How to Have a Great Lawn without Breaking a Sweat

Offering reliable landscaping services to homeowners in British Columbia since 2013

Picture of Sam Maerz

Sam Maerz

Owner/Site Foreman

Back 40 Landscaping offers clients three unique services when it comes to Turfgrass and lawns including

  1. Annual Turfgrass Program

  2. Lawn Renovation

  3. New Lawn / Turfgrass Installs


An Annual Turfgrass Program is different than a lawn care service

Our Turfgrass Program by Back 40 Landscaping is a year-round planned approach to growing healthy turfgrass. This year after year program is designed to combat the summer heat and winter frost. This is completely different from a lawn care service, which is a short-sighted, single service approach.

An Annual Turfgrass Program will cost between $800 - $3,000 on average

Anyone can grow good grass in the spring when the weather conditions are favorable and easy. Not everyone can keep the grass thick, dark green, and healthy during the summer months, unless they have a well – managed Turfgrass Program.

Growing Healthy Turf

There are a lot of variables and nearly as many cultural practices for growing healthy turf. The extreme stress in the summer months is the sole driving force behind my yearly Turfgrass Program.

Backed by decades of research, experience, and trials, I can help you cultivate and maintain the best lawn in the neighborhood.

Your Commitment

To be successful we both need to be on the same team.
For your part, Cultural Practices (the daily/weekly care) are very important. I can teach you about:

  • Mowing frequency
  • Mowing height
  • Mulching (and NOT bagging)
  • Raking debris off of the lawn
  • And generally taking regular care of your lawn

Once you are committed to giving your lawn the care and attention it needs, we can begin

A Word About Grass Bagging

Bagging lawn clippings actually strips the soil of nutrients whereas mulching or side discharging helps to keep the nutrients in the soil. Mowing often allows for smaller clippings. Who wants to bag, and dispose of clippings anyways? If mowing is done when dry (and often), you will not track clippings around and into your home.

Soil Testing - The Most Important First Step

Our first and most important step is to have a proper soil test done. Without a soil test, we don’t know what nutrients your soil needs, or in what quantities.

I use a lab test to test your soil for the following:


  • Nitrogen – The most important nutrient and in the largest quantity. Nitrogen aids in rapid shoot growth and promotes a healthy rich green color in your lawn.
  • Potassium – Essential for strong root and shoot growth.
  • Phosphorus – Keeps your lawn resistant to weeds, disease and is an overall health booster.

Secondary Nutrients:

  • Calcium


  • Iron
  • Copper
  • Chlorine
  • Magnesium
  • Zinc
  • Boron
  • Sulfur
  • Manganese Molybdenum
  • And more


Along with testing your soil’s Ph levels we also test the organic matter content and CEC – Cation Exchange Capacity (how much fertilizer or lime is needed to make the correct changes in this specific soil). See “Lawn Fertilizing” below.

Case Study

Years ago, I hired a local company to provide a plan for my own lawn. I was told we needed lime and if we wanted to apply it heavy, we could put down 2 bags (100lbs).
Without a soil test however, they had no way of knowing exactly what, if any, we needed.

After I had conducted my own soil test, we discovered we needed over 2500 lbs of lime to achieve perfect pH levels.

We added that amount and now have perfectly adjusted pH, which won’t have to be adjusted for a long time now.

Lawn Fertilizing

Fertilizing 5 times a year with a slow release product allows for a constant food source. This avoids stressing the turf and provides a nice dark green uniform color.

Typical Yearly Fertilizing Schedule* *UPDATED for 2021 (mild 2020/2021 winter)

  • March – Fertilizer, & (moss control if needed)
  • May – Fertilizer, weed control application
  • July – Fertilizer, weed control application
  • August – Summer heat break
  • September – Aeration, seed, fertilizer
  • October – Fall fertilizer & (lime if needed)

Moss control is done as needed

Typically, after a few years the moss is gone and rarely has to be treated for again. If moss is growing there is an underlying turf problem that we will need to address. This could be thin grass due to shade or improper mowing. Moss is not growing just because we live in the Pacific Northwest. Fix the problem and we get rid of the symptom.

Lawn Weed Control

Weed control applications are best timed for 2 days after and 2 days prior to mowing. The grass should be healthy and not drought stressed. Oftentimes, weeds grow because the grass has been mowed too short. Mowing at 3-4” physically shades out the weeds, and half of them die. Weed control applications are a 2nd alternative to healthy cultural practices.

Summer Heat Break

The summer months - THE MOST IMPORTANT few months of the year...

Everything we have done up to this point and what we do after summer are specifically for these few critical months. The summer heat is very hard on lawns and without water, your lawn will die.

What you do consistently (Cultural Practices) will make a huge difference

Mowing high at 3.5” – 4” will shade the soil and slow evaporation. A healthy turf-stand will not look long if it is thick. You can only tell a lawn is mowed high if you can see it from the side. Bare spots or thin spots are places that make the lawn look overgrown. With thick grass you lose the depth perspective.

