A freshly clipped and professional-looking lawn is one of the hallmarks of the American dream.
It’s understandable to want to take care of your lawn like the professionals do. It might not be as critical as taking care of a golf course green, but it can feel and look just as good.
I have good news for you!
Taking care of your lawn like a professional doesn’t have to be difficult.
Better yet, adding a few of these professional techniques to your lawn care routine can help improve the appearance and health of your lawn. You don’t need to be able to do everything all the time to benefit from these professional lawn care techniques.
In this Guide You’ll Learn:
- How taking care of your lawn like a professional benefits your grass
- Techniques and tricks used by professional lawn maintenance experts
- And much more…
What Are The Benefits of Mowing Your Lawn Like a Professional?
There are a lot of benefits to mowing your lawn like a professional. There’s a reason people have been able to create entire careers out of expert lawn care, but that doesn’t mean you need to make a career of taking care of your lawn to reap some of the benefits.
One of the biggest benefits of taking care of your lawn like a professional is that your grass will be healthier. Healthier grass can actually lower the cost of your lawn because you won’t need to re-seed it as often. Sometimes you might be able to fertilize less or even water a well-established lawn less often.
All of those benefits are financial as well as time benefits of taking care of your lawn like a professional. That might sound a little counter-intuitive, but it’s true. A professionally cared for, healthy lawn, needs less maintenance than a lawn that isn’t as well cared for.
Of course, a lot of people are looking for the classic look of a professionally cared for lawn as much as the other benefits. If that sounds like you, this video is just for you. This will help you achieve a striped lawn quickly and easily, without any special equipment.
This is a little outside the realm of just lawn care, but it’s worth mentioning that having a lawn that’s cared for like a professional can have benefits in your neighborhood as well. Benefits like avoiding HOA fees for lawn care can be huge.
Yes, HOAs can have requirements for your lawn! This resource is more about HOAs in general, but if you’re making lawn care changes and live in an HOA I think it’s a good idea to read Consumer Reports’ explanation about HOAs.
A professionally cared for lawn also makes it a lot more likely that you’ll win the local yard and garden competition, which can be a huge benefit of this style of lawn care. That’s not to mention that a great lawn can make your home look more attractive if you’re considering selling.
These benefits don’t necessarily apply to everyone, but they’re worth thinking about for just about everyone.
Of course, that’s not even talking about the many environmental, mental, and social benefits of beautiful outdoor spaces.
What Do You Need To Know To Mow Your Lawn Like a Professional?
There are a few things you need to know when you’re learning to mow your lawn like a professional.
The first is really simple:
Why Do I Want To Mow My Lawn Like A Professional?
This question is huge! Knowing that you want to mow a lawn like a professional is one thing, knowing what your goal is can help you decide what parts of mowing your lawn like a professional are most important for meeting your goals.
Knowing what your individual goals are can also help you decide how much time you want to dedicate to mowing your lawn like a professional.
What Kind of Grass Do You Have?
Mowing your grass like a professional starts with knowing what kind of grass you’re working with. There are a lot of different varieties from Kentucky Bluegrass, to Fescue, to Zoysia, and each variety needs slightly different care.
Your type of grass likely depends on local climate and conditions to a large extent. Different regions favor different kinds of grass. For instance, zoysia cultivars are warm-season grasses that do better in warmer climates with mild winters.
Read More: >> The Best Lawn Mowers for Zoysia Grass
Fescue grasses, on the other hand, a cool-season grasses that have adapted to wider temperature swings and can succeed in more temperate to cool environments.
Knowing your exact cultivar of grass can be helpful, but just knowing the grass type goes a long way toward taking care of your lawn like a professional.
Knowing your grass type can help you decide how often to mow your grass, when it needs water and when something else might be the problem, and other details about your lawn care.
What Are the Common Pests and Lawn Care Problems In Your Area?
Knowing the challenges to successful lawn care in your area is critical for caring for your lawn. This guide to common lawn pests is a helpful place to start, but every area is different.
