Many of us grew up with the chore of mowing the lawn or pulling weeds at our parents’ house. It can seem like common sense that grass mostly just takes care of itself.

However, there’s a lot more to growing a healthy green lawn than just mowing every two weeks. In this article, we’ll talk about some lawn care techniques that you might be forgetting that will help you maintain a healthy lawn that will be the envy of your neighborhood.

Cut length

Many people try to prolong the time between cuts by setting their mower to a short height. Others just like the look of their lawn when it is cut very short. The downside of this practice is that it isn’t healthy for the grass for a number of reasons.

First, tall grass is able to develop stronger roots, which you’ll need if you have kids, pets, or plan on using your lawn for anything other than looking at.

Another reason is that grass shades the soil beneath it from the sun. This helps the soil maintain moisture longer which, in turn, helps your grass grow better.

So, how much grass should you cut off? Experts recommend that you remove only the top third of the grass as a general rule. However, different types of grasses have a preferred height, so be sure to find out which type of grass you have if you plan on cutting it shorter than two inches.

Fertilizer is not optional

Soil nutrients are depleted over time. If you’ve noticed what was once a healthy lawn slowly deteriorating over the years, there’s a good chance you need to fertilize.

To determine the exact type of fertilizer you’ll need, it’s a good idea to test the pH of your soil. You can purchase a soil testing kit online and from some lawn care retailers, or you can send your sample to a lab to be tested.

Once you know the pH, you can buy the right fertilizer to help balance the quality of your soil and promote the growth of your lawn.

Aerate your lawn

Lawns take a beating over the years. Whether it’s from the stomping feet of children, the pressure of rain, or just the force of gravity, the topsoil of your yard will become compacted.

This makes it difficult for nutrients to reach the roots of your grass and it makes your lawn work harder to build its root network.

There are a few ways to aerate your lawn. You can buy a hand tool at a hardware store designed for putting small spikes into the ground. But, if you have a large yard you might want to consider renting an aerating machine that will save you time and blisters.  

Reuse your clippings

Most people collect the clippings from their lawn in a big pile and eventually haul it away. However, those clippings are filled with nutrients that your lawn could use to grow.

Grass clippings decompose quickly and if you disperse them evenly on the lawn they aren’t noticeable for long.

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Buying a house is never a simple decision. Aside from all of the financial aspects of purchasing a home, there are numerous life-related considerations you’ll need to think about. So, it comes as little surprise that diving head on into the house hunting process can be stressful and taxing to the home buyer.

With all of the different numbers to keep track of–a down payment, closing costs, credit scores, interest rates, and so on–it’s easy to get lost in the finer details of your budget. This can lead to even more stress as you try to navigate your way through getting approved for a mortgage and shopping for the perfect home.

In this article, we’re going to give you some tips on how to maintain your budget and reduce stress throughout the home buying process. That way, when you do finally find the house you’ve been waiting for, you’ll be able to move forward confidently.

Trust the process

Many first-time home buyers enter the real estate market with little knowledge or experience of how things work. Any newcomer to such a huge and complex industry is bound to be flustered with all of the different options available to them.

However, much of the home buying process is relatively standardized. Real estate agents all make roughly the same commission, lenders use similar algorithms to decide how much of a loan you’ll be approved for, and real estate contracts contain legal safeguards and contingencies to ensure that you and the seller’s interests are protected.

When shopping for a mortgage or getting pre-approved, it’s a good idea to ask friends, family, or read reviews online to find someone you know you can trust. From there, rely on the experts to lead you through the process.

Have a long-term plan

Much of the stress and anxiety around buying a home comes from the uncertainty of the future. Sitting down with your family and significant other and deciding your long-term goals for homeownership is a good way to build confidence and know that you’re making the right choice.

Determining things like location, the number of years you want to live in a home, and what priorities are the most important (school districts, neighborhood safety, etc.) will help you make that plan a reality.

Use the tools at your disposal

If you’re reading this article, you already have started to take advantage of one of the most important resources you have, the internet. Look up real estate terminology you’re unfamiliar with, read up on the different types of mortgages, and take advantage of free online calculators to create what-if scenarios to find out what you might end up paying in closing costs and interests.

It’s also a good idea to check your credit score for free online. You can check your official reports once per year, but for simple credit checks you can look it up each month for free.

Knowing that you’re in good hands with a lender and agent, that you have a basic understanding of industry terms, that you have a long-term plan, and that your finances are in order will all help set your mind at ease and give you confidence as you move forward toward homeownership.

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