The secret to mowing your way to a beautiful lawn is mowing less, but not in the way you might think. Many homeowners believe that if they delay mowing until grass is overly long and then scalp it, they won’t need to mow again soon. That type of mowing will slowly kill your lawn. The secret to a healthy lawn with the least amount of cutting? Mow to maintain a consistent height throughout the growing season, the ideal height for your type of turf (learn that from your local extension office). Never remove more than one-third of a grass blade’s length at each mowing, and let clippings lie. In combination, these practices can help you tend a lush, low-maintenance lawn.
Liriope is an easy alternative to an unhealthy hellstrip lawn because it needs no mowing, feeding or watering in much of the country, says Evelyn J. Hadden, author of "Hellstrip Gardening" (April 2014, Timber Press).
Also known as oxalis, this is a versatile weed that grows in sun or shade, moist or dry soil. It’s a clover look-alike, with heart shape leaves and yellow flowers. Blooms fade to form upright seed pods that explode when ripe, flinging seeds away from the mother plant. It also roots from stem pieces. It’s happy to grow in lawns, planting beds, gravel drives or vegetable garden paths. Oxalis is a common weed in nursery pots, so be sure to check before adding plants to your landscape. The best way to beat it in the lawn is to mow high and fertilize to grow a healthy, thick lawn. In planting beds, carefully hand-pull or spray with herbicide.
This yard, designed by Cory Jorgensen, shows off the brilliant color of healthy grass and shrubs. The lawn is cut short accentuating the levels created by the plants and tree line. Concrete stepping stones wind down the slope of the yard and hug the edges of the decorative plants.
This Spanish Revival redesign has great curb appeal with its winding brick walkway and bright lipstick-red front door. Prior to the remodel, most of the exterior was covered by bushes, which were replaced with a healthier slow-growing variety of flowering plants and lawn.
The nightmare of dandelions is the deep taproot (up to 15 feet long) and puffball seedhead, which disperses seeds on every breeze. The best defense against dandelions in the lawn is growing thick, healthy turf, which means mowing at the right height and fertilizing correctly. In planting beds and paths, these familiar weeds tend to show up in the worst places, such as rooted in the center of a perennial clump or tucked right in the edge row of paving stones. The best ways to get rid of dandelions? Spray them or dig them. When spraying, kick dandelions a bit first to scuff and wound the leaves—it helps the spray penetrate better. With digging, make sure you get at least 2 inches of taproot or they’ll return as two plants.