How to Get the Best Looking Lawn in Your Neighborhood
If you want to know how to get a good looking yard, you are in the right place.
This post is co-written by my husband, who has a true affinity for lawn care. When we moved into our house seven years ago, he completely renovated the yard. He started from scratch to transform our yard into the beautiful green lush lawn that you see pictured above.
Since then, he has spent countless hours researching lawn care and taking pride in making our lawn look the best it can be. He beams from ear to ear when our neighbors walk by and comment on the yard and ask him how he gets such green grass and asks him what he does to make our yard look so good. (And always lets me know about it).
So, he has decided to take the knowledge he has gained from years of research, in addition to trial and error, and answer all those neighbors and help you too with his top 7 Tips for How to Get the Best Lawn on the Block.
7 Tips on How to Get the Best Yard on the Block:
- Use weed control: Pre and Post Emergent
- Aerate and Overseed Annually
- Use Quality Grass Seed
- Fertilize at the Appropriate Time of the Year
- Water Regularly
- Keep Lawn Mower Blades Sharp (or Keep a Spare Set)
- Cut Grass High
This post is geared specifically towards cool season grasses, and the grass in our yard is Turf Type Tall Fescue. Cool season type grasses grow best in cooler northern climates, but also can be grown in transitional zones that can accommodate either cool or warm season type grasses. We live in Virginia, which is a transitional zone. If you are unsure what zone you live in, here is a link to a map that outlines the cool season grass, transition zone, and warm season grass regions of the United States.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
1. Weed Control
The first step to achieving an enviable lush lawn is to eliminate weeds. Weed control is a vital part of a healthy lawn care routine, and in turn, once you attain that thick, healthy turf, the weeds will be easier to maintain.
Your grass may be green, but no one wants to look at weeds, even if they’re just as green.
Not only do you want to control the weeds that have already sprouted in your yard, but you also need to prevent weeds from growing in the first place. For this, you need to apply pre-emergent early in the year. When applied properly, it will create a barrier to prevent summer time weeds, such as crab grass, from germinating.
On the other hand, post emergent herbicides are strictly for weeds that aren’t controlled by the pre-emergent and actively growing. You will need to use a selective post emergent herbicide so that it will only kill the weeds and not kill the grass. For battling broadleaf weeds in my yard, I have always had good luck with Gordons Speedzone. You need to look for an herbicide that kills the exact type of weeds that you have in your yard. Always follow the directions on the packages for application rates.
2. Aerate and Overseed Annually
Aerating and overseeding go hand in hand. The whole point of using an aerator on your lawn is to punch thousands of holes into your yard while pulling up cores of soil from the ground. There are several reasons why this is beneficial to your yard:
- Aerating creates holes in your yard to allow oxygen and airflow down into the soil. Those holes also create beds for the seeds to fall into giving great seed to soil contact. This promotes better germination when overseeding.
- Over time the soil becomes compacted. Aerating will break up the soil so that the roots will be able to grow deeper into the ground and have a better environment in which to grow.
- Overseeding helps your turf to become thicker and repair spots that may have been damaged during the strenuous hot summer.
It is important to perform your aeration and overseeding at the appropriate times of the year. There is some debate as to whether aeration and overseeding should be done in the fall or early spring. I have always had more success when aerating in the fall as opposed to spring. This is because planting in the fall gives the seed more time to germinate and mature in a cooler environment in order for it to endure the following summer again.
For cool season turf, such as Tall Fescue, aeration and overseeding should be done in the early fall when the soil temperatures begin to cool after the hot summer. It’s okay if you still have warm or hot days, but the evenings should be cool.
You are going to get better results if you use a core type aerator that pulls up plugs as opposed to a spike aerator. You can either rent one, or you can buy one like I did.
3. Use Premium Grass Seed
Always use Premium Grass Seed specifically blended for your area. Nothing against the big box stores, but I have never had the best luck using seed generically blended for a huge geographical area or promise to grow anywhere and on anything.
The secret to getting that deep green grass color is in using premium grass seed(along with following all of the other steps). This is because premium grass seed is quality tested seed, specifically blended for your area. When you look at the label it should tell you there is 0% weed seed present. If you look at grass seed that comes from most big box stores, they are going to have some percentage of weed content. You are going to need to go to your local seed supply store, local nursery, or agricultural supply store, such as Agway, or Southern States and ask what seed blend they recommend for you.
4. Fertilize at the Appropriate Time of the Year
You want to fertilize when the grass is actively growing. Most of your cool season grasses, depending on how hot your summers get, tend to go dormant when temperatures get high. For most people, a good time to fertilize is going to be in the early spring, March, when the grass is starting to wake up, and give it another shot in May before the heat of the summer sets in (think M and M).
You want to get that second application down before the heat of summer sets it and it will carry you right on through to fall when it’s time to aerate and overseed. Then you’re going to want to fertilize again in the fall, when you over seed, as well as the months to follow when your turf is actively growing and thriving again. Just remember SOD-September, October, December.
Always follow the directions on the packages for application rates.
Just like any other plant or living organism, grass needs water in order to survive and thrive. This is especially important in the heat of the summer. Hopefully Mother Nature will run her course and help out your water bill, but in the event of a dry spell, you want to make sure you water your lawn one inch of water per week.
If you have irrigation, consider yourself lucky, but if you’re like me and you do not, then there are ways to set up your own DIY water sprinkler system to achieve the same results. You can find a rain gauge on Amazon to make sure that your grass is getting its necessary one inch of water per week. I have also linked to one of the sprinklers I use and like.
6. Keep the Lawn Mower Blade(s) Sharp
If you’re looking to have the nicest lawn on the block, one thing that cannot be overlooked is the damage that can be done with dull lawn mower blades. Think about trying to cut something with a dull pair of scissors. You create more damage as you cut. You always want to make sure that your lawn mower blades are sharpened prior to cutting season and always have spare blades on hand. It can in some cases help to prevent types of lawn fungus and disease, and also prevents the grass from undue stress as it tries to repair itself, especially in the summer time. If you can look up close at your grass and see jagged, almost torn grass blades, then you most likely need to go ahead and sharpen or get yourself a new blade or set of blades.
7. Mow Grass TALL
When talking about cool season grass, especially TALL Fescue, it is supposed to be kept high (hence the reason it’s called TALLFescue). Once the summertime heat sets in, the canopy created by the tall, dense grass blades protects the roots and keeps the soil cooler, allowing the grass to be more heat and drought resistant. Generally speaking, a good height to keep your grass is 3.5 to 4 inches tall. This will give your grass its best chance to thrive through the summers.
I could go on and on and on but we’ll save that for another post. Hopefully these 7 very simple yet extremely important tips help you to attain your goal of the most sought after lawn on the block. Go give it a try and let us know how much better your yard looks.
Comment below if you have tried any of these tips!