- Spread the grass seed evenly over the tilled area. You can do it by hand or use a seed spreader for larger areas.
- Cover the seed with a light layer of soil. There are treated soils available that provide balanced nutrients encouraging the growth of new grasses.
- Water appropriately. Keep the soil around the seed moist until the new grass grows as tall as the grass around it. If you overwater the grass, the seed will drown. If you don’t water it enough, the newly sprouted grass will dry up and die.
How should you fertilize the lawn?
Fertilizing provides your lawn with the nutrients it needs to grow thick and green. In order to fertilize a sizable lawn you will need a spreader. Spreaders come in two varieties: drop and broadcast.
Drop spreaders drop the fertilizer directly below the spreader, while broadcast spreaders drop fertilizer in a pattern out and away from the spreader. Drop spreaders are more accurate while broadcast spreaders cover larger areas in a shorter amount of time.
- Load the fertilizer into the spreader’s hopper. Each spreader has a setting that will allow you to control the amount of fertilizer put down. Follow the directions on the fertilizer bag to get the right setting for your spreader.
- The first step will be to lay out a perimeter line of fertilizer. That means taking the spreader over the edges of the lawn and spreading fertilizer.
- With the perimeter completed, begin walking the spreader back and forth over the lawn in parallel lines. As you approach the fertilized perimeter, turn the spreader off so you don’t run over the same area twice. Spreading the fertilizer in this manner will take some time, but the results are well worth it.
When should you fertilize and seed your yard?
You should do both during the cooler parts of the spring and fall. In southern states, you can do it in the Spring between February and April. in the Fall, you would look at doing it between October and November. In the northern states, the Spring seeding would be handled from April to early June, while the fall seeding might occur between September and early October.