When you walk around your neighborhood, do you find that everyone else has a lush, green lawn, whereas your own lawn has patches of dead grass, and most of it is yellowish and unattractive anyway! It's time to do some work to bring your lawn back to health.
Just because you live in the same geographic area as your neighbors doesn't mean that your soil is necessarily the same as theirs. So the first thing you should do is some soil tests, to find out what the pH balance ("power of Hydrogen") of the soil is. If your soil is too alkaline, or too acidic, your grass and flowers will not grow well.
If your soil is not balanced properly, there's no need to despair. Add lime (for example calcic limestone) to the soil if it is too acidic, and add iron sulfate to your soil to correct alkaline soil. You'll want to consult with a gardening professional to know exactly how of this material you should add.
What type of soil have you? If you've got soil with too much clay, you're going to have drainage problems - because clay retains water practically forever, which is bad. Sandy soil, on the other hand, dries out too quickly. These problems can be solved by adding peat moss or compost.
But let's say your soil is just right for growing lush green grass. Then what's the problem?
Does your lawn receive enough sun?
If your lawn is scattered with lots of large trees, it's quite possible that their foliage prevents enough sunlight from getting through to your lawn. Consider thinning out the branches. And if you have trouble with your grass dying right underneath your trees, try using groundcover instead, although there are other solutions you can try.
Does your lawn receive enough water? Or too much?
Water's water at all times, but it doesn't behave the same at all times. The heat of the sun evaporates water, of course, so it is best to water in the early morning, or late at night. Never water during the heat of the day. And never water your lawn too much - that's as bad as watering it too little.
Do you water the entire lawn fairly, or do you cheat? Do some spots get more water than others? It's important that your entire lawn be watered equally. If you want to take the human element out of the equation, you can always install an automatic sprinkling system in your yard. But that requires digging up sections of the lawn in order to bury the hoses, and those sprinkler heads can play havoc when you're trying to mow. Still, it's something to consider.
The patter of tiny feet
If you have a lot of kids, or teens, for that matter, playing active games on your lawn such as touch football or catch, they're going to be running around compressing and compacting the soil, which drives out the oxygen plants need to survive. The solution to this can be to aerate your lawn - use a device that punches holes in the soil to loosen it. Aerate your lawn at least once a year.
Does your lawn get mowed properly?
If you don't like to mow the lawn (and who does?) you may decide to solve the problem by mowing it as short as possible, so that it takes a while for it to grow out before you have to mow again. But this actually stresses out the grass, and is not at all good for it. Neither is letting your grass grow too long. Apart from aesthetic considerations, it causes problems with the amount of water and sunlight that reaches the soil.
Ever heard of thatch? It's the dead grass and other material that forms a layer on the soil below the grass itself. This chokes out new growth. Get a de-thatching rake and take care of it.
What kind of grass do you have?
If you've implemented all these solutions and your lawn still doesn't look as nice as your neighbor's, it may be something as simple as the kind of grass you have. Grass comes in different shades of green, from dark green to yellow. Some grass is more resilient to pounding feet than others, and to extremes of heat and cold.
By considering these elements, you'll find that your lawn will soon be the smooth, velvet carpet of green you always envisioned.
Andrew Caxton is the editor of different articles published at http://www.lawn-mowers-and-garden-tractors.com , with reference to lawn care and hillside gardening . You can find more information and resources on landscaping at his website.