exterior shot of a home with a green lawn

That Yard of Yours. Keep it green for less!

By: Steve Hembree
April 5, 2022  | 

Now that we are emerging from winter and entering spring (with summer blistering behind it, in a real sense and allegorically... recall last year's 15 minutes of spring?), the time has come to think green as in green grass. Allow me to expand.

It's a yearly thing

Every year after the downpours let up, we will see lethargic Bermuda grass and brown yards not being watered consistently. I've done it myself, switched off my yard timers, and killed my yard. So, in this article, I will give a few hints greening it all up.

The picture above I took from a video of a property we recently rehabbed. The greener grass further away is the neighbor's yard. The nearer grass is on a property an occupant just moved out. Since I was at this site a couple of days before, I noticed that the neighbor's grass looked awesome! I was likewise a little envious that it looked so much better than our own. Taking everything into account, we requested a seed and cover of our yard to get it to a similar level.

What the neighbor did was highly savvy, and it is by and large the thing we ask our gardeners do: add Rye seed not long before winter, blend half with Tall Fescue. That gives a decent green, lavish yard without fail. It's green in winter utilizing the Rye, and it's green in the hotness with the Tall Fescue. There isn't anything alluring about lethargic Bermuda or St. Augustine grass.

It's About Home

Whenever you lease or purchase a home, it ought to be simply home. Yet while you are leasing a home, you are paying for maybe it was your own, and you should focus on it the same way, as though it were yours. From your outlook, perspective, it is. You celebrate occasions there. Birthday celebrations. Graduations, all of life's occasions include the home.

The yard is vital for that home, and it's the last thing you see when you leave for the day and the main thing you see when you get back. Furthermore, in all honesty, what that represents, in all actuality, does a lot mentally for you.

Very much like a mess in the home can (in a real sense and metaphorically) make you distraught, the climate you live in can as well, regardless of whether it's your yard. Presently we're not recommending adding a feng shui garden and such, yet a well-kept and tended yard can, and will, demonstrate an emollient against the furies of the world out there when you pull up to your home.

Something to think about...

Have you ever noticed neighborhoods with vehicles left on dead yards will, in general, connect with other terrible ways of behaving? Hand in hand. I composed a blog a couple of months back about how one property owner invested heavily in tidying up a property and how that can (and does) bring about different properties "staying aware of the Smiths." It begins with the front yard.

Nourishment for Grass

Your grass is a Carbon Dioxide Sequestering Machine. Grass takes in carbon dioxide, blends that in with daylight and water to develop, and in the process breathes out oxygen. Try to keep your hat on, the soil does absolutely no part of this! Neither does rocks!

Check this from the University of Minnesota

In this way, not exclusively is your grass great for your general sensation of prosperity, assuming it is being kept up. It is additionally significant for the climate!

In any case, grass likewise needs food. You want to take care of it. About twice a year, you want to throw down some manure. My unanimous top choice is steer manure. Potential gain, it's modest and compelling, disadvantage, it doesn't smell very good for two or three days, and during that time, it draws flies. In general, it will have clover seeds and a few weed seeds in it.

For what reason do I like it then? Each time you cut your grass, you're stripping away biomass. Much of that is sequestered (put away) carbon, yet a considerable bit of the clippings are nutrients the dirt supplied.

How to Green it Up and What does that cost?

All valid questions, but first, let me point something out:

If you cut the water off to your sprinklers thinking you are saving money, I can tell you this: you are not saving anything near what you think you are. I have an average amount of grass at my house. As an experiment a few years ago, I cut my water off to see what I saved. $10. Ten. Not only did I save almost nothing, but the following year I was dinged by the water district for wasteful usage because they use year-to-year compassions to determine your use and rate. So, that was like $20 more; on top of that, I killed my yard by cutting off my water. I had to replant my yard to the tune of nearly $200 in seed and soil. I experimented with a few different kinds of grass, and that's the only reason it was so much. I could have seeded with ordinary seed and soil for about $50. In short, the experiment was not worth it. I won't do that again.

So, the cost

A large bag of Tall Fescue mix is about $29, covering 1750 sq. ft for a new lawn. That's pretty cheap.

A bag of manure is under $2, and seriously, you're participating in recycling oddly. That same 1750 sq ft lawn should take about ten bags to fertilize to cover the seed. So, $20.

Spread the seed, cover with the steer leavings, tamp it down (I walk on it all); now what?

WATER IT! Many people mistakenly believe that you can only apply manure in cool seasons, and that is partly true because the nitrates in the fertilizer will burn the surrounding grass when it's hot out if you don't do it right. It can burn the existing grass even when it's not so hot. What to do, what to do?...

Well, first of all, those nitrates in the fertilizer are doing you no good sitting on the surface. It would be best to have those nitrates in the soil, stat, which requires watering that new soil and seed fairly heavily to wash it in, not so much that it washes away, but just enough to penetrate the underlying soil. The side benefit? The water will tone down the manure smell.

In about ten days, you'll notice the fertilizer rising and cracking. That is your new grass popping up, so say howdy!

The water cost

Over the first ten days, you must keep that manure moist, which means you have to water it twice a day. You'd have to do this with sod too. Until the grass matures over the coming weeks, you must water daily. Realistically, once you have the lawn established, you can slowly dial back the amount of water you throw the amount of time, but do keep it watering twice a day daily. The goal is to train the roots to run deep.

Long Term Care

So, now you've done all this work to plant a yard. The process of fertilizing with manure (or whatever you like to use) twice a year still holds true, but once I have established a yard, I usually drop some Weed & Feed twice a year. It keeps my yard green and kills off weeds and clovers. As I mentioned above, manure tends to have a little of each, so you will face these at some point.

How's That Water Doing?

I HIGHLY recommend testing your sprinkler system once every two weeks. I try to do mine weekly, but let's face it, shiny things exist in this work of ours.

By testing your sprinklers system manually for a minute, a station, you will spot potential problems. Sprinkler shooting in the wrong direction and into the street. That's money lost; correct it! Valve is not coming on. You will have a dead sector.

Honestly, I usually find at least one issue. Usually, it's a dribbling head. Do you know what that means? Debris has clogged the filter basket behind the head. Unscrew the nozzle, pluck out the filter basket, blow on it opposite of the water flow, put it back together, and (usually) presto.

Last Word of Advice

Each time you test run your sprinklers, look for leaks and bad aims. Those are what cost you money, things like leaking valves and not the regular watering. And a shabby yard? That can cost you your well-being, even if you don't think so or even know it.

Oh, and one last-last thing - I thought I was the bomb when it came to mowing and edging my yard until I hired a pro for that part. I still think I am as good as my mower guy, but my wife says it's no contrast. He is WAY better than me. Happy spouse, happy house, so I smile and nod, smile and nod (and cringe a little bit).

Now that you have a green lawn, here's advice for keeping a lush lawn year round:

Green lawn

Here is another great topic on essential rental property spring maintenance tips that might interest you:

Woman mopping the floor


Person using a weed-whacker

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