How to Plan a Lawn Maintenance Schedule
One of the reasons people don’t bother to maintain their lawn (or have difficulty doing so) is that they believe there’s too much work involved. They might simply have a problem with figuring out how often to do each of the necessary tasks, when to do them, and when not to do them.
Like most lawn care issues, solving this problem is easy, once you know how: simply create a schedule takes all the guess-work out of maintaining the lawn, and allows you to follow a set routine that tells you exactly what to do and when to do it.
How to Start
The first step in creating a lawn maintenance schedule is writing down every lawn care task that you will need to do in a single year. That includes frequent tasks such as watering and mowing, semi-frequent tasks such as fertilizing, and those you’ll only do once or twice a year, such as de-thatching and aerating.
Once you’ve got your list, categorize them according to how often they need to be done. For example, create different categories for tasks that need to be completed more than once a week, once a week, once a month, twice a month, once per season, and once a year.
How often do you need to carry out each task? This depends partly on where you live, and partly on your lawn. Common wisdom says, for example, that lawns must be watered at least once a week during the summer. If you live in warmer part of the country, you may need to water twice-weekly. If you live in a cooler part where rain is frequent in the summer, you might need to water once every ten days, or even every two weeks. (Don’t forget that one deep soak is better than two lighter ones. Aim to give your lawn an inch of water per week, but remember that it’s usually better if that inch is given in one session.)
Creating the Schedule
With your categorized list completed, you can then start to create the schedule. This part requires you have something-such as a calendar, or a computer spreadsheet-that you can add your tasks to. If you prefer to do this on a computer or online, take advantage of free programs such as Google Calendar that provides you with a calendar that you can add tasks to and modify as you please (one particularly useful thing about Google Calendar is that you can set it to email you reminders when an appointment is coming up, so it’s very difficult to miss a scheduled task).
You can make the schedule as detailed or as simple as you like. For example, you can choose to schedule by noting down the activities you will do each month, or you can actually schedule specific tasks for specific dates. If you choose the latter style, try to schedule larger tasks for weekends (and really big ones for holiday weekends), and smaller tasks for weekdays.
Once you’ve decided how you’re going to make the schedule, simply go ahead and slot in each task as frequently as it needs to be done.
Make it Flexible
Flexibility is going to be an important part of any schedule you create. For example, your lawn’s water needs will change according to the amount of rain you get in any given week, so don’t forget to factor that into your schedule. That doesn’t mean you have to go crazy creating two or three different schedules, but it does mean that in an unexpectedly dry week or month, you’ll have to find time to give your lawn the extra water it will need.
If you want to create a highly detailed schedule, it might be worthwhile penciling in one or two “floating” hours each week that you can use for any unscheduled tasks that come up.
Finally, the most important part of any schedule: the execution. Creating a lawn maintenance schedule is pointless if you don’t follow it, so make sure the schedule you make is one that you’re going to want to follow.
If you have a large lawn that you don’t enjoy watering, for example, consider investing in an automatic sprinkler system that takes care of that task for you. It might be expensive, but you’ll save yourself lots of time, and having that task taken care of might give you the motivation to keep up with the rest of your maintenance schedule!
Brian Jenkins is a freelance writer who writes about large businesses for home owners such as Scott’s, Lawn Doctor and TruGreen