My lawn looks terrible! Dandelions, clover, bare patches. My neighbors, on the other hand, have beautiful lawns (but are sprayed). I don't want to spray and my husband wants it to look nice and not spend any money (of course). I found this site from Lazy, Cheap Lawn Care and love these tips. We had been mowing low, but we will start mowing high. We have no topsoil, but I'm unsure how to add since our backyard is very sloped and I think it would just wash away. We also have two different problems--front yard flat with full morning sun, backyard sloped with lots of shade. We have very sparse grass in the back. What can we do in the spring to make huge differences?? It seems like a lot of work needs to be done in the fall, but I'm never thinking of the lawn at that point. Then spring hits and I'm thinking--oh no---it looks terrible, what do we do??? We live in Arkansas. Thanks for any advice.
I think it's a little late where you are now, but next spring you might start doing corn gluten applications. It's an organic weed and feed which (when applied at the right time) can set back the winter weeds before they overwhelm your grass. It's also a good source of nitrogen for the lawn.
When you say sloped, how sloped are you talking about?
You could also follow my route of putting in lots of 'flower' beds so there's much less lawn to worry about. Keeping a few flowers in bloom at all times goes a long way to distract neighbors from the grass. But getting that started involves a lot of labor, and if you don't have a good free resource stream you can quickly break the bank.
You say the back is shaded. You might consider crown lifting some of the trees, or thinning the upper branches to let more light in. It has helped with some of our problem areas, and makes it more accessible too.
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you will definitly give a chance to your lawn by mowing it higher. You should consider seeding in your backyard and choose seeds that are made especially for shaded areas. It might be a good idea to aerate your lawn before seeding, it'll be a good think for root development. I know you mentioned you didn't want to spend money on it, but fertilizing will help your lawn stay healthy and again will help roots.
If you need more infos, you might want to consider reading a few posts on mowing your lawn, fertilizing and overseeding here: www.thegreengrass.ca
My advice is to just let it go. Fuck lawns. I hear a lot of people defending lawns saying they use it for activities, but then they spend about 1 percent of the year doing that, if ever. That's not worth the effort and pollution. Unless you play a sport involving grass why have a lawn? I spend a lot of time observing wild flowers in my "worst lawn in the neighborhood", and since I live in the United States I am subject to absurd Puritan laws regarding my property and its care. I've taken a policy of don't cut it until it breaks the law. We inherited a real solid line of BS from the past.
Good luck with your slice of this earth, you can nurture life on it or create mass death, it's up to you!
I attached a picture from a google image search of an example of what a typical lawn could look like within a season if hit with the appropriate seeds. Are there seriously people in HOAs who would look at that view and have a problem with it?
One huge plus regarding seeding winter wheat over a lawn is that since it is edible by humans, it is excluded from height requirements in my municipality. Even if I was having issues with the departments of sadness, I can always defend my position, which is a must since I keep it legal.
Best way to ruin a perfectly fine turf lawn is overseed winter wheat in the fall. It thrives through winter and is up blocking sun from hitting the grass by the time the grass wakes up in the spring. What a lovely sight, the waving wheat sure smells sweet. Its even better to also add clovers, poppies, and whatever else. They get through and offer colorful beauty long before "lawn care season" is in full swing. By the end of the winter, my eyes are thirsty for that color.
Jason... Yes there are people who do not see beauty when they see life in a free form like that image. They see beauty when poison and death have been used in the area, creating a bug-less mono-culture. Its hard to understand why.
Cob is sand, clay and sometimes straw. This tiny ad is made of cob:
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