If your current yard doesn’t live up to the yard of your dreams, you’re in the right place. A luscious green lawn is within your grasp – if you take the right steps, anyway! The truth is that your grass wants to grow. It may not seem like it, but given the proper conditions, your lawn could be the most luxurious one in the neighborhood. Sure, you’ll have to put in a bit more time and money, but the reward will be a thick, green lawn that’ll put a smile on your face every time you see it.
The tips below assume that you already have grass coverage over your entire lawn, or at least enough grass to improve with the right growing techniques. However, this isn’t what everyone starts out with in their journey to a picture-perfect yard. The good news is, companies like The Grass Store have a wide variety of grass seeds and sod that can help revitalize even the saddest of lawns.
Step #1: Water your grass correctly
If you’ve avoided critically over- or under-watering your lawn thus far, that’s a good sign. However, the goalpost isn’t “avoid killing my lawn”; it’s “fulfill my lawn’s potential”. This being the case, there are a few watering strategies that will make a difference for your grass.
- Water in the morning, not during the day or at night. Why? Because a mid-day watering time risks too much of the water being evaporated, and a nighttime watering time means that the grass will stay wet for too long. This increases the lawn’s vulnerability to disease, which is not something you want if you’re going for a healthier yard. An early-morning watering, however, will be followed by warming daytime temperatures, giving the excess moisture a chance to evaporate.
- Warm-season grasses like Bermuda, Zoysia, and St. Augustine are drought-resistant, so they actually prefer less frequent waterings. By watering them deeply, you’ll encourage deeper root growth and increased resistance to dry conditions.
- Your grass could be watered through rainfall or by your irrigation system, but it should ideally get about one inch of water weekly. You obviously can’t help it when a thunderstorm dumps three inches of rain on your lawn, but otherwise you’re in control of how much water your lawn gets.
Step #2: Overseed
Growing grass from seed may seem like an advanced task, but it really isn’t that difficult. If you’re just overseeding your lawn for thicker grass, you only have to get a couple of things right: the timing, and the watering schedule. This information is just a quick Google search away for the grass variety you choose; if you follow the right steps, you’ll basically be taking a short-cut to a much thicker lawn. Warm-variety grasses are generally seeded in spring or summer, but this can vary from one grass type to another. Overseeding can be done every year, or you might be happy with what you have after one try. It’s up to you!
Step #3: Mow properly
Have you ever gotten a haircut that required frequent appointments with a hair stylist to maintain? That’s how you should think of your new lawnmowing strategy.
- Dull lawnmower blades equal jagged cuts on the grass, which raises the risk of infection from disease or pests. If you keep the blades sharp, you’ll have healthier, less stressed-out grass.
- The frequency of your mowing sessions makes a big difference as well, and it’s all about the height of the grass. Find out the recommended height for the variety growing in your yard, and then don’t let it grow more than 1.5X that height. For example, grass that should be cut down to 2 inches shouldn’t be allowed to grow longer than 3 inches. This reduces stress on the grass, which is a major factor in how fast and thick it grows. Stressed grass has a harder time absorbing nutrients from the soil, which has a negative effect on the lawn’s health overall.
Step #4: Fertilize
Most soils will have enough nutrients to grow grass at some level, but we’re aiming for the kind of lawn that makes you want to kick your shoes off and run around barefoot. In that case, you’ll probably need to fertilize. The soil will become slightly more depleted after each yearly cycle of growing new grass, and being watered (or rained on). These things leach nutrients out of the soil, which need to be replaced at some point.
Nitrogen-based fertilizers are common for warm-season grasses; the frequency and concentration of the fertilizer regimen you use is your decision. If you aren’t sure how to get the best results, you can do some research or ask an expert. And always, always read the label – that contains important information! No matter which fertilizer you select, it should always be applied as the grass is growing; otherwise it won’t work.
Step #5: Balance the soil
What pH balance is the dirt in your yard? It’s totally understandable if you don’t know, but it’s probably time for you to find out. Soil’s pH balance plays a big role in how efficiently grass can absorb nutrients from the soil, which has a cascading effect on how robust and green the grass can become.
Each variety of grass will have its own “happy place” where pH balance is concerned, so you’ll need to look that up at some point. If your soil is already in the sweet spot, great – you don’t have to do anything else. If a pH test reveals too much acidity or alkalinity, though, you should take steps to correct it. This is usually pretty simple; for example, the application of a properly mixed lime solution will balance out the pH of overly acidic soil.
How much distance is there between what’s currently growing in your yard, and what you want your yard to look like? Good news – that distance just got smaller! By taking these steps, you’ll be enjoying a thick, green, healthy lawn before you know it.