The newest approach to lawn care is a little rough around the edges and much more relaxed. Follow these tips and you can save an estimated 35 hours of yard work this year, cut your water bill, and still enjoy a great-looking yard. You’ll still have to mow, just not as often.
Go for Less Grass and More Garden
Ditch the idea that your lawn has to be a lush green carpet. Your lawn should take up only about 40 percent of the yard, with the rest going to trees, gardens, and hardscapes (paved areas and walkways, as well as features such as fire pits). In the front of the house, use flower beds to flank your home’s entry or edge a walkway. Even less work: Raised beds filled with compost-rich soil are a great alternative to in-ground gardens. And because they’re better at retaining moisture, they can be watered less frequently.
Feed Your Lawn
Mulch grass clippings instead of bagging and tossing them. You’ll not only deposit nutrients back into the soil but also skip the tedious task of bagging, which can save you up to 15 hours per year. Compost is another natural lawn food; apply a quarter-inch to your lawn once or twice each year.
Chill out and enjoy a shaggier look
Don’t be tempted to cut the grass too short, thinking that you won’t have to mow as frequently. A scalped lawn results in weak, shallow roots, so let your grass grow to about 4½ inches before cutting it down to about 3 inches. That approach will help cut mowing frequency by about 25 percent—or about 10 hours in a year.
Be Stingy with Water
A healthy lawn needs only about an inch of water per week, including rainfall. So instead of dousing your grass with a daily watering, give it a thorough weekly soak. And during hot, dry spells, don’t be afraid to let the lawn turn brown. The color change simply indicates that it’s entering a dormant state to conserve nutrients; it will turn green again. But don’t wait until it starts to look like straw to give it some water. Get that sprinkler going— a hard, straw-like consistency means the grass is dying.
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