SellingIf it hasn’t happened already, it’s only a matter of a few weekends until your lawn wakes from its winter sleep. So before you pull the starting cord on your mower, keep these five tips in mind for early spring mowing. 1. Set your mower high First, clear your yard of any and all debris, including sticks, twigs, and matted leaves. Then set your mower high enough that only about the top 1/4 of the grass is clipped—think “trim” not “shave.” In the spring you want as much light as possible on the lawn to encourage early growth and a strong stand. Later in the season, drop it slightly. 2. Mow only when grass is dry Mowing a wet lawn only encourages matting of clippings and likely damage from mower tyres. Not only that, but the weight of water droplets actually bends the grass, so you won’t get a good mow anyway. Wait until wind or sun has dried the lawn. 3. Mow only when needed “Lawn therapy” isn’t really a thing, so if your lawn goes dormant or slows down in hot or dry periods, step back and enjoy the hiatus. 4. Leave grass clippings behind To bag or not to bag, that is the question. The smart money goes with “no bagging,” since leaving short clippings behind returns vital nutrients to the soil and thatch level. Your lawn will thank you for it with robustness, able to withstand rigors of summer heat or drought. 5. Keep your blades sharp If you’ve ever been forced to shave with a dull razor blade, you know the feeling it produces: rough and uneven. This is true with your mower blades, and the rule of thumb for professionals is “the sharper, the better.” If you typically hear sticks or stones rattling around beneath the mower deck, plan on touching up the blade edges every couple of weeks. A freshly mowed, emerald green lawn is a magnificent sight to behold. A yard filled with perfect grass has been a source of pride for Australian homeowners for decades, because nothing says “Home Sweet Home” like a great lawn. But there’s a downside to a massive green lawn: sometimes it’s a lot of work to keep it looking great. A “perfect” lawn requires mowing and fertilising. In our climate, a lawn also often needs supplemental irrigation. And there are always weeds trying to move into a pristine patch of grass. Fortunately, there are new grass varieties that take some of the hassle out of maintaining a great yard. Also, lawn alternatives—such as wildflower meadows and flowering groundcovers—can help transform your property into a beautiful country getaway. Here are a few ideas you could try. Too much lawn? Try wildflowers Some properties have more lawn space than they need. If mowing the lawn takes an entire day, then converting some grass to a low-maintenance wildflower meadow is a solution. Selecting the right seeds is one of the keys to planting a successful wildflower garden. Planting a selection of seeds specifically chosen for your growing conditions can make the difference between a thriving wildflower garden and disappointment. To get the best results prepare the ground before planting seeds. Clear away most competing plants, then turn over the soil so the seeds can penetrate the soil surface. Flowering groundcovers add colour Grass isn’t the only groundcover. There are plenty of flowering groundcovers that can be used in garden beds and adjacent to lawns to add colour to the landscape. Flowering groundcovers are an indispensable element of any well-designed garden. Low-growing perennials may be short in stature, but when placed in the right spots they fill in the gaps in a yard and garden with colourful blooms and attractive foliage. Plant a carpet of roses Flower Carpet Roses are tough enough to handle drought conditions and summer heat, and their spreading growth habit makes them a great flowering groundcover in garden beds and next to lawns. Flower Carpet roses (available at Hargraves, Dural) have been bred to thrive in conditions that can challenge other roses, and their colourful blooms cover the glossy green foliage for virtually the entire growing season. Flower Carpet roses are claimed to be disease resistant. Indeed, all these roses have won prestigious awards in rose trials for their disease resistance. Flower Carpet roses are best grown in full sun and will flower from late October or November through until winter. They are ideal for growing on a bank or spilling over a wall.