If you are looking for easy grass care, the DIY way, then you have come to the right spot!
In order to take care of your grass, without breaking your back and your bank account, you need to figure out what type of soil and grass you have.
The best lawn to have, is one that is natural to your area, and almost meadow like. In order to achieve this look, go outside, and check out your dirt!
CLAY or hard compact dirt
AERATE! If your grass is thin, and the soil is hard compact or basically clay based, then the best grass care is by aerating, you will give your grass a fighting chance. You can rent an aeration machine, which basically cuts out these little plugs from your lawn. So, after you have used the aeration machine, your grass will look like it has little holes missing!
Now get some course sand and peat moss, and dump it into little piles over the yard, and then with a leaf rake, rake the sand and peat moss mixture into all these little holes, and use the rake to break up the little dirt plugs that are laying around after you used the machine. No need to pick those up, just break them up and rake them in with the sand and peat moss.
This increases oxygen to the roots and should be done once a year, if you have this type of soil. Middle of the spring or in the fall are good times. I myself prefer the spring for this treatment. After you have done this, wait a couple of weeks, and then top dress the grass by spreading one inch of peat moss, you can also add compost to this, and then over seed your grass. Your grass will start to look great.
I find the spring the best time for the above treatment, because I am motivated in the spring after a long winter to get out in the garden. The fall is a little harder for me. Everything is getting put to bed for the winter, which can be depressing to an avid gardener!
SANDY. Grass care for sandy soil is a little different. You tend to have a dry lawn, because the moisture drains away to quickly and your lawn is always thirsty. If this is your problem, and you basically need to leave the sprinkler on all day to keep it nice, then try this:
No need for aeration here, as it is getting plenty of air through the sand, so you need to boost organics. Start by mulching with at least a one inch layer of organic materials such as shredded leaves, peat moss, garden compost, or good manure. Spread this over the lawn twice a year. Best in early spring and early fall. Make sure to use a soft leaf rake, you don' want to be ripping the grass out of the yard! This mixture on top of the grass will work its way down to the soil and will enrich the soil. It might take a couple of seasons to really notice a difference, but I have noticed good results fairly quickly after the first application in the spring.
Good grass care is not complete without some over seeding in mid spring. Using a rye grass mixture is a good way to keep your lawn hardy without chemicals. It is drought resistant, and if you mix in some clover, you are more likely to keep a green lawn in the summer as clover resists going brown in the heat of summer.
As a kid, I remember neighbors getting upset when clover showed up in the grass, but really it is a good addition to a lawn. Gone are the days, of watering all night, and dumping loads of chemicals on to keep it the perfect lawn. Homeowners, want a nice lawn, that is natural and grows well in their area. Many people are going to a meadow grass seed mixture and clover.
When it comes to cutting your lawn, if you go too short, then the hot sun gets at the roots, and this is when weeds really get started. So get used to a three inch lawn and don't drag that bag around with you either.. For good grass care, leave the clippings on the lawn. (unless you have left it so long there are huge mounds of clippings! then you may need to remove some!). If you cut it about once a week during the heavy growing season, that should be enough. Just leave the grass clippings where they are, don't rake them into piles.. The clippings will be absorbed back as organic mulch.
The best advice for cutting the lawn is to sharpen your lawn mower blades at the start of each season. So, many people do not do this, and all that happens, is the grass gets shredded rather than cut, which leaves those brown edges on the top of the grass the next day. So, take your blades off and either sharpen them yourself or take them to the hardware store and get them to do it. Or treat yourself to a lawn mower tune up. This helps it run better and makes it easier for you!
WEEDING. For great grass care, stay away from the weed killers. Really take a look at your lawn, and decide which weeds are bugging you the most, then get yourself a weed digger, and dig them out manually. Ignore the tinier ones, or you will be there all day! There are some great hand held weed pullers that don't even require you to bend down, and these are a fast way to get rid of those nasty big weeds. Try walking row by row, like you are cutting the lawn and pull the weed, then go around and pick them up. Leave the smaller weeds to another day! As your grass responds to your over seeding and/or aeration or mulch, your weed problems will get less and less.
Take off your shoes and socks, and wiggle your toes in your drug free grass and enjoy!