Contributed by Cindi Pearce, Top 10 Guru

If you have a house with a yard you are going to responsible for lawn care unless you’re filthy rich and can hire someone to take care of it for you, which isn’t the way it is for most of us.

Here are the top 10 lawn care ideas, especially for those of you who are new at residential living:

10. Forget the pets

Do not even think about getting a pet elephant. There are dreadfully hard on lawns. Elephants are notorious when it comes to damaging cropland and that includes yards. Keep elephants out of your yard by hanging chili peppers on your fence.

9. Prevent seeding

You’ve heard the expression “Going to seed,” and, no, we’re not talking about your spouse. When you allow your lawn to “go to seed” this means that you don’t mow it in an attempt to thicken up the lawn. Some believes this works whereas others maintain that the exact opposite occurs. When you allow your lawn to go to seed, seeds form and the nutrients that generally prompt root and shoot growth are needed to nourish the developing seed, which takes priority over the needs of shoots and roots. Making seeds requires a lot of effort and it so demanding that it takes away the nutrients in the soil. The end result is that your lawn doesn’t look healthy.

8. Roll it

Some lawn care experts recommend rolling your lawn after seeding or sodding or if the lawn has gotten lumpy and bumpy because of animal tunnels or after a bad winter, which caused soil heaving. You do not have to do this every year, only when the above circumstances exist. Roll the lawn when the ground is slightly damp but not when it is soaking weak. Do not use a roller that is too heavy. Roll the lawn in the spring. If your soil is mostly clay do not roll it because this will damage the lawn.

7. Convert it

Pave the entire lot and be done with it. Turn paradise into your own personal parking lot.

6. Fertilize

Fertilize your lawn. This requires purchasing a spreader, which allows you to fertilize evenly. However, before you jump in and start fertilizing find out what kind of grass you have (if you don’t already know), determine if your lawn is new or established (which you should know) and consider the climate, time of year and soil type. You can choose between organic fertilizers, synthetic, liquid and slow and fast-release granular fertilizers.

5. Water

If it rarely rains where you live and it is very hot and extremely sunny your lawn is going to need watered if you want to keep it alive and looking good. New lawns have little drought resistance and need frequent watering whereas mature lawns have established deep roots and don’t need as much water. The kind of grass you have determines how much water is needed. Water your lawn in the morning. Consider installing lawn irrigation or using a garden sprinkler.

4. Decorate

Buy lots of yard gnomes and pink flamingoes and scatter them on your lawn, covering up eyesores. These yard decorations are like wallpaper: They hide a host of imperfections. If your neighbors object to your lawn art suggest that they move or draw their blinds.

3. Choose the right grass

If your lot is highly shaded but you want grass to grow, buy the right kind of grass seed. Do not buy rye grass or bluegrass because it’s not going to survive in the shade. Opt instead for fescue and fine fescue. If your lawn is exposed to very little sunlight (less than 50 percent) grass growth is simply not going to be abundant. Consider using foliage grown from seed and ground covers that do well in the shade or plant hostas and other plants that like the shade. If you are intent on planting grass do it in the fall after the trees have shed their leaves or in the spring after vegetation has leafed. Let the grass grow long before cutting it because this allows the grass to process needed energy. Mow the new grass when it is about four inches tall. Keep your animals and children off of the new grass.

2. Go green

What about goats? Don’t they eat grass? If you don’t have time to mow and maintain your lawn buy a herd of goats, following the lead of the states of Maryland and Colorado that recruited goats to control plant growth along state highways. Goats do not eat moving things so your wife and other pets are safe. Goats are a ‘green’ solution because they cut down on your carbon footprint. They’re also cheap labor.

1. Mow

Mowing is inevitable so bite the bullet and just do it. Compare types of mowers: electric or gas push mower, manual and riding mowers. Figure out which mower matches your physical ability and the size of your lawn. Mow your lawn when it is dry. If it has rained or the lawn has been water wait 12 hours before moving because you will spread fungi and weeds if you mow the lawn when it is wet. Your lawn does not need a buzz cut. In fact cutting it too short damages the grass. Let the grass grow to two or three inches before you mow it and then only cut one-third of the length for a healthy lawn. Mow in a vertical direction first and then horizontally. You can also mow in a diagonal pattern. Don’t worry about removing the cut grass. Leave it in place and it will decompose, which is healthy for your lawn. Get your kids in on the lawn care fun. Purchase a kid’s version of a mower and child size lawn tools for them but never allow small children to operate a real mower.