Do you remember the feel of Summer's first barefoot run across the lawn? As a kid, that green cushion underfoot meant hours of playing tag and watermelon seed spitting contests. As an adult, it means hours of mowing and maintenance. Finding that middle ground between delight and disenchantment can be challenging.

For less maintenance on your lawn consider a natural lawn care program. No chemical fertilizers are used, so you aren't getting that artificial growth spurt to be mowed more frequently. Also, natural and healthy root growth will be strong enough to keep out many weeds, while keeping pesticides and herbicides off the feet of your children and pets. The picture below of a lawn in Sioux Falls is an example of natural lawn care.

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Another alternative to hours of lawn care is lawn reduction. Every year I either extend an existing flower bed or create a new one. By using plants with similar watering needs and then mulching, less water is used to keep my yard looking good. With water restrictions becoming more common and more restrictive, this may be an option for you.

You may also find inspiration from the picture below. My neighbor has all but eliminated his grass. With the right placement of a few perennials and interesting containers planted with colorful annuals, they've created a unique and lovely landscape.

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If, however, you just can't let go of any of your lawn, keep in mind these few tips for summer lawn care. Water according to city regulations and lawn needs. Irrigation timers can be reset or replaced to run your system more efficiently. Keep your blades sharp to prevent the grass from tearing, which invites pests and disease. Mowing to a length of 2 inches or more will protect the roots of your lawn in summer from the heat of the sun.