Basic Lawn Care For The New Home Owner

First home, first yard

When my husband and I were shopping around for our first house, older, and wiser friends told us to look for a home that had an established yard. But we were young and didn’t listen. The home of our dreams had just been built, and stood on an acre of rocky, empty, dirt.

We had saved for the down payment and made sure we could meet the mortgage payments, but had neglected to take into consideration the costs of not only putting in the lawn, but the tools that would be needed to care for it!

Longing for green grass

A beautiful, well cared for lawn is more than just a cosmetic feature. It also serves a very valuable purpose! With two little boys, our yard of rocky dirt made for a very dirty kitchen. Doors opened from the kitchen to the back yard, and my little ones loved to play outside in the fresh air. But without a lawn, I had a lot of dirt, mud, and rocks getting tracked (and carried) into the house.

It took us a couple of years to save up enough money to put in the lawn, but when were finally able to begin, it was a very exciting day.

Putting in the lawn

For us, putting in the lawn was more than simply scattering grass seed around. Our home was built on what used to be a very large alfalfa field. Years of farming and erosion had left us with nothing but rocky, hard-packed dirt. Our first step was to bring in several truck loads of top soil.

installing a lawn Top soil delivery to level out yard in preparation for lawn seeding.

Next, we rented a back hoe to help us spread the top soil around the yard. We hired a neighbor who owned a sprinkler company to come put in an automatic sprinkler system, and then had to spread out the top soil and even out the furrows he dug.

Finally we were ready to plant grass seed! With such a large yard, we opted for hydroseeding.

Watching the grass grow

Having had cleaned up enough muddy footprints to last a lifetime, I was so happy to watch that green grass grow. It only took about a week before the funny, unnatural color of the hydroseeding slurry started to take on the bright green color of brand new, baby grass.

Three and a half weeks later, we realized we were going to have to buy a lawn mower!

Basic lawn care

First we needed to decide on the type of lawn mower to buy. The size of our yard came into play here. We had an acre in grass, and that meant an extension cord for an electric mower would be impractical. We also thought pushing a heavier battery powered mower would get old on such a large area. Though we’d eventually get a ‘ride-on’ lawn mower, our budget dictated that we start with a push mower. So a good old gas powered model was what we ended up with.

Next we needed a spreader. There were hand powered crank models, or the type that looked a bit more like wagons that would churn out the fertilizer as we rolled the walked it across the lawn. Again, the size of our lawn helped guide the decision making process here. We went with the wagon-style “walk behind” type fertilizer spreader.

As the years passed, we had to start battling weeds. Since we still have little children, lots of pets, chickens, and goats — we wanted to avoid strong chemicals. We found purchasing a high acid white vinegar online (the stuff in the grocery stores is too weak) and using it to spray on the weeds is very effective.

Once we had the right tools, we were able to take care of our new lawn properly. Your fertilizing schedule might be different than ours, as we have long winters and short summers, but we fertilize in the spring, which for us, is in early June — the snow sometimes doesn’t melt until late May. Then, we fertilize again in the fall, around the middle to end of September, before the first snow fall in October.

Once you get the hang of it, lawn care isn’t too much of a hassle. Especially now that those little boys of ours have grown up and are able to help!

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