The exterior of a home can be a real asset or a real liability when trying to resell a property. Keeping the lawn well-maintained and green is especially important at this time and sellers are often keen on dumping chemicals and pesticides to ensure their lawn looks healthy and green. But there are other ways to keep your lawn green while being more "green" yourself.
For a healthy lawn, you need to start with healthy soil. Lawns grow best in soil that is a mix of clay, silt and sand and that is not too thoroughly packed. If the ground is thoroughly packed, consider aeration, the process of puling out plugs of soil to create air spaces so that water and nutrients can penetrate to the grass roots. A garden fork can be used to systematically prick holes in a smaller yard. An aerator can be rented at most equipment rental shops to do the job for larger yards.
Periodically adding organic mater like compost, manure or grass clippings helps to replenish the natural nutrients into the soil and lessens the amount of fertilizers necessary. A mulching lawn mower can help add nitrogen back into your lawn naturally and easily without any extra work on your part.
Having your own compost pile can allow you to cheaply and effectively nourish your lawn by adding a thin layer of compost to the entire lawn once or twice a year. The pH of the soil should be between about 6.2 to 6.5 for optimal growth. Adding limestone (powder or peletized) to the soil at of around 50 lbs per 1,000 sq. feet or wood ash anytime the ground is not frozen will help to decrease the acidity of the soil.
Mow high, but mow often. This enables a thicker and deeper root system to develop and will create more resistant grasses. Leaving the grass a little bit longer will also help curb weed growth.
Consider switching to an electric or manual reel lawnmower. Modern day reel mowers are much more light weight and easier to use then older varieties and they are much quieter than their gas-powered counterparts.
If you find you need to stick with your gas-powered machine; change the oil, clean the air filter, sharpen the blades and remove debris from the air passages around the engine regularly to help keep it running most efficiently.
Curb weeds by removing them and spraying any leftover root systems with a vingear solution. The vinegar will kill the grass as well, so be careful where it is sprayed. Most dandelions can be managed early by mowing the plants before they go to seed (before they get the white whispy flowers early in the season). You can also try adding corn gluten meal to the entire lawn during seed germination in early spring. This is considered a "pre-emergent" solution since it prevents roots from forming during seed germination and will prevent any additional new growth from occurring.
There are many ways to avoid using harmful or toxic chemicals on your yard. Keeping good soil and performing regular maintenance will also help reduce the amount of watering necessary to keep a green lawn. If you'd like more suggestions, please ask!