Have you ever thought of learning about DIY yard maintenance? Maybe you do most of the work yourself but want to improve your yard appearance. Either way, we got you covered.
Paying someone to maintain your yard, takes all the work away, for a pretty penny, But really what work is involved? Maintaining your own yard is something you can do. It is a great way to save money every month and won’t require more than an hour of your time each week. Learn how to prevent weeds, grow healthy grass, and maintain a professional look to while saving money and learning new skills yourself.
The first thing you need to know with DIY maintenance is learning how to get rid of weeds. Weeds will always grow, but you want it to be minimal, where you pick a handful each week, and your soil does the rest.
Prevention is key.
First, remove any existing weeds. You can buy tools specific for weeds, or just pull them by hand, but try to dig around the soil to loosen the roots out of the ground. If you pull up only the tops the weed will grow back by the end of the week.
Once weeds are removed spray your yard with weed preventer. I use Scotts Turf Builder, Weed, and Feed. They have a bag called “Clear Out” that will specifically target dandelions and clover. It is granular and is applied with a spreader. A small handheld spreader can be found for $10 at a big box store. Spray a weed preventer such as Preen, on flower beds, and gardens.
Read manufacture instructions to note how often to reapply. You will need to reapply it a few times during your growing season. You can also add several inches of mulch to minimize weeding in the future.
Mowing is pretty straight forward. Make sure your blade is set to about 2 ½” tall. There are arguments on both sides if bagging your grass is better or not. Some say bagging prevents thatch from growing, others say emptying your bag is a big waste of time and energy, because the grass clippings mulch provides nutrients to the solid as they break down, and you reduce the waste in your garbage can. I personally go for the latter. The first mow of the year is usually longer grass, so I do bag it. But every week after that I mow without the bag and allow the clippings to breakdown into the soil. If you mow every week, so the clippings are a manageable size, there is no problem with this. If you are going to mow once a month with you absolutely have to…they you need to do more work and bag the clippings.
Never mow when the grass is wet, the blades will lay down and avoid being trimmed. Also, alternate the direction you mow each week. This encourages the grass to be strong and not get matted down in the same direction.
DETHATCH or AERATE
Dethatching is the process of removing old grass clippings that have become matted on your current grass bed. I personally only dethatch when I see that my current grass is overwhelmed by too much thatch to grow, which is about every 8-10 years.
Yes, you heard me correctly.
If you aerate often and mow at a low setting, you can maintain a healthy yard without having to annually dethatch it.
Aeration is the process of removing cores from your soil. This allows oxygen to get to your roots. I do this every spring and every fall. You can hire this out, or rent the specialized equipment from your hardware store, to do it. The machine looks like a mower, and you simply “mow” your yard as it removes cores and drops them on the top of your grass.
Both of these help both problems you might have in your yard. They both make your yard look horrible right after as well. But after a week it regenerates the grass and gives it a large growth boost.
Some of us are blessed to live in areas where the air is moist enough to water our yards, others live in the desert and require frequent waterings to maintain our lawn. Either way, make sure your garden is getting the watering it needs. Often the duration will change with the temperatures. Midsummer I always need to increase the time I water my yard. Water at night so your soil has time to soak up the water before the sun comes out to try to evaporate it.
We have covered general yard maintenance. If you are seeking a yard that is more hands-off and doesn’t require so much attention, then consider the following tips:
- Plant perennials instead of annuals, and avoid replanting each spring
- Purchase dwarf trees that require less pruning and won’t outgrow their home
- Purchase evergreens, and avoid raking up leaves each fall
- Install hardscape elements such as pathways and patios to eat up the amount of grass you need to maintain, and increase your outdoor living space.
- Consider a xeriscape area, where watering is a thing of the past. Plant succulents, native plants and drought-tolerant plants.
- Install automatic sprinkler systems. If you live in an area you need to water frequently look into having this professionally installed. You can even use B-Hyve to control your sprinklers on your smartphone. I love my B-Hyve
Each year you will need to winterize your yard. You can read THIS ARTICLE for details. Mainly you need to apply fertilizer to your yard, mow it extra short one last time, and aerate the grass.
Perennials can be trimmed back and if need, leaves bagged. Fall is the most intense time of the year for yard maintenance. If you do all these things through when spring is here your grass will come back full and your flower beds will be fuller.
I hope this article helps you. Once you have tools, maintaining my own yard cost me about $20 per year. That is less than some monthly memberships. Put in the work, and do it yourself!
Try these ideas, and save them with this pin for future reference!