Good lawn care, landscaping and gardening are a point of pride for many people. From the satisfaction of a perfectly mowed lawn to the joys of gardening, these activities are an integral part of homeownership. If you’re looking for a greener lawn, heartier plants or just a few shortcuts for your yard chores, here are some helpful tips.

Water the right way

If possible, water before 9:00 a.m. to fortify plants against the day’s heat while minimizing water loss to evaporation. If your lawn’s grass blades look withered or snap easily – or you can’t easily push a screwdriver 6 inches into the ground — it’s a sign that your yard is too dry. Aim for plants’ roots, not their tops, with sprinklers and watering cans to ensure the water is getting where it’s needed. When arranging flower beds, keep plants in tight groups to allow them to share soil and root systems to prevent them from drying out.

Wrangle up weeds

Pick weeds regularly to prevent them from competing with your plants for resources and spreading. Organic mulch will help stop new weeds from taking root while holding in moisture and enriching the soil. Pass up free mulch unless you know the source to avoid introducing weeds, mushrooms, diseased woods or other menaces.

Be gracious to your grass

Protect your grass from the dangers of improper mowing, chemicals and foot traffic. Don’t mow with dull blades or cut off more than an inch of grass in one go to prevent turning your lawn brown. Water well after fertilizing and douse pet urine with water to avoid turning your grass yellow. If parts of your lawn are being worn down by foot traffic, consider turning them into a proper path with slate or concrete pathing stones.

Considering mowing no more

If you’re looking to minimize or eliminate your need to mow, you have a few options. “No-mow” grass, clover or a blend won’t provide the same well-manicured appearance as a mowed lawn, but they offer a green covering with less upkeep. Hardscaping with gravel, slate tiles or other rocklike ground cover eliminates plant care and water use altogether and is ideal for drought-susceptible and desert regions.

These tips should help you get better results and value from the time and money you invest in landscaping.