My recommendation is to spend some time looking at lawn and gardening resources provided by a college or university in your state. Most colleges and universities provide some resources on this subject that are free for the public to use and access.
These documents are straight from the professionals who are training lawn care experts and who are breeding and cultivating new kinds of turf grass for their area. They’re a huge resource, so leaving them on table doesn’t make a lot of sense if you want to cultivate the best lawn you can.
Looking into soil and grass testing services through your local university, or even a lawn care company, can also help you care for your lawn like a professional because it gives you access to core information that any professional would use.
What Do I Need to Mow My Lawn?
Mowing your lawn like a professional doesn’t have to come with a lot of equipment, but having a few more tricks and tools under your belt can make your job a lot easier.
At minimum you’ll need:
- A lawn mower (riding, push behind, electric, or reel it doesn’t matter what kind as long as it’s high quality)
- A string trimmer
- A leaf blower
Here are a few other lawn care tools that will help, but that are mostly optional:
- Ear and eye protection (okay, this is technically optional but I highly recommend using good ear and eye protection while you mow)
- A home aeration tool
- Fertilizer spreading tool
Having your own aeration tool will save you having to rent one when it’s time to aerate the lawn, but since it’s not needed as often as the other mowing tools it’s generally only a good investment for people with plenty of lawn care equipment storage space. It’s not a bulky tool, but it’s not useful enough to be worth storing if you don’t have plenty of space.
The fertilizer spreading tool is a little more useful, but they are also easy to rent the 1-2 times you’ll need one annually.
Eye and ear protection, especially ear protection is important. Almost all motor-powered lawn mowers are loud enough to cause hearing damage over time. Eye protection is usually less important, simply because it’s rare for debris to come at your eyes. Still with something as delicate as your eyesight, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Plus, some kinds of eye protection can even help keep common allergens out of your eyes while you’re working.
Tips For Mowing Your Lawn Like a Professional
This section is going to cover my tips for mowing your lawn like a professional. This isn’t a step by step guide because a lot of these things need to be done as needed. Some people will need to edge their lawns a little more often than they mow, while others need to concentrate on other kinds of maintenance.
Fortunately, if you know what kind of grass you have, it’s a lot easier to tell when you’ll need to take which steps.
Keep Your Lawn Mower Blades Sharp:
If you really want to mow your lawn like a professional, it’s critical to keep your blades sharp. For most lawn mowers that means you’ll need to sharpen your blades every 20-25 hours of use.
So, if it takes an hour for you to mow your property, you’ll need to sharpen your blades every 20-25 times you mow. If it takes about 30 minutes to mow, you should sharpen your blades every 40-50 times you mow.
Of course, there are other factors as well. If you’re mowing through more mature grass and cutting woody stems instead of leaves that will wear through your blades faster. Double your lawn mowing time for a more accurate estimate of the wear on those blades.
In other words, if you’re mowing through woody materials like overgrown grass or weeds, you’ll need to sharpen your lawn mower blades twice as often.
Read More: >> Top 5 Best Lawn Mowers For Hills
Protect Your Trees With Tree Pits
One of the biggest things you can do to make your lawn look more professional is to create a protective rind around your trees where no grass grows.
Some landscapers enjoy filling these spaces with low-light flowers and other decorative elements, while others simply cut some landscaping fabric to fit and fill the area with wood mulch or stones to hold the fabric in place.
Most tree pits should be 2-3 feet wide, or at least 1ft surrounding the trunk of the tree.
This makes it easier to mow around your trees without damaging them. Plus, you won’t have any long grass and un-trimmed plants surrounding the trees to deal with later.
Always Edge Your Lawn
If there is any one thing that makes a lawn look professionally mown, it’s edging.
This is where you use a string trimmer to cut back the grass next to side walks, your driveway, and other landscaping elements to create a clean but narrow separation between your lawn and those other elements.
It doesn’t matter too much whether you edge your lawn before or after you mow, but I prefer to do it after mowing. It saves a little work with the string trimmer and tells me exactly where I might need a little more trimming help.
