Emily Winters: Quick Lawn Care Tips

I can’t claim to be a landscaping professional, not even close, but I’m learning things as I go. This month marks the beginning of the 4th summer spent in my house, a little American Foursquare on a modest 1/10-acre lot in Rochester, NY, and every year I try to take to make the property a little more defined, a little more personalized. It’s hard. I have wild pipe dreams about owning more sizable property someday, so I’m taking this small property as an opportunity to learn some of the basics. It was rough when I moved in, and parts of it would undoubtedly be eligible for a Desperate Landscapes renovation, but keep on reading to see some of the simple tips I’ve been employing to improve the property simply and easily.

Reseeding grass.1. I fill in bare patches. A lot. I have a dog, a dog who not only does business outside but also has his little routine running loops which wear the grass down over time. To keep the grass lush and avoid muddy bare spots, we’ve gotten into the habit of reseeding pretty regularly with a store-bought sun-shade mix for my accurately defined sun-shade lot, especially getting on out there to sprinkle seeds before a spring or summertime rainstorm is about to strike. So far, it’s helped to keep bare patches consumed, and especially this time of year, seeding helps to quickly anchor new growth.

Leaves covering ground.2. Fact: When the leaves fall every autumn, I don’t clean up every last one. Especially in the gardening beds, I let them accumulate to serve as nature’s little insulation, protecting plants from the sometimes harsh NY (zone 5) winters. It admittedly makes the gardens look pretty tired as springtime rolls in, but whatever remains in the beds I rake free or fold in as a mulching agent, rendering the underlaying soil rich. The plants remain healthy and thrive, sometimes even popping through the leaves where I haven’t yet raked. These little yellow guys are the first flowers that appear in my yard every year. What are they? Anyways, something as easy as raking trashed leaves off your garden is a quick way to make the property look fresh with all of the popping plants in springtime.



Sharpen your mower blade.3. We clean up and sharpen the lawn mower blade. We, meaning Pete because he’s radically precise, but I’ve tried my hand at it too. The mower itself was something we salvaged for free, so it is ragged out and rusty, but because Pete repaired a filter and made it work again, sharpening the blade is an easy springtime to-do to keep the grass blades cut cleanly allowing our bargain find last us one more season. You can take your blade (or the whole mower) into a shop for spring maintenance easily enough, but also consider saving yourself a few dollars and doing those updates with a Dremel tool or a bench grinder.

New tree planted in the front yard. 4. It’s getting to a point where now, depending on the plant’s behavior, it may be better to wait for fall, but we do like to transplant in the springtime. For instance, toss some raspberry plants in the ground and by this time next year, you’ll not only have fruit, but you’ll see mass expansion and growth. Our berries are popping up through the lawn 15-feet from the actual garden bed this spring, it’s a little extreme. We did a lot of planting last fall which took a lot of pressure of our spring to-do list, but we were able to have a new tree planted to enhance the curb appeal a few weeks ago.






String trimming edges of the yard.5. Edging a garden really cleans up the looks of things. Whether or not there’s a formal border delineating the garden from the grass or not, those stray blades of grass that pop up just out of reach of your mower along fences, garden beds, and sidewalks are easy to take care of if you have a simple string trimmer. I don’t use it every week, but every 2-3 weeks it’s nice to clean up rough edges with a quick pass. And it’s good for instantly improving the edges along the driveway and sidewalk too. Just as satisfying as having your split ends cleaned up.


Of course, there are lots of springtime to-do’s that I’m not mentioning, things like fertilizing, endless weeding, and mulching. What do you do to maintain your landscape in the springtime?

Catching the home improvement bug at an early age, Emily Winters is a now a devoted DIYer living in Rochester, NY. The projects she covers on her blog Merrypad range from painting a wall to building a deck, so it’s only natural she landed at DIYNetwork.com. You can follow Emily on twitter at @merrypad and like her on facebook at facebook.com/merrypad.

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  6. mercedespotter says:

    I really enjoyed reading your blog posts and your ambition for DIY and home improvement is commendable. I especially like this post in particular because my lawn is in need of a little TLC. I've been taking on a lot of projects lately and it all started with re-furnishing my patio for summer entertainment, organizing the garage for winter storage and installing a cool roof because where I live the summer are scorching. My garden has missed the action but I will implement these tips when it cools down outside. Next year I'm sure I'll see a better lawn, thanks again for the tips!

  7. KC Power Equipment says:

    Very useful and interesting tips! I'll be sure to utilize this list in the near future. Thank you for posting and I look forward to more!

  8. Turf Solutions says:

    Very nice tips! Hopefully people will be able to use and utilize these tips to provide them with the proper knowledge they need to obtain that wonderful perfect lawn they’re looking for this summer!

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  10. bernice dorn says:

    A few years ago, I began spreading the grass clippings I picked up around my trees in a nice circle.Now when I mulch around them,I only need enough mulch to top dress around the trees.Saves a lot of money and mulch!

  11. [...] via: Emily Winters: Quick Lawn Care Tips Category: Home Tags: Care, Emily, Lawn, Quick, Tips, [...]

  12. [...] post: Emily Winters: Quick Lawn Care Tips | The … – DIY Network Blogs ← Landscaping Ideas.Huge Landscaping Ideas and Designs-More Than [...]

  13. [...] I preface this with a very upfront “I’m No Landscaper” disclosure, but my little 1/10th-acre lot is a great place to start learning the landscaping essentials without getting totally, whole-heartedly, and robustly overwhelmed. I can mow the whole yard 20 minutes flat, I can drop $20 and have the whole front yard sufficiently mulched, and I’ve been able to keep up with other regular upkeep by workin’ the 5 tips that I outline in today’s post on DIY Network. [...]


About Emily Fazio 


I caught the home improvement bug at an early age, and now I'm a full-time DIYer living in Rochester, NY. The projects I cover on my blog Merrypad range ...

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