The Absolute Guide And Tips For Lawn And Garden Care

Lawn and garden care

For many Americans and people across the world, having their own little space of nature to tend to and shape is one of the perks of living in a house. Our lawns and gardens often represent us more than we might realize, and for so many of us, they’re a source of pride and joy that we’ll gladly put hours of work into each week just to perfect.

Our lawns and gardens are everything to us, and they’re a space where we come to enjoy meals with family, celebrate milestones and events with friends, and get out into nature to enjoy fresh air and physical activity with Mother Nature.

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As an added bonus, knowing that it was your hard work that achieved the results you have makes it one of the most satisfying things we can work on in our lives.

Maintaining a good lawn and a thriving garden doesn’t come easy, but the results are well worth the extra time you’re willing to put in to keep them growing. With a few of the right tools and a bit of know how to back you up, you can have a gorgeous backdrop for your home to be set on that provides you with space to relax, unwind, and get active.

Maintaining a good lawn

Depending on the type of garden you want to achieve, where you live, and how much time you have to spare to tend to it, there are a number of things you should consider. There are tools and accessories that help you garden more efficiently, and tips and tricks that every good gardener should now.

However, with just a little bit of know-how and the right products, you can become a more efficient gardener and get the professionally landscaped home of your dreams.

The History Of Lawns

When tracing the history of lawns back to their very beginnings, it’s believed that they started as the grassy areas surrounding medieval castles in France and Britain during the 16th century. Around the 17th century, smaller versions of these lawns were found on some English homes but usually only on the larger and wealthier properties.

After some time, as the lawn become more common and could be found in a smaller design for everyday homeowners, it followed Europeans as they immigrated across to America.

The History of Lawns

Both the designs for lawns and many of the species followed them over, and since then the lawn has become as American as apple pie, hosting the many cultural events and family get-together that make our country as unique as it is.

When you picture the perfect American household, the first thing you usually see is a flat, green, and sprawling front yard with perfectly cut grass. Our lawns are where we have barbecues, play a game of football with our kids, and enjoy playing around in sprinklers and tanning in the sun.

Not only are they a treat to enjoy, but many of us love nothing more than the maintenance and love that goes into growing the perfect lawn.

According to the National Gardening Association, Americans invest heavily each year in maintaining the perfect lawn and garden with around $500 a year spent on do-it-yourself gardening accessories and tools.

This includes everything from pots to plants, and the figure seems to rise each year as more and more Americans appreciate just how much wonder can come from tending to your own lawns and gardens.

How Climate Plays A Huge Role In Lawn Maintenance

There’s nothing worse than spending time and money getting your lawn started only to find that it requires hours of additional maintenance just to keep green. Worse still is when you find that grass dies off and becomes patchy even with your best efforts, simply due to the fact that the grass you chose doesn’t suit the climate you live in.

Lawn Maintenance.

For this reason, grass is usually separated into two common types: cool season grass and warm season grass. In between the two, there is also transitional area grass, which is a blend between the two and suits those that don’t fall into either category.

When you pick the right one for your home, the success rate of your growth will be phenomenal and it will require very little input to maintain.

Cool season grass is better suited to northern regions that have a cooler spring and fall whereas warm season grass is ideal for hotter parts of the country where summers are particularly hot and humid.

Choosing the right grass for your area and climate means you are giving it the best chance for growing success with as little ongoing maintenance as possible.

Once you know which of these the best grass is, you can then go onto the other deciding factors. How much maintenance and upkeep are you willing to put in, will this be a high or low traffic area, and what kind of area are you hoping to plant? All of these will inevitably lead you to the right choice of grass but you will have to do your research.

How To Grow Your Lawn From Scratch

When you’re just starting out and looking to grow a lawn that’s fit for entertaining on, there are a few basic terms you should be aware of. With an understanding of these, you can then begin planning how to grow your lawn, now that you have some of the basics under your belt.

Fertilizing

This is the act of feeding your grass so that it grows healthy and strong. Think of fertilizer as food for your grass, that’s required to give it nutrients along with regular watering.

Fertilizing Your Lawn

Weed preventers

There are a range of measures you can take to prevent weeds such as pre-emergent weed chemicals like herbicides, or items such as matting which can prevent the growth of weeds through the soil.

Treating weeds

A post-emergent weed treatment is something that kills weeds, but they can also kill other important things in your garden too. Otherwise, there are natural approaches to take and weeds can also be removed by hand.

