How can I get my lawn to look better without hiring a service?
Real Mom Problem
“If you don't use a lawn care service, how do you keep your yard looking nice and full?”
- 1. Make sure you're using the right type of grass for your soil type, climate, and amount of shade
- 2. Maintain your lawn regularly instead of waiting until things get out of control
- 3. Consider planting a garden, or using mulch and other landscaping tools to limit the amount of grass you need to care for
- 4. See about asking neighborhood teens to mow your lawn for a small fee
- 5. Water regularly and look into products that can help you control weeds and bugs
Real Mom Solutions
You don't have to spend a lot of money in order to have a yard you can be proud of. See how the moms of CafeMom keep their lawns looking lush!
Our Expert Mom Says...
Your lawn is the first impression that anyone passing by has of your home. An attractive lawn doesn't have to be expensive, but does need some maintenance. Before investing in a lawn service, consider some of these easy fixes to keep things looking their best.
Mow gently -- Cut your grass no shorter than 3-3.5 inches. This length keeps the grass looking lush, chokes out weeds, and builds healthy soil.
Become a minimalist -- Nothing takes more time than a multitude of little jobs, so keep a check on the number of separate garden beds, plants that need pruning, and lawn ornaments that need cleaning or repair.
Stay ahead of the game -- It takes mere minutes a day to freshen up and check your lawn. Don't wait until the job becomes overwhelming. Take a walk around your property at least every other day, and take care of the little things.
Keep track of your work -- Write down what needs to be done and the date you finish each item. That way, you can plan for bigger jobs and have supplies ready when you need them.
Mulch is your secret weapon -- Mulch can come in a variety of colors and textures, and will create a finished look to any yard. Use mulch to create an easy to mow yard by filling in areas that are difficult to access with a mower or trimmer. Mulch also keeps weeds down around items that are not removable in the yard, like power poles and large rocks or trees. These are the things that require extra time to work around, and special tools. By using mulch, you smooth out those areas so mowing is quick and easy.
Know your lawn care needs throughout the year, and avoid having to hire an outside service.
Amy Jeanroy is a Master Gardener and community herbalist living in Northern Maine. She grows her own food, flowers, and herbs as much as possible and loves to share her knowledge. Keep up with Amy and her garden adventures at thefarmingwife.com.
The Moms of CafeMom Say...
My mother-in-law used clover for half of her yard, because when she was seeding she ran out and didn't want to spend the money. I love clover and think it's pretty. I like how it came out at her house.
Lawns are evil and should be destroyed. Seriously, a monoculture of grass is so bad for the environment and so pointless. If you are going to invest all that time, energy, and money into something, why not make it something USEFUL, like a vegetable garden?
I actually do my lawn myself. I put my daughter in her jumper outside, or when my oldest one was younger, and walking and such, I would do it as soon as she went to bed or during nap time. This year I also got one of those regular push mowers (no motor). You just push it and it goes. This doesn't fling rocks at you or anything, and honestly I find it much easier than those huge, gas powered lawnmowers. As far as finding someone to cut the grass for you, I'm sure there are some teenagers around that would love to have some extra money.
We use Turf Builder and Weed and Feed and our grass looks great. It was so horrible when we moved here, but now you wouldn't believe our yard had no grass in it a year ago. And we only water once a week.
I don't have a lawn service. But I do have thick, soft, pretty grass. I wonder if you change types of grass if it will help with any issues? Also, some companies here offer one free treatment. You may only need one and then be able to maintain it yourself.
I think creating a lot of beds with landscaping would save you the hassle of lawn care. Remember, do a little at a time...it's not any fun trying to do it all at once!
If Your Grass Won't Grow
The best thing is to check local plant nurseries and ask them. They are usually full of great advice for what grows best in your area. Some types of grass need sandy soils and others don't. Also, buying a pallet of sod and laying it yourself will give much better results than seeding. Laying sod is not fun, but is not hard - just labor intensive.
Spread straw over the yard after you spread the grass seed out. It protects the grass seed from birds and from being blown away. Water it when you are done.
You should be seeding twice a year. Early spring and mid-late fall. Water at least twice a day....morning and night. Get the right kind of seed for your yard. If you have mostly sun, you need to get grass that likes sun. If you have shade, you need to get grass that likes shade. Also, get grass seed with built in fertilizer.
We had no luck with seed. I was kicking myself when I found out cheap sod is.
Try putting a layer of topsoil down before you seed. And straw on top. It holds in the moisture.