Angie's List: How can I get the best-looking lawn on the block?
A lush lawn can go a long way in boosting your home’s curb appeal — and also in providing the foundation for outdoor enjoyment and activities. After all, for many of us, our yard doubles as a playground, a dog run, an outdoor oasis and more. So, before you gather around the grill or crank up the sprinklers for your kids to cool off in, take these expert lawn care tips into consideration.
1. Learn more about your yard.
For the greenest grass, it’s good to start with a test to learn what kind of soil you’re working with. If you’re reseeding or laying down sod, a soil test will help you figure out which type of grass will grow best on your property. If you already have grass planted, a test will tell you what you need to know about pH and nutrient levels to dial in the right fertilizers, watering and overall care schedule to keep your lawn look its best. A professional can help with a soil test, or you can do it yourself with an at-home kit.
2. Get ahead of problem areas.
You don’t have to wait for your yard to look patchy or brown to give it a boost. Fertilization, overseeding and aeration can help your grass thrive — and you can incorporate them into a comprehensive care plan that keeps your lawn vibrant and healthy throughout the year. The exact frequency and schedule will depend on grass type and climate, as well factors like pet waste and foot traffic.
3. Water appropriately.
We all know it’s important to water the lawn. But how often should you turn on the hose, and how much water does your lawn really need? The answer to that depends on factors like the climate where you live, as well as the weather and the type of grass you have. For example, if you live in an area where it’s dry and hot, you likely have a drought-resistant grass that needs less moisture than grass planted in a temperate four-season climate. If you have a hard time getting it exactly right, a smart watering system or smart irrigation controller can help you figure out a schedule. Rather than running on a timer, a smart sprinkler uses data from sensors and the weather forecast to identify exactly the right amount of water.
4. Perform regular maintenance.
Mowing, trimming hedges and getting rid of debris like leaves and grass clippings are all important upkeep tasks that you should perform on a regular basis. Typically, homeowners mow the lawn once a week, while hedge maintenance and debris clean-up can be done seasonally. You should remove pet waste from your yard in a timely manner, and if you have several dogs, consider planting a pet-friendly species of grass to reduce the impact of waste on your lawn.
5. Ask for help.
With preventative lawn care and maintenance, there are several moving parts that may feel overwhelming or time-consuming. If you need a hand, don’t hesitate to ask for help from a lawn and garden professional in your area. They can help with everything from soil testing and overseeding to mowing and fertilization.
Diana Crandall is a reporter for Angie’s List, a trusted provider of local consumer reviews and an online marketplace of services from top-rated providers. Visit AngiesList.com.