Aerating

This is the act of making holes in the soil so that it can get better access to the atmosphere, and in turn, create healthier and stronger grass. Aerating should be done once a year for best results, but more if the conditions are moist.

Watering

This is the simple process of wetting your lawn, and it can be done either with a handheld hose or a sprinkler system. Achieving the ideal water amount and frequency is essential to ensure you don’t over water or under water your lawn.

Lawn sprinkler head.

Mowing

Mowing is done with a lawnmower and should be done every few weeks or as required before the next rainfall is scheduled to arrive. Mowers can be adjusted so that the blades cut lower or higher, and depending on the season there are different guidelines you should follow.

Tips For Lawn Design From Scratch

Once you know the basics, there are a few ways to plan the design of your lawn if you’re starting from scratch. Firstly, you need to understand the space that you’re working with in order to have a design plan as it will all depend on the area, space, and type of soil you have.

Before doing any further work on your lawn, do a diagnostic soil test so you understand the levels of your yard. As you can’t just begin laying sod and seed hoping for the best, you should have a plan in place about what you want to achieve. Some people prefer one big open space with minimal design, but others like a bit of pizazz with their lawn.

For a few simple design ideas, you can consider a central space such as a water feature, various garden beds, and stone pathways, all of which can be achieved fairly easily provided you plan them out before you start laying the grass.

The best way to get started with growing your grass is to clear the land altogether, by clearing all debris such as stones, sticks, grass, and large roots. Then, you’ll need to lay a seeding soil which will help your seeds to grow at their best and then place a fertilizer on top of this.

Use your seed spreader to spread the seeds evenly throughout the yard, giving a thorough and even application.

Seeding soil.

Using a lawn roller, you can then tamp the seed down so that it’s thoroughly embedded in the soil. This will also prevent erosion down the track so it will save you on further maintenance. Water the entire area until it’s been soaked about six inches deep, and then continue to water each day until the seedlings are visible.

Water a few times a day from here until the grass is long enough to mow, and then water deeply and less frequently from there on.

How To Care For Your Lawn Through All Seasons

Once your lawn is established, then you’ll need to understand how to care for it through all seasons. As each season brings with it a new climate and harsh conditions on different ends of the spectrum, you should help your lawn to prepare for the seasons with just simple processes.

As Spring arrives you’ll notice that this is when your grass starts growing at a great speed. The warmer conditions have returned it’s perfect weather for this growth to begin, but be cautious not to start mowing until the grass has dried out otherwise you could spread disease and clog up the lawnmower.

Spring is a great time to fertilize your lawn, and many people also choose this time of year to aerate the grass as well.

When summer arrives and the heat is well and truly here, it means that many of the grubs will come out too. If needed, you might have to apply a pesticide or look for a more natural approach if that suits your gardening style. You will likely be mowing on a weekly basis, but always ensure you only ever cut a third of the grass at a time to prevent overmowing.

Mowing the lawn.

By the time fall has commenced you’ll notice quite a lot of debris and fallen leaves clogging up your lawn, so it’s essential to keep it clear by raking. This will prevent thatching which can lead to grass disease, so you have to remain vigilant.

Those living in the north will find this the best time to fertilize, so check your surroundings, and this fertilizer will last through winter to keep your grass strong.

Although winter is the time when things will slow down in terms of lawn growth, there is still plenty to be done. Many gardeners take this time to maintain their machinery and tools, so take your mower in for a service and sharpen the blades of your gardening accessories.

Once the snow starts to melt, try to stay on top of it to ensure that your grass doesn’t succumb to snow mold and give it a regular rake to break up thatching.

Organic Lawn Care And How To Achieve It

For those who are looking for a more natural way to garden, you may have already heard about organic lawn care. This approach to gardening means that you ditch the chemicals and rely solely on natural products, usually found in the garden, to fertilize, treat pests, and aid in growth.

The treatment of pests is particularly useful, with many of the common pests able to be cleared out with some organic repellants.

Chinch Bugs

This common pest can be found on grass, and they can puncture your grass and suck out the fluids which eventually kills it. As a natural repellant, you can use organically approved Safer Soap, or even introduce ladybugs and lacewings to the area which feed on them.

Chinch bugs for grass.

