My lawn is thick and green. I like it that way, but the truth is, I do not like to spend very much of my time maintaining my yard. Many people enjoy spending hours primping their landscaping but not me! I follow a few simple guidelines, and it keeps my yard healthy without too much effort on my part.
1. Fertilizer, weed killer, and bug prevention. – Twice a year I go to the hardware store and buy the fertilizer that is on display. The store displays the appropriate fertilizer type for my area at the right time; that’s what they do. I use a broadcast spreader, and around September/October, I place a “winterizer” type fertilizer. In February/March, I put down a fertilizer/weed killer combo to prepare for spring, and in March/April, I will spread some combo insect killer to prevent ants, grubs, and other lawn pests. These treatments are generally all I do unless there is an insect problem that I am trying to control.
2. Cut at second highest mower setting. – I raise my mower all the way. Then I lower it one setting and leave it there for the entire summer. I read a description once that said, “Cutting the grass high is like giving the grass a haircut and chopping off the heads of the weeds.” Essentially, the important part of the weeds is at the top, and on grass it is lower. By mowing each week at the same level, I only cut off the tips of the lawn each week, allowing the grass to flourish and the weeds to fail. I mow my lawn once a week and edge once every 2-3 weeks.
3. Use a mulching mower. – I always set my mower to mulch the clippings and return them to the lawn. It is food for the grass, and best of all, I do not have to bag all of the clippings. It takes me 25 minutes to mow my front lawn, but when I bag the clippings, it takes almost an hour and a half. I do not want to spend all day mowing my lawn.
4. Water about 1″ each week. – I want to give my lawn 2 or 3 waterings each week, putting down about 1/2″ of water each time, but I also try to save money by not watering my lawn too often. If I skip a watering, I keep a close watch on the lawn, and if it looks dry or if my tracks stay on the grass when I walk across it, I water right away. I do not have an automatic underground sprinkler system. If it rains enough, I do not water, but if it is dry, I use my sprinklers. I placed a flat bottom, straight-sided pan on my lawn while I watered one day and found that in 1 hour, my sprinklers put 1/2″ of water into that pan. Now I know if I water for 1 hour, I get 1/2″ of water. I do that twice-a-week to keep my lawn watered.
5. Make it easy. – I have looked at what tasks take the most time to take care of my lawn and found ways to simplify them.
I found that I was spending 5-10 minutes aiming the lawn sprinkler every time I watered. One day I looked around after getting sprayed while running from the sprinkler that I had thrown into my lawn, and a neighbor was watching me and laughing. Why didn’t my house come with some sensible method to water my lawn? I now use a sprinkler that stays aimed in-between waterings. The Watering Made Easy Sprinkler Stations (https://wateringmadeeasy.com/) are available for about $30.
I put 3 of these in my front lawn, and they are great. I have not messed with a surface sprinkler since I got them. These sprinklers are very cool. They hide underground while they are not in use. When I am ready to water, I plug my garden hose into the sprinkler and it pops up and waters. It is like the underground sprinklers, but I did not have to bury long pipes. It was very easy to put in my lawn and use; I am about to put in 2 more for my back yard.
It seemed like too much trouble to hang my hose, so I often left it out on my lawn, or piled it up behind my fence. Now I use hose reels to store my hoses, and it is much easier and quicker to roll them up than it was to hang the hose. I plan to get the new hose reels that use water pressure to automatically roll in the hose, but I have not gotten one yet. Maybe I’ll get one for Father’s Day!
I put a shut off timer on my spigot and then a 4-hose adapter. Now I can run 3 hoses to 3 sprinklers and still have one extra spigot to use without unscrewing a hose. I set the timer for 1 hour, and I plug in the sprinklers. It automatically shuts off in an hour, and I roll up the hoses when it is convenient. I usually start the sprinklers when I leave for work and roll up the hoses when I get home. I have heard it is best to water in the morning.
I use a micro-sprinkler system in my front flowerbed. It is basically tubing that I ran under the mulch, and it has spikes that stick up and spray water. I got this kit at Lowe’s too. It connects to the spigot on the other side of my house, and I have a timer that shuts it off.
That is all I do, but it keeps my lawn looking great. Easy!