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What basics do you need to know when caring for grass?

The foundation of any fabulous-looking lawn is its soil. It's the root system that collects nutrients and makes it possible for new, healthy grass to grow. Soil needs to be sufficiently loose, absorbent and rich in order to effectively provide plants with essential nutrients.

The next major consideration that will determine how well your lawn looks is the type of grass you use. Climate and the amount of sunshine your lawn is exposed to are the two primary factors in choosing an appropriate grass. There are warm-season and cool-season grasses available. If you're looking for something more customized, mixtures combine different grass types, and the possibilities are plentiful. Another option is to use blends, which combine several types of the same grass. Although blends don't adapt as well as mixtures, they tend to be more attractive due to their uniformity.

Once you've decided on a good grass - right for your needs and your climate -- the next step is to plant it. In general, there are three planting techniques at your disposal: seeding, sodding and adding sprigs or plugs. Seeding is the cheapest and most commonly used of the three methods. Sodding is a more time-consuming process, but you'll see results instantly. While sod will allow you to see a sickly looking lawn - or a big patch of earth -- transform within a day into a lush, healthy lawn, it could take years until a seeded lawn is completely grown in. Your third planting option is adding sprigs or plugs, a method that has become quite popular. You'll have to specify your lawn's area and the company will then deliver the correct number of grass plants. While planting plugs and sprigs produces results more quickly than seeding, it's also a more expensive and labor-intensive process.