Mowing – Mowing promotes grass growth however, in summer when your lawn is drought stressed, you will want to mow less frequently to help your lawn survive.

Watering – Water is very important. If you can, water deep and infrequently. Water somewhere in the neighborhood of 1.5” every 7-12 days. Wind, and temperature will determine exact amounts. When you see the lawn look a little dull, or your footprints in the lawn don’t spring back up, it’s time to water.

If you can’t water, then you need to conserve water by mowing High. This will help leave the water and dense clippings to decompose back into the soil. We also recommend topdressing with compost every spring. Compost, just like mulch, retains a lot of water and acts like a reservoir. It also shades the soil and provides very valuable slow release nutrients.

Fall Lawn Care

Once summer is over and the temperatures have cooled, it’s time to do most of our work. Fall lawn care is the most important time to repair and rebuild from the damage of summer. Your lawn will have time to grow and become strong to take on next summer, approximately in 9 months.

Aerating Your Lawn

We Aerate for 2 reasons:

  1. The first reason to aerate your lawn is to incorporate some organic material into the soil. Aeration puts holes several inches into the soil. This physically opens the ground up for clippings to fall into and allows air and nutrients to get to the roots.
  2. The second reason to aerate your lawn is to provide a pocket for new grass seed to germinate it. Grass seed has to be in direct contact with soil to germinate. Lawn seed that is simply spread on top of the soil will not grow. It either needs to be in an aeration hole, or have compost spread on top of it. Soil would also work, but its not as nutrient rich as compost. Fertilizer is also applied at this time to provide nutrients for the existing lawn and the new grass seed.

Lawn Seeding

The type of lawn seed we use matters. Most commonly used seeds would be:

  • Perennial Ryegrass for high traffic lawns
  • Kentucky Bluegrass for fine soft blades
  • And tall Fescue Grass for shade resistance


Our mixes contain several types of creeping grasses that grow sideways as well. This fills in bare spots and over time contributes to a thick turf-stand. Ryegrass and Bluegrass perform best when mowed at 3-3.5” high, while Fescue performs best when mowed at 3.5-4” tall.

Fall Fertilizing

Fall fertilizer for your lawn is the final application of the year and provides food through the winter. It is stored in the plant and used as needed. Fall fertilizer gives you a head start on next spring and ensures quick green up.


The second type of lawn care service we offer is Lawn renovation

This is a stand-alone lawn care service designed to revive an old lawn and clean up after construction, etc.

A lawn renovation will cost between $2,000 - $5,000 on average

It does not include grade changes. (I.E fixing high or low spots, or correcting drainage slopes)

Back 40 Landscaping can also do a soil test at this time to determine what nutrients your soil needs.

The test results will also be useful if you have signed up for the Yearly Turfgrass Program as we will need to know what fertilizer your soil needs going forward.

Lawn renovation can include spraying off the entire lawn or weeds prior to the Aeration, Seed, and Fertilizer application.

We can also Top-dressing with compost for its nutrients, and for seed to soil contact.

3. New Lawn / Turfgrass Installs

New Lawn / Turfgrass Installs is the third type of lawn care service we offer.

This stand-alone service is an extension of the Lawn Renovation Service.

A New Lawn will cost between $2,000 - $10,000 on average

A New Lawn is designed to revive an old lawn and clean up after construction, etc., but it includes grade changes such as fixing high or low spots or correcting drainage slopes using our Harley Power Rake.

Harley Power Rake Benefits:

  • It doesn’t remove existing soil and nutrients only debris like rocks, sticks etc
  • It costs much less than scraping and hauling away old topsoil and replacing it with new topsoil
  • It works with what is there and uniformly reshapes the lawn grade
  • It can be laser graded as well for a perfectly sloped site


The New Lawn service can include adding large quantities of sand (for drainage) or compost (to add nutrients). It can also include spraying off the entire lawn or just the weeds prior to Aeration, Seed, and Fertilizer applications.

Back 40 Landscaping can also do a soil test at this time to determine what nutrients your soil needs.

The test results will also be useful if you have signed up for the Yearly Turfgrass Program as we will need to know what fertilizer your soil needs going forward.

We can also Top-dressing with compost for its nutrients, and for seed to soil contact.


As you can tell, with our Turfgrass Program we put a lot of time and effort in to growing healthy turfgrass. It’s a huge passion of mine, and I look forward to working alongside you to grow great healthy turfgrass for you and your family!

If you still have questions or if you would like a quote for my Back 40 Landscaping Turfgrass Program, please send me an email or call me at 778-808-1007

Cultural Practices – Tips for Proper Lawn Care

  • Mow around 3.5” High.
  • Never mow more than a 1/3 off at a time. If needed mow again a minimum of 2 days later.
  • Have sharp blades.
  • Don’t bag if possible.
  • Stay off a wet lawn.
  • Mow grass when it is dry.
  • Don’t mow in the heat of the day, either mow on a cool day, or later in the afternoon.(The hot sun cooks the tips of freshly cut grass)
  • Try not to let things lay on the grass. After a couple days to a week, a frisbee or clumps of grass will kill the grass below it

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