Some people say the grass is always greener on the other side, but when it comes to your own lawn, you don’t plan on living by those words. You want your yard to flourish with lush, healthy grass from the get-go, and for years to come. But as it turns out, getting that green is not so easy.
If you are new to lawn maintenance or want to deepen your knowledge, you should get guidance from the pros and other trustworthy resources.
While it’s great to ask your neighbor with the nice lawn for advice, it’s hard to know if his methods will work for you or whether he’s doing things right in the first place,” says Barbara Roueche, Troy-Bilt brand manager.
Lawn experts know about testing soil, what grasses are best for a particular region, what type of grass seed to buy, when to seed and fertilize your lawn, how to mow, and sprinkler tips. Here’s where to find the most valuable information.
1. USDA plant hardiness zone map
Not sure what types of grasses are best for your region? Don’t worry, there’s a map for that.
The USDA plant hardiness zone map is the standard by which gardeners and growers can determine which plants can do well in a certain location. Its zones are based on average annual minimum winter temperatures.
“Growing zones help you choose the right plants or grass for where you live and help you care for them properly to either augment or offset the natural conditions,” says Erin Schanen, creator of The Impatient Gardener blog and YouTube channel, and a volunteer master gardener.
Roueche recommends saving the information to your phone so you’ll always have it handy when you take a trip to the garden center or when you have to decide when to perform yard maintenance.
2. How-to videos from trusted sources
Seriously, how did we ever do anything before YouTube? There are many how-to videos about lawn maintenance on the platform, but stick to the true professionals—like master gardeners, horticulturalists, or landscape designers—for advice.
“The benefit of things like YouTube videos or live help sessions is that you can troubleshoot with real pros and pause or replay videos to go at your own pace,” says Roueche.
She also suggests studying up on your yard equipment by going to the source.
“When it comes to equipment questions in particular, be sure to seek information from the manufacturer of your equipment and have your model number handy,” says Roueche.
She says Troy-Bilt has articles on its website and YouTube videos tailored to specific models about routine maintenance or other equipment questions. You can also consult your equipment’s owners manual or find a downloadable version online.
3. Smart home devices
“Some homeowners rely on smart devices for so much in their daily lives that it just works best to integrate these devices and virtual assistant programs into yard care,” says Schanen.
Smart home devices like Alexa and Google Home can help automate regular tasks like watering the grass or sending equipment maintenance reminders.
“Like any task that needs to get done regularly, finding a way to automate it or build it into your existing routines will make it easier to accomplish. Think about the technology you regularly use, and seek out solutions in those platforms for the tasks or questions you need help with,” says Roueche.
4. Local university extension programs
Most state universities have extension programs offering garden services to the public, including the master gardener program.
Schanen says a simple internet search for a public university system plus “extension” can help you find a local university extension program or master gardener groups. For example, Utah State University Extension has a website devoted to yard and garden issues, and a detailed webpage on lawn care.
“These organizations offer science-based answers, solutions, and advice. Plus, they’re experts in local flora. Since they work with the public every day, they will have a good handle on diseases causing problems in the area, weather-related problems, and the plants that do well in the area,” says Schanen.
University extension schools often have fact sheets on some of the most typical homeowner questions, from the best type of grass to grow in the area to common diseases and how to succeed with specific vegetable or fruit crops, Schanen says. They also typically offer seminars for the public, as well as access to a library of educational articles.
5. Gardening influencers
Influencers can offer their advice on everything under the sun, but their tips can be hit or miss. However, if you look carefully, sometimes you can find some true lawn and garden pros sharing their green thumb knowledge online.
“By connecting with experts on social media, you get to follow along in real time to see what a whole season or year of gardening and lawn care looks like,” says Roueche.
Look for experts on platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok who own garden and lawn care businesses or have had a large following for many years.
“Some folks may share their journeys rehabbing their lawn with natural weed remedies and fertilizer or how to use equipment properly,” says Roueche. “This kind of in-depth content can help novice gardeners understand what tasks may be right for their skill level, their schedule, and their yard.”