Lawn Maintenance Checklist for First-time Homeowners
FEBRUARY 01 2022 /
Lawn Maintenance Checklist for First-time Homeowners
What Every First-Time Homeowner Needs for Lawn Maintenance
First-time homebuyer, huh? How exciting! This newfound ownership and responsibility is a thrilling feeling. Just think of all the things you can do to make your home your very own: renovations, redecorating, lawn maintenance — wait, lawn maintenance? Whether you just moved out of your parents’ house or you’ve been a renter up until now, you’ve probably never had to take care of a yard before, and don’t know much about lawn care. And that’s okay!. To make things easier on you, we’ve put together a comprehensive checklist for first-time homeowners who may not know much about lawn maintenance: what to do, when to do it, and how to do it.
What You’ll Need for Lawn Maintenance
First things first, you need to assess your inventory. You can’t get started until you have the right tools to work with!
1. Quality Lawn Mower
A reliable lawn mower is one of the most important things you need to maintain a healthy lawn, and luckily there’s plenty of options to choose from. Whether you choose gas-powered or battery-powered, push or riding mower, make sure that you’re buying a quality piece of machinery. The last thing you want is to spend a decent chunk of change on a mower only for it to break down after a couple of years of use. We recommend a mulching mower, or a type of mower that chops up the grass trimmings and shoots it back out onto the lawn. Not only are these great for people who don’t know where to dispose of the clippings, but the recycled grass also acts as a great fertilizer. The shredder in the mower cuts the blades into pieces small enough that they won’t smother the growing grass and they’ll add nutrients back into the soil. Bonus — this also cuts your cleanup and fertilizing workloads in half!
2. String Trimmer
These handheld, motor-powered blades are designed to trim those parts of the lawn where your mower just can’t fit: the edge of your driveway, around large trees and their roots, or near the flowerbed. String trimmers are the perfect tool for touching up those hard-to-reach areas that need a little more attention than the rest of the lawn.
3. Hose or Sprinkler
Bottom line — your lawn needs water to survive. Basic garden hoses are pretty cheap and can be found at any home improvement store, but make sure you’re not missing any parts of the lawn if you’re going to water manually. For a more automatic, widespread watering system, consider installing a sprinkler system. These can be set with a timer to water the yard on a set schedule and are great at providing coverage for larger properties. For more information on sprinklers and installation, check out our blog, DIY: The Perfect Sprinkler Rotation.
4. Rakes or Leaf Blowers
When fall comes around, you’re going to be glad you have a rake or a leaf blower, if not both! Even if you don’t have many trees in your yard, your neighbors might, and falling leaves can blow right on over to your immaculate lawn. To easily remove the falling invaders, invest in a rake or leaf blower as soon as you can. If you’d like some extra tips on fall lawn care maintenance, check out How to Make Leaf Cleanup Easy This Fall.
5. Fertilizer and Fertilizer Spreader
Over time, your lawn will lose some of its nutrients because of factors like water runoff or heavy foot traffic. Fertilizing your lawn will help restore these nutrients, as well as protect your grass from diseases, prevent weeds, and boost root growth. Purchasing nitrogen-rich fertilizer and a fertilizer spreader for application will do wonders for the health of your grass!
What to Do and When to Do It
Now that you’ve gathered all the tools you’ll need, you’re ready to get started on lawn care maintenance. Here are a few lawn maintenance practices that every first-time homeowner should know about:
Lawn aeration is the process of puncturing the lawn with small holes to help it “breathe” by removing buildup and loosening the soil. The holes throughout the yard help it open up, allowing fresh air and water to reach the roots more easily. We recommend aerating once per year in the fall to give your lawn a nutrient boost before it goes dormant in the winter. To make the aeration process easier on you, we suggest renting a mechanical core aerator, a machine that punctures the soil to create these holes as you push it along. It’s faster than poking each individual hole yourself and these can be found at home improvement stores, making them a very convenient option. Or, you may decide to hire a professional lawn care provider to aerate your lawn for you!For a thorough explanation of lawn aeration and how to do it, check out our blog, Back to the Basics: Understanding the Importance of Aeration.
Remember that fertilizer and fertilizer spreader we talked about earlier? It’s time to pull them out of the shed! As stated previously, fertilizing protects your lawn from diseases, prevents weeds, and boosts the growth of grass and roots. We recommend fertilizing once per season (four times a year) so that your lawn maintains the level of nutrients it needs to thrive all year long. Since you’re new to the property, you might not know what kind of soil you’re working with. Before fertilizing, test a sample of the soil to measure the amount of nutrients, acidity, and other composition levels. Once you’ve analyzed the sample, determine what fertilizer is right for your lawn based on its needs. For a detailed description of fertilizing steps read our blog, The Dos and Don'ts of Fertilizing Your Lawn.
3. Applying Pre-emergent and Post-emergent
If you’re new to the lawn maintenance game, you’re going to want to learn all about herbicides. Pre-emergents help to eliminate weeds at the root and prevent them from sprouting, while post-emergents treat weeds that have already grown in your yard. Spraying these on your lawn not only improves the overall look, it also saves you a lot of time and energy spent pulling weeds. We recommend spraying pre-emergent in the winter so that your lawn is prepared to fight weeds from growing in the spring, while you should use post-emergent in the spring to prevent existing weeds from spreading throughout the summer. And if you’re finding that lawn maintenance just isn’t for you, schedule a service. We’d be happy to help!
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