The difference between a “green thumb” and a “black thumb” is often less about the individual and more about the products they are using to care for their lawns. Even would-be gardeners who claim “every plant I touch dies!” can turn their lawn care luck around once they know the right tools and products to use.
Before you start to plant flower beds, design shade gardens or sketch out ivy-covered arbors in your dream landscape plan, you will want to first get your basic lawn (grass) in good shape. Once you have that lush lawn as a “base,” you can certainly start to get more adventurous in your gardening pursuits.
Getting to Know Your Grass
Perhaps you have recently moved into a new home and have the previous owner’s lawn to work with, or you have relocated to a new part of the country with a climate you are still learning. Getting to know your grass—and your soil—will be key to determining the lawn care products you need.
Chances are you have one of six types of low-maintenance grass: Bermudagrass, Zoysia, Fescuegrass, Buffalo grass, or St. Augustine. These are all popular as they are drought-tolerant or drought-resistant and stand up well to heavy foot traffic.
If in doubt, take a picture or sample down to your local lawn care store, and they should be able to tell you which type you have (and get you started on the right products for your region).
Lawn Care Essentials for Every Yard
No matter what type of grass you have, there are some basic products and tools you will need to keep your lawn looking great. The right equipment is crucial to success in most household undertakings, and lawn care is no exception. If you try to care for a yard without the proper tools, you will inevitably wind up frustrated (with brown grass or a lawn covered in weeds to boot).
Investing in the right tools and products will pay off in the long run, and you do not have to break the bank to have an impressive lawn. With a little bit of know-how and shopping for the right products, a beautiful lawn can be achieved with a reasonable budget.
Essential #1: A Lawn Mower
A good mower is your yard’s best friend, and you do not need a ton of bells and whistles to keep your lawn looking lush. You just want a model that is easy to push and gets the job done. Battery-powered models (versus gas mowers) make it easier for those who want to “go green” while keeping their yards green.
With a fully charged battery, you should be able to mow for around one hour, and while the battery models are more expensive than gas, there are now some options for under $300. Customer reviews are a great way to narrow down the choices among mowers, along with the size of your yard.
Essential #2: Weed Trimmer
Weeds are an unfortunate reality in lawn care: even the best lawns have them. While you may never be able to get rid of them entirely, there is a lot you can do to keep them from growing and spreading.
A good weed trimmer (which you have also heard of as a string trimmer or weed whacker) is a handheld tool devised in the 1970s that no lawn crew works without today. They are indispensable when it comes to getting rid of unwanted overgrowth and also for edging.
Ask anyone who has ever spent their days pulling weeds by hand: weed control is not a job for the faint of heart. You would much rather have the help of a weed trimmer, and luckily there are plenty of battery-powered options to “keep it green.”
Essential #3: Hose and Sprinkler
A good garden hose is an area where you should definitely not skimp: you want a heavy-duty hose that can stand up to wear and tear. After all, in addition to watering your lawn and plants, you will likely use the hose for other household projects, from cleaning your driveway to washing windows or perhaps forcing the kids to put down the screens and wash your car on a nice sunny day!
A sprinkler attachment for your hose will enable you to keep your lawn watered and looking lush if you do not have a built-in underground system.
Essential #4: Lawn Fertilizer and Additional Lawn Care
When choosing fertilizer and other lawn care products, you will want to refer back to the specific type of grass on your lawn as well as your soil and local climate. Your local garden store will be able to give you some direction in this area.
Lawn fertilizer and a lawn maintenance and care plan are going to make a big difference in the way your yard looks; you can opt to hire a professional service to take care of this for you, or you can do it on your own (but be sure to do your research first!)
Other Products to Consider
While we have given you a look at some of the essentials you need to take care of your lawn, there are a number of other items you may want to purchase to make your lawn care work easier and—dare we say it—more enjoyable!
Leaf Blower: if you have ever experienced blisters from raking leaves, you probably understand why many people opt to blow the leaves rather than rake them. A good blower makes leaf clean up (as well as other yard debris clean up) quicker and easier.
Garden Gloves: Speaking of blisters, gloves are incredibly important when it comes to yard work. Not only do gloves protect your hands from blisters, but they could also save you from a case of poison ivy as well.
Kneeling Pads: These kneeling pads are great for weed pulling and other tasks in and around your lawn and garden.
SprinklerTimer: For those who are easily distracted, a sprinkler timer is a great tool to keep your watering on track.