Instead of turning green with envy over the flawless state of your neighbour's lawn, here are a few tips to turn yours into a point of pride.
Sharpen the blades on your mower annually. A clean cut eliminates risk of disease. Also, lift up the mower blades one or two notches while you're at it to keep your grass at a reasonable height, forcing the roots to grow stronger and curb the need to water more frequently.
The rule of thumb is to cut no more than a third of your grass height and only when it's dry. So, 3 cm high grass would just get a 1 cm cut. And leave those 1 cm cuttings where they land because they'll work their way back into the soil and add nutrients.
When it's time to water, about 2.5 cm of water will do. To gauge that, put an empty tuna can within the sprinkler's spray. When it's full you've reached optimal saturation. It's best to water in the morning before 11 a.m., or after 2 p.m., otherwise the water will condensate before it sinks into the soil. And do not water at night because too much moisture promotes disease.
When weeds do surface, it's best to pull them out by hand. If there are too many, dedicate 10 minutes daily to the job and soon enough you'll be rid of the lot. Be sure to throw some grass seed in the space left behind, to prevent more weeds from calling those empty plots of dirt home again.
It's well worth throwing down some grass seed in the fall and spring to help thicken the lawn but be sure to water it so that the seed takes root. Add some compost or triple mix to foster that growth.
Also, fertilize in spring or fall and be sure to disperse it evenly and sparingly, to avoid burning the grass. To determine your lawn's particular needs take a sample to the local garden shop. The garden pro there can recommend ways to amend deficiencies or balance excesses.
If your lawn has never been aerated and is showing signs of stress, such as soil so compacted that you struggle to drive a weeding tool into it, it may be time to aerate. Poking holes throughout your lawn helps oxygenate the roots and draw down much-needed nutrients and water to the roots.