Lawn Care

1.) Testing, Testing, 1,2,3
Know what you're working with. By using a soil test kit to show levels of pH, nitrogen, phosphorus, and other nutrients, you can add the right ingredients to the mix that will improve lawn growth and keep pests at bay. Once you know what you need, stay away from chemicals and use a slow-release organic fertilizer with the proper balance for your lawn.

2.) Hold the Toxins
If you have a pest or weed problem - make sure to go non-toxic. Yes you can eradicate pretty much anything with the right chemical - but if it's toxic enough to kill them, it probably isn't good for you, your children, or the waterways either. Weeds are often a sign of poor soil - so improving the quality with compost and organic fertilizer is a better start to keeping out the unwanted in your lawn. 

3.) Break it Down
If your city doesn't collect compost, get a compost tumbler and do it yourself. So you're not a huge fan of worms. Don't let that stop you from enjoying the benefits of composting - which has become quite a bit easier and cleaner than you may imagine. Get a good mix of yard trimmings and kitchen waste (no dairy or meat) and you can create prime organic compost to feed your lawn! 

4.) When in Rome...
Plants are native to certain regions for a reason - they've proven that they do well in that climate and soil. Set yourself up for success, rather than a struggle by choosing plants and grass native to your area. If you live in a desert, plant a beautiful succulent and cacti garden rather than dump buckets of water and fertilizer trying to create a rain forest in your backyard.

5.) Make it Rain
If you live in a cloudless, rainless city from April to November, chances are you'll need to water your lawn at some point. To get the most bang for each drop, water during the coolest part of the day (think 6 am) to reduce evaporation. Ideally, use a trigger nozzle or soaker hose instead of a sprinkler, but if you can't get away from the sprinkler, make sure to set a timer for yourself so you don't drown the lawn and waste water. Easy trick - put an upside-down frisbee on your lawn and when it gets filled with water, turn off the sprinkler. Your lawn will be properly soaked.

6.) Catch-All
We're not suggesting you stand out in the thunderstorm with a bucket. But direct that water away from the sewers and your driveway by putting a rain barrel underneath your drains. Most feature a spout at the base so you can fill up your watering can and make sure the water gets to the plants and flowers that need it most.

7.) Eeny, meeny, miny, mow
If you already have a lawn mower, your best bet is to sharpen the blades and keep on mowing. But, if you are in the market for a new lawn mower, save the most resources (and get some cardio) with a reel mower. After manufacturing, it uses no energy besides your own. Second best would be an electric mower - a great eco friendly option, but you're more limited with area (about 100 yards) and the cord-free options are slightly more expensive. 

8.) Let it Grow 
Avoid drying out the soil by keeping your grass on the long side and raising the blade to at least 3 inches. Your lawn will stay greener and require less watering. And leave those lawn clippings where they lie - the extra nutrients are good for the soil and saves you the extra work!