Easy tricks to maintain a beautiful lawn

Keep your lawn looking great all summer long with these handy tips and tricks!

Easy tricks to maintain a beautiful lawn

Lawn tonics

Some "my-grass-is-greener-than-yours" lawn growers achieve great success with homemade lawn tonics made from ordinary items. Add any of the following ingredients to the reservoir of a 38- or 75-litre (10- or 20-gallon) hose end sprayer and water your lawn with the mixture every three weeks or so. Adding 250 millilitres (one cup) of dishwashing liquid each time will help spread the solution more evenly and make it stick to blades of grass.

  • A 350-gram (12-ounce) can of non-diet cola or beer. The sugar in both stimulates microbes that help to break up the soil.
  • 250-millilitres (one cup) of corn syrup or molasses, which works the same way as the above.
  • 250 milliltres (one cup) of household ammonia. Ammonia adds nitrates, the primary ingredient in most fertilizers.
  • 125 millilitres (1/2 cup) of mouthwash. The alcohol in mouthwash kills bacteria and spores and will help deter some pests.

Grasscycle

  • Take a cue from public parks and golf courses and "grasscycle" when you mow your lawn — which just means leaving clippings on your lawn when you finish.
  • Just mow often enough to make sure no more than one third of the length of the grass blades is lopped off each time.
  • The resulting clippings serve as beneficial mulch, as well as keeping yard waste out of community landfills.

Cover your ground

Ground covers are the low-maintenance alternative to grass covered lawns, but don't think you can just plant them and forget about them. All plants need watering and fertilizing, though not as often as a picture-perfect green grass lawn might. Ground covers work best:

  • On hard-to-mow slopes or in tight spaces
  • When you want to maintain a "natural" looking garden
  • When you're an indifferent mower who's tired of hearing the neighbours complain about your unkempt lawn

English ivy and pachysandra are typical all-green ground covers, but you can also choose flowering vines or spreading plants.

Coat hanger topiary

  • If you take the low-maintenance route and choose ivy or pachysandra over grass, you can ornament the expanse with a mini-topiary or two.
  • Turn wire coat hangers into frames in your shape of choice: a circle, a heart, even your child's initials.
  • Anchor the frame in the soil and train strands of the plants to cover it, using clippers to neaten the growth as necessary. Who knew topiary could be so simple?

You'll be the envy of your neighbours when they see how beautiful your lawn is — they'll be knocking on your door and asking for your secret!

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