Lawn Grubs

These pesky white grubs can wreak havoc on your lawn, but there’s no need to reach for the pesticides just to clear them out. You can encourage more birds to your home with feeders and the right plants which will then feed on the lawn grabs and eradicate them.

Otherwise, a control called bacillus thuringiensis is a perfectly natural and safe way to kill them without harming anything else.

Crabgrass

This troublesome weed can be controlled with a number of natural approaches that mean you can keep your lawn chemical free. Try pouring either boiling water or vinegar directly onto the grass in order to kill it, and remove the remaining weeds by hand.

With a few of these natural techniques up your sleeve, you’ll slowly be able to transform your entire lawn and garden to an organic one. With natural products and the rest of your gardening tools in your arsenal, there’ll be no need to reach for the chemicals ever again.

The Essential Tools For Lawn Maintenance

Whether you’re just starting out or have spent years tending to your lawns, there are some must-have accessories to help you maintain it. Here are a few of the more common ones as well as power tools that can make you a more efficient gardener.

  • Basic tools - Although these don’t require power to operate, they still get a lot done for your garden. Rakes, forks, wheelbarrows, and carts are just a few tools you’ll need to take care of your lawn, and they’re relatively affordable to invest in too.
  • Lawn mowers - The quintessential gardening power tool, a mower is usually designed as a walk behind engine on wheels that the user pushes while walking behind or riding on. Small blades cut the grass down to a certain length and keep the yard looking tidy.
  • Leaf blowers - This efficient device uses powered air to blow leaves, debris, snow, and other items with full force, and can also be used to vacuum up and mulch some materials if you purchase a multi-purpose machine.
  • Edgers - These are useful for getting precise lines and cleaning up space where the grass and lawn meet the pathways, driveways, and garden beds. They create a cleaner look and help make distinct lines around the gardens.
  • Trimmers - A trimmer is like a mini mower designed to get into smaller spaces and trim down weeds, grass, and small branches without the need for any manual force. They’re usually on a stick or pole design and powered by gas or battery.
  • Sprinklers - A sprinkler is an automatic watering device that sits on your lawn, either on top of the lawn or underneath as irrigation, and keeps your lawn hydrated. These can be turned on with timers or connected to your water line and operated manually as you see fit.
  • Spreaders - A spreader is ideal for planting fertilizers that can help your grass grown strong and healthy. These simple devices feature a push behind fertilizer tray that allows you to evenly distribute fertilizer for a thorough approach.
  • Sprayers - The most common type of sprayers for the lawn can be carried in a backpack style design, usually filled with herbicides and pesticides aimed to keep weeds and insects off your grass.
  • Aerators - These come in different varieties with the main aim being to puncture holes in the soil that they can react better with the atmosphere, leading to healthy and rejuvenated grass.

Common Issues With Lawns

Along with the regular maintenance of keeping your lawn looking good and healthy with trimming, edging, mowing, and fertilizing, there are also common issues that seem to plague even the best gardeners. Here are a few of the more common problems that can be found with lawns and how you can help to rectify them.

Crabgrass

As one of the most common weeds afflicting American lawns, it’s no wonder that there’s a wealth of information out there for how best to treat it. Crabgrass requires a few different approaches, and it’s all a matter of preventing and then removing the existing grass.

Crabgrass in lawn.

Firstly, remove the existing crabgrass by and ensure the seeds haven’t spread. Secondly, apply a weed preventer and be sure to repair any bare lawn spots as this is where they can thrive. Just a few small steps can keep the crabgrass away, but you will need to stay on top of it.

Shaded Areas

Even when we do our best to water our lawns and get them all the natural sunlight they need, you can’t avoid shady areas that occur from trees, bushes, and other obstructions. However, just because there’s something blocking the sun it doesn’t mean you have to put up with dead grass.

Rather than pruning back your trees excessively, plant a type of grass that does well in shady conditions such as bishop’s hat. This area may look slightly different to the rest of the grass, but in general, the shades of green will blend together and look far less obvious than dead patches.

Patches In Lawn

If you’re struggling with parts of your lawn that have lost their grass entirely, you know just how hard it can be to get them to grow back. Not only are they unappealing to look at, but these patches are prime ground for weeds to grow so you need to tackle them.

Begin by removing the area where the patches are by digging out the grass and about six inches of healthy lawn surrounding it. Level the soil and add an amendment to it along with fertilizer. Cut your section of sod, lay it on top, and then push it down to make it stick. Continue watering until the roots attach and then maintain as usual.

