The Lawn Battle is on!

It's summer, and for many homeowners, the lawn battle is on. We weed it, we mow it, we blast it with chemicals. All to get that perfect green carpet that looks so great on the golf course but is so tough to achieve at home.

Start with the soil; add some nutrient-rich compost in spring and fall. If it's sandy, add some humus to help it hold water. Check the pH too. Most garden centres offer this service. If it's less than 6 or 7, add some lime.

Use the right grass; clover and fescue are good for dry summers, and bluegrass and ryegrass are ideal for areas that get lots of sun. For shady spots, try fescue or a groundcover like periwinkle or pachysandra.

Feed it; fertilize every spring and fall, and when you mow, leave clippings where they fall for added nitrogen, phosphate and potassium. Water deeply but infrequently to encourage deeper root growth.

Just a little off the top, please; weeds can't grow in the shade of tall grass. Setting your mower blade to about 3" is an easy way to keep your lawn dense and healthy.

Give it some air; to improve drainage and help oxygen get into the soil, aerate by walking around in golf shoes. A spiked roller or aerator works too.

Free the soil; your lawn gets clogged by tangled dry grass, roots and dead leaves that get between the soil and the living grass. Cut through it every fall with an inexpensive dethatching rake so your lawn gets the nutrients it needs.

Whether you want a nice lawn, a pretty garden or some attractive landscaping, a great-looking exterior helps you enjoy your home and boost its value.

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