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When to Kill Grass in the Interest of Easier Lawn Care

by Brett Freeman, All About Lawns Columnist

The magazine-cover lawn radiates outward from the home to its property line, interrupted only by decks, sidewalks, and the occasional planting bed. Such a lawn photographs well, but it can be a pain in the grass if you're the one responsible for keeping it pretty. For impossible-to-reach areas or spots that sport perpetually brown grass, consider some alternatives.

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Where the Weed-Whacker Won't Whack

Short of getting down on your hands and knees with a pair of scissors, it is virtually impossible to trim grass where utility lines come into your house and around your heating/cooling system's compressor unit. It is also painfully easy to get phone and cable lines wrapped up in your trimmer. Consider planting low-lying shrubs around these areas. They will not only eliminate the difficulty of trimming the grass, they will also hide the least appealing parts of your home's exterior.

Offensive Fences

Trimming around fences isn't difficult, but it does take a lot of time, and it eats up the line of your trimmer. An easy solution is to simply kill the grass for about three inches out from the base of the fence. Aesthetically, it's barely noticeable, and it can reduce the amount of trimming you need to do by hundreds of feet. Carefully apply a grass-killing spray, trim down to the dirt once the grass is dead, and tamp the area down.

Going to the Dogs

As you're probably aware, your mailbox post is a beacon for all male dogs in the neighborhood. Unless you're willing to hose the grass down every time a dog lifts his leg to your mailbox (or spray the dog before his leg goes up), you will always have brown grass around the mailbox. Consider planting something like jasmine or English ivy around the mailbox pole. These plants are not only more adept than grass at overcoming the dog assault, they will also climb up and around the mailbox, making it prettier.

In a perfect world, lawns would be unsullied seas of green tidily covering every inch of dirt in your yard. And they would water and manicure themselves, too. Fortunately there are attractive, low-maintenance solutions allowing your yard to achieve near-fantasy status without driving you insane.

About the Author
Brett Freeman is a freelance journalist. He also owns a landscaping and irrigation company in North Carolina. Previously he has worked as a beat reporter, a teacher, and for a home improvement company, and he used to own a bar/live music venue.

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