White Grubs

Easily the most common pest you’ll find in your lawn, you can tell if the white grubs have taken over by doing a quick check of how many are in your soil. If you can pull the turf up easily and see the white C-shaped grubs, you’ll need to act quickly.

White grubs in lawn.

For a stronger approach but less earth friendly, you can apply an imidacloprid in early summer when it starts to heat up and this should treat them. If you have an organic garden, though, you can introduce some predatory nematodes to feed on the grubs and eliminate them.

With all of the know how you now have in regards to caring for your lawn, you can set your sights on growing a beautiful garden to match. However, gardens and lawns each require unique tools and knowledge to bring to fruition, so you need to be schooled on the best methods to achieve the perfect mix of the two.

What Is A Garden

Although lawns are more than enough on their own, they often work well in conjunction with a thoroughly planned garden. Chances are if you have space for a lawn at your house then there’s also a garden as well, but what is the difference between them?

When considering the difference between a lawn and garden, the easiest way to tell the two apart is due to the plants within.

A lawn is usually just an area of short mown grass, and a place where people relax, play and lay around. However, a garden is a collection of plants, flowers, herbs, vegetables, and fruits that all exist together. Most homeowners have both on their property, and both of them require just as much attention as the other.

Short mown grass.

Another handy way to think of a garden is a place where plants are cultivated for a purpose, whether that be for aesthetic value, fruits and vegetables to eat, or certain trees to provide shade. However, this isn’t to be confused with a farm setting where this is done on a commercial basis.

The beauty of gardens is that they can be fully customized to suit their owner, and made from scratch into the perfect design that you see fit.

What To Consider Before Starting Your Garden

If you think that you have the lawn part of your home sorted and are interested in beginning your very own garden, there are a few things you might need to consider first. Just as you’d do with lawn maintenance, planning and preparation can help you to avoid a number of issues down the line and will mean less ongoing maintenance for the gardener.

  • Size – depending on how much area you have to work with, there will be certain plants that you should consider. Those with large spaces can go for a more natural approach, but others with limited area might want to consider vertical plants or container gardens.
  • Soil – before any type of gardening occurs, you need to complete a soil test to get a diagnosis on the soil you are working with. This will show you what’s needed to fix it, and the types of plants that would best suit.
  • Location – every state and district have a unique climate that makes some plants more favorable than others. Understand your local area and what the native plants are so you can make that a goal for your garden.
  • Design – spend some time drawing and mapping out where everything will go in your garden and what type of design you’re working towards. Extensive planning such as this is essential in gardening.
  • Maintenance – knowing how much time and effort you can spend maintaining your garden will help you choose plants that require either a little or a lot of care.

Once you’ve considered what you’re working with and how each of these factors will fit into your garden, you can then begin getting creative. Half of the fun of gardening is the planning stage, and it’s best to think of it like interior decorating only with Mother Nature giving you a helping hand.

Trendy Gardening Ideas For Your Home

There have been plenty of gardening trends that come and go, but it all comes down to the homeowner and what they think suits their personal style. When looking at the more recent trends to hit the world of landscaping and gardening, here are a few that have stood out as the most popular choices and easy to maintain for the home gardener.

Patio garden.

Patio Garden

When you don’t have the space for a full sized yard or live in an apartment block, there’s still nothing stopping you from having your own garden. A patio garden consists of smaller pots and planters that can feature everything from cactus to herbs, depending on what the gardener enjoys.

Vertical Garden

This vertical approach to gardening is ideal for those without as much space or anyone who wants something a little unique. Plants are grown upwards including vines, succulents, and flowers, in specially designed beds that can hold soil in vertically.

Naturalistic Garden

A natural wildlife garden consists of a number of plants that are native to the area, and they’re usually free growing and full of a range of colors and shapes. According to Better Homes and Gardens, this approach is the easiest way to ensure local wildlife comes to visit so if that’s your goal then a naturalistic garden is best.

Container Garden

When you don’t want to plant your plants in the ground, a container garden is the next best thing. This style of gardening refers to growing everything in containers and allows you to move the around as you wish to mix things up when you’re bored.

Urban Garden

This style of gardening is best for people with small spaces or living in urban areas where there isn’t much green. It involves utilizing the small space you have to keep things green and thriving, and they’re usually very easy to maintain as well.

