The Secrets to a Stunning Lawn – From Planting to Maintenance

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First, I will assume that your lawn is your most extensive garden. It’s unlikely that you’ve ever considered your lawn a plant, yet it consists of many plants collaborating to survive in rugged environments.

Almost 90% of properties have a lawn, with an average lawn size of 1/5 of an acre, or 8712 square feet. That’s a fantastic chance to boost not just the aesthetic appeal but also the resale value of your house.

Many of us, unfortunately, go through the motions when it comes to lawn care, treating it more like a duty or a waste of a few hours on the weekend than the opportunity for artistic expression that it truly is.

The irony is that no matter what you do, your lawn will continue to expand, and you will need to tend to it at some point. Spend the time wisely by giving it the minimal care it needs, and you’ll be amazed at how rapidly it improves.

Advice from the Pros

Accurately measuring your lawn’s square footage is helpful for several reasons.

Using granular fertilizer will result in healthier grass with better coverage and outcomes.

Ideally, fertilizer should be applied just before a prolonged, steady rain.

Crabgrass pre-emergent should be used the second week of April, not March; a high rate should be used.

Keep fertilizer on your lawn and not on the sidewalks or roads.

– spray the areas where weeds are growing, saving water and chemicals.

Weed spray works best on tall grass, so wait to mow for two days before and after using it.

A PH of 7 is ideal, but anything between 5.5 and 6.5 is a solid starting point.

Fertilizers with low or no phosphorus (the second number on the package); most soils already contain enough phosphorus

Mower blades should be raised to their most remarkable possible setting, often between 3″ and 3.5″.

– check mower blade height on level ground to make sure it’s adjusted properly

Mower blades should be sharpened once a month; doing so takes 15 minutes but has a tremendous impact.

Mow once weekly; switch directions every three weeks if you’re using a large, heavy mower.

– Mow without a bag to save time, recycle fertilizer, and prevent thatch.

Mow the lawn first and then weed eat to save time and effort.

– keep weeds at the same height as the lawn, and finish like a pro

Grass cuttings should be left on the grass, not on mulch beds or in the street, for a more straightforward cleanup.

Apply lime in late August/early September when aerating and seeding to increase the pH.

Please begin. For your convenience, I’ve included a month-by-month breakdown of my routine maintenance on my commercial property.

Use this to control cool-season grasses, including Tall Fescue, Blue Grass, and Rye Grass. April, May, and early June, as well as September and October, when temperatures are lower, are peak growth months for these plants. Mid-Atlantic and northern parts of the United States are typical habitats for cool-season grasses.

Mow as directed; however, warm-season grasses like Zoysia, Bahia, Bermuda, Centipede, etc., require different fertilizers and pest sprays and may require more frequent mowing if you reside in a warmer climate or the Southern States.


Preparing the mower by replacing the oil, spark plug, and blades

The optimal cutting height for lawnmowers is between three and three and a half inches.

– remove all dead leaves and branches from the grass


Schedule your application of a combo fertilizer/crabgrass pre-emergent for the 10th-15th, immediately before it’s expected to rain, at the maximum rate recommended on the bag for effective crabgrass control.

– use a broadleaf weed killer, such as Ortho or Spectracide, to spot-treat weeds in the turf. Usually only effective on weeds, not grass, as stated on the label. Before using, check the label.

– mow as much as three times in April, beginning around the middle of the month


The grass should be greener and thicker after applying fertilizer. Begin with weekly mowing and maintain a high cutting height and sharp blades. Avoid bagging the grass.

It’s incredible what a difference weekly weed eating and edging can make on sidewalks and curbs.


– Keep up with weekly mowing, weeding, and curb/walkway edging

– Use an insecticide fertilizer to combat grubs (Japanese beetle larvae) in the second or third week. If possible, reschedule for just before it starts to rain. Imidacloprid is an effective insecticide that you should look for. New larvae, which feed in late August/September and severely harm your grass, will be eliminated by this chemical as it makes its way slowly through the plant. This won’t prevent mature Beetles from appearing in June/July.

– use a broadleaf weed killer to spot-treat weeds in the turf. Before using, check the label.


Maintain a high mowing height and sharp blades, and continue cutting grass as needed; the cutting frequency will depend on weather conditions. You shouldn’t mow if the grass is dead and brown.

– Weed the walkways and curbs and edge them


Keep the cutting height high and the blades sharp; mow as often as necessary; climate will again determine the frequency. Do not cut the grass if it is dry and not growing.

– Weed the walkways and curbs and edge them

Aerate and overseed your grass the last week of August. Aerating is most effective when the soil is damp enough that the machine’s tines can reach a depth of at least 2 inches. Aeration is best performed after a prolonged, steady rain, so watch the forecast. If the soil is already dry and hard, there’s no point in aerating it.

If your lawn is in good form, with 75% or more existing grass coverage, you can skip the pre-treatment and distribute the seed (I recommend a Tall Fescue mix) over the aeration holes. If weeding has exposed large sections of soil, you can spread the seed over the area with a cultivator or stiff rake and then lightly rake the dirt over the grain with an upside-down leaf rake. You can also use a thin coating of land to protect the source.

The optimal time to incorporate Lime into your soil is during the aeration and seeding process. Apply 15 pounds of Lime per 1,000 square feet of lawn. The pellets can reach the root zone through the aeration holes, where they can be most effective.


Maintain a high mowing height and sharp blades when you return to weekly mowing at the month’s end.

– Weed the walkways and curbs and edge them

Apply 1 pound of Nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of lawn during the last week of September.


Maintain a high mowing height and sharp blades by maintaining weekly mowing. Mowing size gradually decreased from 3.5 inches in the last two weeks of October to 3.25 inches in the final mow.

– Weed the walkways and curbs and edge them

– use a broadleaf weed killer to spot-treat weeds in the turf. Spraying for weeds should wait until the new seeds have had a chance to grow for at least six weeks.


Keep your final mow height at 3 inches regardless of how often you have to do it by the end of the season. With the grass cut shorter, raking leaves is a breeze, and the yard will remain tidy all winter. All that’s left to do is weed eat and edge the walkways and curbs.

The above timetable indicates that you may be expected to perform additional duties than in the past. Still, besides a few extra hours to fertilize and spray, you will likely spend this time.

Think of turf maintenance in terms of “the more you do, the less you do” moving forward. Maintaining a routine will result in thicker, more aesthetically pleasing grass with less time, money, and potentially harmful chemical use.

Remember that you’re responsible for maintaining the one planting that takes up 90% of your property and that your lawn sends a subtle but clear message to anybody who walks by.

The grass is knowledge. Create it!


Wessel, Todd

Expert Gardener with a Degree in Horticulture

Professionally Trained Landscapers

Applicator of Pesticides in the State of Maryland

Originally published at

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