The Single Best Tip for Getting a Perfect Lawn, According to a Landscaper
Getting a gorgeous lawn is easier than you think with this simple tip.
A gorgeous lawn does more than just make your home look like a million bucks—it can add serious value to your property, too. According to The Lawn Institute, a neatly-maintained lawn can actually increase the sale value of a home by up to 20 percent. However, it takes more than just the occasional mowing and weeding to get gorgeous grass underfoot. In fact, according to top landscape experts, there's a critical element of lawn care that you're probably not performing—but should be—to get the perfect lawn.
So, what's the key to transforming that lawn from patchy to perfect? Landscape experts say the single best way to achieve a healthy and beautiful lawn is to scarify and aerate it every fall.
"Grass roots need air in order to breathe and grow," says Pol Bishop, a gardening and landscaping expert with U.K.-based Fantastic Gardeners. "When the soil is not sandy enough, the roots get less air, resulting in hindered growth." In order to keep this from happening, Bishop recommends scarifying and aerating your lawn each year in September or October.
Bishop explains that "aeration helps stimulate root growth. Newer and stronger roots lead to healthier and more resistant plants." Scarifying—the process of removing other organic material from the grass—improves your lawn's rooting, increases its tolerance against disease, improves oxygen circulation and nutrients in your soil, and keeps dead vegetation, like grass and moss, from causing the healthy grass to deteriorate.
That said, to maintain your grass throughout the year, it's also important to be smart about how close you cut it—and how you feed it between trims.
Though many amateur landscapers avoid trimming their grass too closely when the weather's warm, Bishop says that leaving it long may be a misstep. "Cutting your grass down to size during summer is a perfectly fine thing to do. It's actually recommended," he says. However, Bishop notes that this can also remove essential nutrients from the grass, which will have to be replaced by other means.
Using fertilizer, in addition to regularly mowing and watering, will make your lawn resilient enough to withstand the aeration and scarifying it needs, says Bishop.
"Fertilizers are used to improve plant growth by replenishing the levels of nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus in the soil. They also help when dealing with plants that show signs of nutrient deficiency and can bring them back to their former glory."
While the right fertilizer can give you the nutrient-rich soil you need to keep your lawn healthy, Bishop cautions against overdoing it, recommending that gardeners adhere strictly to what's recommended by the manufacturer. And if you're ready to transform your outdoor space, check out these 20 Genius Ways to Spiff up Your Backyard.