Top Gardening Tips

When in comes to gardening, there are countless tips to offer that can help you grow the garden of your dreams. However, to make matters easier we’ve selected just a few of the top tips in different categories to suit all types of gardens and give you a more efficient green thumb.

Planting bulbs for flowers.
  • For an organic approach, ditch the chemicals completely and take the time to learn natural approaches to common garden problems. With a fully sustainable garden, you can save money on buying products but also do your part for the environment by saying no to chemicals.
  • When winter is around the corner, there are a few things you can do to help protect your garden. Spread a winter mulch on any bare soil, prepare a compost bin to remove garden debris, and plant some new perennials that will bloom during spring.
  • ​Trim and prune the plants in your garden regularly to allow them to get new air circulation and stimulate growth. Spend at least ten minutes a week on this chore as a basis and work from there doing additional jobs as needed.
  • ​When planting bulbs for flowers, never try to spread them out in a row or perfectly orchestrated line. For the best results, plant about six or seven together in a group and let nature take care of the rest.
  • If you’re looking to attract more wildlife garden there are a few must have plants to incorporate. Lavender, ice plant, honeysuckle and purple loosestrife are just a few species to consider if you’re hoping to invite birds and butterflies into your garden and bring it all to life.
  • For those gardens with lots of potted plants and flowers, you should be cautious that these can overheat in summer. Terracotta pots, in particular, can get quite hot and will damage the plants inside. To help them cool down, stand them in saucers filled with sand and a small amount of water, as water alone will attract mosquitoes.

As you continue on with your gardening journey, you’ll likely pick up your own pearls of wisdom that you can share with others, and you’ll find more efficient ways to get jobs done. Provided you have the right gardening tools in your kit, anything is possible in your backyard garden.

The Must Have Tools For Gardening

In order to achieve the perfect garden, no matter the style you’re after, there are some tools that you just can’t go without. As a general rule, gardening accessories are relatively cheap to purchase and they’re built in such a way that they can last you for many years.

Provided you take good care of them and keep them clean, a quality gardening tool can last as long as your garden.

  • Shovel – these have a flatter and wider end and are ideal for picking up objects and materials such as dirt and gravel. Often confused with spades as a digging item, they’re better equipped to pick things up.
  • Spade – as these have a sharper blade like ending, they’re ideal for digging in the dirt to make holes and trenches for garden beds. These are usually smaller in stature than a shovel and easier to maneuver.
  • Hose – these long tools are ideal for watering plants and keeping soil hydrated, and come in varying lengths and materials depending on the needs of the gardener.
  • Weeders – these small tools have been made to pull out weeds specifically, and come in a variety of designs. The most popular is one that looks like a small pick ax which is adept at reaching the roots of weeds.
  • Gloves – a good gardener will always have the protection of gloves, and these are usually thick enough to prevent thorns and prickles reaching through to your fingers.
  • Cultivator – these are used to prepare a seedbed for growing plants, and usually have three prongs on the end which are ideal for breaking up the soil
  • Pruners – these scissor-like apparatuses help to trim back plants, and have a strong rubber handle that allows for better control.

These are just some of the basics, but depending on the type of garden and plants you have there might be more that better suit your species. The more you can rely on these tools and use your own hands, the less input you’ll need from chemicals and other amendments that are commonly found with gardening.

Achieving The American Dream

There’s nothing more American than having a lush green lawn with a thriving green garden to match, and working on achieving this dream is half the fun. For many of us, gardening provides a way to relax and unwind, and can also be entirely satisfying to see the results we’ve achieved with our own two hands.

When you have a perfectly manicured lawn and an array of stunning plants and flowers adorning your garden, your entire home will reap the benefits. Not only will it look great, but you’ll have the ideal space for entertaining, invite a range of stunning insects and wildlife to your home, and have the yearlong smell of fresh blooms and plants right outside your door.

Lush green lawn with a thriving green garden to match.

Just as is the case with anything worth doing in life, gardening and lawn care requires a lot of preparation and planning to enjoy success. Fertilizers, pruning, clipping, mowing, and trimming are just a few ways we can tend to our spaces, and each of them has their own unique benefits to the health of our grass and gardens.

With just a few of the right tools and accessories in your toolkit and a bit of knowledge about your local flora, you can become a professional gardener in no time. When you have a luscious lawn and garden awaiting you outside, you’ll never want to spend your weekends inside again, and it will give you a newfound appreciation for Mother Nature.

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