A green lawn is as much a part of the American dream as anything else.
You can picture your kids chasing fireflies and running barefoot. You can imagine cookouts with family and friends. You can even get on board with the idea of weekly mowing.
The good news is that it doesn’t take that much time or effort to keep your lawn looking great—and the grass can be the greenest right in your own back yard.
Chicago Lawn Maintenance Tips
Maintaining your lawn basically comes down to taking care of three things—watering, mowing, and fertilizing. Here’s the low-down on all three.
It’s hard to imagine in the middle of winter, but Chicago summers are hot. In fact, the average high temperature in July is 81 degrees. And what makes you thirsty, makes your lawn thirsty, as well. The solution? Grab a lemonade for yourself and get your sprinkler out for your grass!
Keep in mind, though, that the best time to water to prevent rapid evaporation is either in the morning or after the sun sets. It’s also best to water less frequently, but more deeply, which keeps roots healthy and strong.
In general, lawns need about an inch of water a week when they’re actively growing, according to the Chicago Botanic Garden. It can be helpful to keep a rain gauge, which will give you a general idea of if and when your lawn needs to be watered.
Mow with Care
Mowing your lawn is not as cut-and-dry as you may think. Let’s talk about what not to do. Don’t let your grass get really high and then cut it super short. That’ll cause your grass as much stress as it causes your neighbors. Instead, aim to never take off more than one-third of the length of your blades at any one time.
It’s also a good idea to not bag your clippings. Allowing them to decompose right where they are adds nutrients back into your lawn—in the most natural way possible. This is also another argument for never cutting off too much at once; small pieces of grass will decompose more quickly.
By now, we’ve all heard the news that synthetic lawn fertilizer is bad for the environment, especially our groundwater. But does that mean we have to settle for grass that looks less than its best?
Not according to the Chicago Botanic Garden, which suggest that a combination of grass clippings, top-dressing with compost once a year, and an occasional dose of slow-release organic fertilizer can get the job done.
If you must use synthetic fertilizer, consider applying a slow-release version just once a year—in the fall.
3 Chicago Lawn Care Companies to Get You Started
Of course, there’s always the option of hiring someone else to take care of your lawn for you. If that sounds good to you, consider the following three companies.
• Greenwise prides itself on “100 percent safe lawns,” which it accomplishes by using a 5-step organic fertilization process that promises to get your lawn as green as synthetic fertilizers. They also offer mowing (with low-emission propane mowers), seeding, aeration, grub control, and mulching.
• Lawn Love offers quick online quotes, so you know exactly how much your service will cost you. Their services include lawn cutting, seeding, aeration, weed control, clean-up, leaf-removal, or fertilization (slow-release fertilizers are available).
• West Lake Properties offers services including mowing, clean-up, fertilizing, and weed control—and they also offer landscape and patio design and installation.
How to Take Care of Your Lawn and StorageMart
Taking good care of your lawn takes more than time – it also takes equipment. If you need some place to store yours during the off-season, self storage may be just what you’re looking for. You can rent a unit as small as 25 square feet or so (think push mower, rakes, and clippers) or up to the size of a garage (think riding lawn mower, plus everything else you need). Even better, our self storage units can be rented on a month-by-month basis and are always clean and well lit. Need more info? Check out our storage unit guide or rent a unit online today.