The homeowner's guide to tidy lawns

July 27, 2015

With the right tricks and tools, your lawn can be the envy of the neighbourhood. Here's how:

The homeowner's guide to tidy lawns

Pick the right mower for your property

  •  Having the correct lawn mower for your yard can minimize the time and effort you put into mowing.
  • A riding mower is needed only for the largest lawns. Because of the danger of tipping, it's not appropriate for any lawn with steep slopes
  • A push-type power mower is suitable for most lawns. If you have a steep slope or a large lawn. Self-propelled models can make mowing much less demanding.
  • Mulching mowers shred the cut grass and put it back on the lawn, where it becomes mulch for your grass. It saves you the trouble of raking or emptying grass from the mower's gathering bag and reduces the burden on local landfills.

Consider a non-power mower

  • Non-power reel mowers are getting popular with homeowners who are concerned about emissions and noise from power mowers, and who like a good workout.
  • Reel mowers are less hassle to haul out of the garage and present no starting problems.
  • If sharp, the blades make a very clean cut on the grass, which is good for the lawn.
  • If you want to collect the clippings, attachable bags are available.
  • Keep in mind, though, that reel mowers don't work well in thick, tall or wet grass.

How to mow a lawn

Many people cut grass too short, "scalping" the lawn and inviting disease and weed problems. Others mow too seldom. Here's some tips on how to get it just right:

  • Set the lawn mower to the correct height for your grass using the levers near the wheels.
  • Cut often enough so that you never remove more than one-third of the grass blades.
  • You can save time and effort by mowing your lawn in a spiral pattern instead of back and forth. Start from the outside and work inward.
  • Don't mow when a lawn is still damp from heavy dew or rain — it clogs the mower and takes longer to finish.
  • Always wear substantial shoes to protect your feet from cuts when operating a power mower.
  • Wear earplugs to protect against long-term hearing loss.

Equipment for a tidy lawn

The right equipment will keep your lawn looking healthy and neat. In addition to a good mower, your basic lawn-care tool kit should include these items:

  • Grass shears: Basically a a big pair of scissors, these shears are good for small jobs. Short and long-handled versions are available. The blades will last longer and be more useful if you have them sharpened annually.
  • String trimmer: Spinning a nylon string fast enough to slice through weeds and grass, the string trimmer can cut grassy slopes and small lawns. Keep these trimmers away from tree bark and shrubs, which they can damage.
  • Edger: To get that crisp, neat edge between the driveway, sidewalks or flower borders and the lawn, you need a long-handled edger. It cuts a distinct line, which you can fill with an edging material or simply let stand.
  • Portable sprinkler: Driven by water pressure through a garden hose, inexpensive portable sprinklers come in many designs to suit the shape of any garden or lawn.

There's nothing like coming home to a tidy lawn, but most of us dread the work. If you have the right tools and knowhow, though, your lawn could flourish and you can spend more time enjoying it instead of sweating over it.

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