Are you waiting, like many on the west side of the mountains, for some decent, dry days to get your lawn and landscaping started? Or, do you just not want to think about it…  If you know anything about me, you know that I LOVE yard work. I throw on my iPod and get to work. I thought that a little of my past experiences, when I owned a landscaping business, might be interesting for some of you. So here are a few of my tips:

The Lawn.

If you are planting or seeding a new lawn, here are some things to keep in mind:  

Sod cost a lot more, requires some strong backs, but gives you the fastest means to start mowing. The prep for sod lawns is similar to that needed if you do seed. Often, with sod lawns you are likely to have fewer weeds to deal with because the sod farm has already addressed that. A good starter fertilizer and proper irrigation will ensure you lawn takes hold. Often, it’s best to put the starter fertilizer down prior to the sod being laid. This gets those roots active and firmly growing quickly.

Seed lawns – this is the method I most prefer. Call me a glutton for punishment, but I use a California Trimmer lawn mower because of my love of golf and the trimmer approach gets my lawn looking like a golf course green. There are challenges with seeded lawns, but with some good old-fashion elbow grease, they can be handled. For one thing, you will need to get the ground ready for seed. If your method of mowing the lawn does not include a trimmer lawn mower then some spreading of dirt and a roller you rent from most rental places is sufficient for the new seed. If though you want a trimmer cut, you really need to get the surface as flat as possible. This requires, at least the way I do it, to get down on you hands and knees and take a long 2×6 or 2×4 stud and start screeting the ground, knocking down high spots and filling in low spots. Once that is done, with several times going over it with a roller, you can get ready to cast your seed. The seed you purchase, along with the sod are typically types of grass that can grow in our climate, but it does not hurt to educate yourself regarding types of grass to ensure your lawn will be what you envisioned. I prep the perfectly flat area with a rake to create furrows where the seed can fall in and take root. Once the casting is completed, I go for the starter fertilizer and mulch. Mulch holds water, creates a barrier for you seed and often keeps the birds away. Water regularly, two or three times a day, but not for too long. Once the seeds start to sprout, try to stay off the lawn, but if you see weeds, get to them. How long should you wait to mow? My feeling has always been about 3 weeks, but don’t do it too soon. It would be better to wait longer and mow twice than to ruin all your hard work by mowing too soon.