Unfortunately, having a lush green lawn is a little more complicated than just letting the grass grow. In fact, without proper maintenance, your lawn will get out of control pretty quickly. Not only does this look shabby, but it can also become a safety hazard and a breeding ground for pests and unwanted plants. Thankfully, maintaining your lawn isn't too complicated, and, if you mow it regularly, your lawn will look great and be healthy.
Before you get to mowing, you'll need to get a mower. There are two main options: riding mower and push mowers. Riding mowers are only really necessary for large areas. A small-to-medium-sized yard will be easy enough to mow with a powered push mower or even a reel lawnmower (that's the unpowered kind). Make sure the mower is in good working order and has well-sharpened blades. Then, adjust the wheel height of the mower; different types of grasses should be cut to different heights. Warm-season grasses (Bermuda, buffalo, etc.) should be cut to a height of ½ to 1 inch. Cool-season grasses (bluegrass, fescue, etc.) are best cut to a height of 2 to 3 inches.
Mowing Your Lawn
First, you should clean up your lawn. Remove any debris (like sticks and rocks), and make note of obstacles you'll need to mow around (trees, unmovable rocks, etc.). Mow the lawn in a pattern; going back and fourth in rows is the most common strategy. If you need to go around an obstacle, make two circular passes, once in each direction. Then, you can resume the row you were on. It's best to let the mower overlap the last row by a few inches. This will ensure you don't miss anything and makes push mowers a little easier to move.
Once you're finished, you'll need to clean up your yard, using a rake to gather the clippings. That is, unless your lawn mower has a bag to catch the clippings. This option can make your work a lot easier, since, instead of raking, you'll just need to periodically empty the bag.
For the best results you should mow your lawn every week or two. This allows you to never cut more than 1/3 of the length of your grass, which is optimal for grass health.
Lawn mowers are pieces of serious machinery and, therefore, should be treated seriously. Safety should always come first when it comes to mowing your lawn. Here are a few safety tips:
- Never allow children near the mower or the lawn while you're mowing; the mower can kick up rocks and other debris, which can be seriously harmful if they strike someone.
- Never reach under the mower while it's on. If it gets clogged, turn the mower off and make sure the blades have stopped spinning before raising it to clear the obstruction.
- When mowing slopes with a push mower, go across rather than up and down. If using a riding mower, go up and down to prevent the mower from tipping with you on it.
- Mow only when the grass is dry. Mornings, after the dew has dried, are the best times.