New homeowners or those who are new to yardwork may find the job overwhelming at first. But, if you break this job down into a few basic, key tasks, you may find that this overwhelming job becomes much more manageable. Here are some key lawn care 101 tips for beginners to put on the to-do list that can offer big visual rewards in exchange for a modest amount of effort:
Devise a mowing plan: As a new homeowner, you may be able to save hundreds of dollars by mowing your own lawn rather than hiring a lawn service to do it for you. It takes some time, but there are ways to make the job more manageable.
First, schedule your mows while considering the time of day and the weather forecast, along with your own schedule. There are some optimal times of day when mowing is best, in order to reduce stress on your lawn and keep grass healthier. You can also use a scheduling tool like Troy-Bilt’s Voice Assistant Skills to help you reserve time on your calendar to mow in between your commitments and weather issues.
Once you’re actually mowing the lawn, follow an organized pattern to make the process more efficient. Mowing in rows is often the quickest and most efficient way to cut the lawn, depending on its size and shape. In addition, mowing in a way that allows you to tackle longer lengths can reduce the number of turns you need to make, allowing you to work a little more quickly. But, you’ll also want to switch up your mowing pattern regularly to avoid creating compacted rows and keep grass growing in various directions. You can also try mowing in a circular pattern to reduce the number of turns needed and make the process more interesting.
Whatever pattern you use, be sure to avoid discharging grass clippings into the street, where they can be hazardous to motorcyclists and bicyclists. The easiest way is to prevent this is to take a couple mowing passes discharging the grass away from the road before reversing direction, or use a leaf blower to clean up the road afterwards.
Tackle weeds bit by bit: If you’re dealing with heavy amounts of weeds in the lawn or in flower beds, devise a plan for tackling them.
If you need to control weeds in your lawn, figure out which type of weeds you’re dealing with, then choose the proper treatment. You may opt to use an organic fertilizer or herbicide approved for use on the lawn, but read product labels carefully. You can also pull weeds individually or spray them with white vinegar.
When removing weeds in flower beds and borders, water the beds before pulling weeds. This makes them easier to pull from the ground. If the task of weeding all flower beds and borders at once seems onerous, break the task up into a several-day process.
Once the weeds are removed, help to reduce and slow down new growth by adding a layer of mulch over soil beds. Mulch will help to keep sunlight away from weed seedlings, discouraging their growth. Discourage weeds from returning in the lawn by aerating and dethatching once every year or so, and by keeping grass watered and on the longer side (more than 2½ inches tall).
Set up a container garden: One of the best ways to create visual impact throughout outdoor spaces is by creating container gardens or large potted plants. Filling up large pots with a selection of flowering and leafy annuals, succulents and herbs is a great way to add color, texture and variety to your outdoor environment. What’s more, you can place those containers anywhere you want, such as in areas where they’ll receive the right amount of sunlight, or where they may be easier to water and maintain. You can create groupings of containers or set them up in key areas to fill space and add key textures and details to sitting areas and patios. This is often an easier way to get started when it comes to adding color and visual interest compared to in-ground gardening and larger landscape design elements.
Once your container garden gets growing, maintenance is simple. You may need to deadhead or trim plants as they begin to thrive. Also keep an eye out for signs letting you know it’s time to change the soil in the container garden. For example, you might see a crusty ring around the pot at the soil’s edge, white or yellow crust on top of the dirt, or overcrowded plants growing out of the container’s drainage holes.
Add annuals and perennial: Fill flower beds with annuals and/or perennials to add curb appeal, color and more visual impact. Depending on your climate, perennials may regrow each year, whereas annuals will expire and not return. Check your planting zone to confirm which annuals and perennials will flourish in your yard.
Think about height: Change things up by adding a climbing plant and/or flowering vines that can grow up a trellis. Trellises can be used behind planters or in soil beds with tall, climbing or quickly growing plants. Examples include clematis, pole beans and tomato plants.
To guide vines up a trellis, loosely tie branches starting from the bottom. Weave your stems both horizontally and vertically through your trellis as they grow. When they reach the top, guide them back down for better coverage. Prune them regularly to keep them neat and tidy.
Trying some or all of these tips will have you looking like a yard care pro in no time.