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Basic Lawn and Landscape Care Guide

Learn what it takes to maintain a beautiful yard

Basic Lawn and Landscape Care Guide

Learn what it takes to maintain a beautiful yard

Asian family outdoors

If you've never had to care for a lawn before, it can feel intimidating to get started. Even small yards can come with obstacles you're not expecting. However, once you understand the basics, you might find that you enjoy your new yardwork routine. Here are some basic tips to get you started on the right foot.

Keep your yard tidy

The most basic step for lawn care is to keep the area clean. Start by raking your leaves and clearing your yard of sticks or other debris, like rocks. After you've removed the obvious items, it's time to get a little dirty. Pull up weeds and dead plants so that anything new you plant has plenty of space to grow. Completing this essential maintenance step will also help you learn more about your property, like understanding the type of grass that grows in your yard, the soil quality, and how the sun could affect future greenery.

Develop a mowing routine

Once you've cleaned and assessed your yard, it's time to determine how you'll care for it on an ongoing basis. You can hire a company or do it yourself, but most lawns should be mowed once a week and your schedule should include regular weeding. If you do it yourself, make sure that you never mow more than a third of the grass blade length, as it helps keep the grass healthy, long term. If it's been a little while since you've last mowed, and the grass is still longer than you'd prefer, mow again, following the same one-third rule after three or four days to give the grass time to recover. More tips for mowing your lawn include:

  • Mow only when the grass is dry
  • Keep your lawnmower blades sharp
  • Alternate your mowing pattern
  • Try not to mow during the heat of the day

Regular lawn maintenance, like mowing, can go a long way toward preventing pests and diseases from taking hold in your yard. Keeping your lawn tidy prior to mowing is important, too, as it makes mowing safer and more efficient.

Hydrate your lawn

Depending on how much rain your area receives, you might need to take watering your lawn into your own hands. If you walk across your yard, and the grass stays matted and flat after you walk, your lawn might be thirsty—especially if that's accompanied by a color or sheen change to your grass. It's best to water your lawn early in the morning. Watering in the evening can make your yard too moist, which can attract disease and pests.

Feed your lawn with fertilizer

A healthy lawn requires nourishment. Fertilizer can be a great tool to ensure your grass gets the right nutrients to grow. However, it can also mean you might need to mow more frequently. There are many types of fertilizers on the market, including natural and non-toxic varieties that can fit your needs. Testing your soil for its pH levels can also help you determine what nutrients your yard needs more of, which can help you find the right fertilizer.

You can also go beyond fertilizer and aerate your lawn before fertilizing. Aeration includes poking holes in your lawn, which helps airflow in the soil. It also makes it easier for water, seed, and fertilizer to permeate your yard. Types of grass have different fertilization requirements, but aim to aerate and fertilize at least once a year.

Stay on weed watch

Weeds are more than just an eyesore. The work you put into your lawn will go further if your grass does not have to compete with weeds for sunlight, water, and fertilizer. Pull weeds regularly and try your best to pull the root up with it.

Advice for dog owners

Pet waste can dry out and discolor grass, but, if you have a dog, there are still ways you can keep your grass green and healthy. Picking up pet waste is the most straightforward step, but you can also pour clean water over affected areas to dilute liquid waste. You can also try designating a specific area of your yard with mulch or gravel, where you can train your dog to do its business. If your dog likes to dig, you can apply the same idea and train your dog that they're only allowed to dig in a certain area.

Best of luck in caring for your lawn! If you're planning on a complete overhaul of your landscaping, a cash out refinance could help. See if you qualify now!

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