Don’t Skip Fertilizing
Fertilizing your lawn regularly is a must if you want to get professional looking results. Unfortuantely I can’t give you a 100% guide to fertilizing your lawn specifically. That’s because different grasses have different fertilization schedules.
Some grass prefer to be fertilized twice a year, once in the spring, and once just before it goes dormant in the fall. Other grass will prefer only one or the other.
Read More: >> How to Make Fertilizer From Kitchen Scraps
The important part is that you remember to fertilize your whole lawn at least once a year.
Keeping a perfectly even mat of fresh green grass takes a lot of soil nutrients. Letting some of the clippings decompose directly on your lawn helps restore some of those nutrients, but not enough.
Fertilizer helps restore soil quality, ensuring your grass will continue growing for years to come.
Use Your Leaf Blower To Contain Grass Clippings
Unless your lawn mower automatically bags grass clippings (and sometimes even if it does) you’ll have grass clippings all over your lawn after mowing. That isn’t a big deal most of the time, and you’ll even want to leave grass clippings down sometimes to help restore your soil.
But anytime your grass clippings are starting to build up, wet, or clumped instead of evenly distributed, you should remove them.
Using your leaf blower is a simple way to move grass clippings and contain them on your lawn.
Choose Your Mowing Time Wisely
When you mow can have a huge affect on the quality and health of your grass. Mow in the middle of the day and your grass is more likely to get dehydrated. It may just yellow the ends slightly, or you might find yourself with patches of yellowing grass.
Instead you should mow either in the mid to late morning, or in the evening just before the sun goes down. Mid to late morning is best because it gives your grass some time to heal and recover while it’s still producing energy through the day.
If you mow in the morning, make sure you wait until any morning dew is dry. Wet grass doesn’t mow cleanly or evenly, and mowing wet can leave your lawn more vulnerable to fungus and disease as well.
Do Regular Equipment Maintenance
Keeping your mowing eqipment in top condition is critical to mowing your lawn like a professional. At minimum you should do your own inspection at least once a year to make sure all electronic and moving parts are in good condition.
Even better would be taking your lawn mower, string trimmer, and other power tools to a professional for maintenance once a year, just before mowing season starts.
If you live somewhere were you mow year-round, get your lawn mower checked in early spring.
Always Obey The 1/3 Rule
When it comes to the health of your grass, mowing like a professional means mowing when your grass can handle it. Typically you don’t want to mow more than 1/3 of the total length of your grass at a time. For instance, if you mow down to 2 inches you should mow when the grass is 3 inches tall.
Mowing no more than 1/3 of your grass’s total length helps minimize the lost nutrients and energy from the lost growth. It also helps prevent your grass from switching from growing leaves to trying to grow more energy intensive stems and seeds.
This rule can be tricky to follow since it means paying close attention to the length of your lawn. Sometimes you’ll need to move a little more often, and sometimes you’ll mow less often than normal. Still, if you manage to follow this rule instead of setting a regular schedule, your grass will be much healthier.
Read More: >> How Often To Mow Your Lawn?
My Final Thoughts On Mowing Your Lawn Like A Professional
Mowing your lawn professionally is more about applying a series of principles to your lawn mowing than using any particular technique. You can stripe your lawn, or not. You can use protective landscaping to support your lawn, or not.
At the core, mowing your lawn like a professional is mowing in a way that works with your grass instead of against it. It’s about maintaining your lawn and equipment at top efficiency. And it’s about mowing your lawn when the grass needs it, not just because the schedule says so.
These are the secrets to maintaining the beautiful greens on golf courses, surrounding government buildings, and in local parks.
Anyone can do it, and you don’t need a lot of extra equipment. But you do need to invest some time into learning about your local conditions and the needs of your particular grass.
I hope these tips help you cultivate a professional looking lawn. More importantly, I hope this guide helps you keep your lawn healthy and beautiful for years to come!