My 10 Essential Products for the Perfect Lawn (No Pesticides)

My lawn care journey began with trial and error. I spent hours sifting through blogs, scrolling forums, reading product reviews, and testing tools on my lawn firsthand. There were successes, and there were failures. I found the right equipment. My lawn gradually grew greener. The crabgrass bunches stopped appearing. Then, I noticed my grass came to life in spring while all my neighbors’ lawns were brown.

What made my lawn so healthy and low-maintenance? What tools were truly essential? I was surprised when I realized that some of the things I used most weren’t on the lists I’d read online. Plus, some of the so-called essentials on those lists weren’t really useful when I tested them.

So, I made the list of essentials everyone with a lawn must have.

Every product on here is one I personally own and use regularly. These are the tools that keep my lawn green, resilient, and problem-free.

These are my necessary tools for maintaining a great lawn.

1. Lawn Mower

A lawnmower is an essential investment. With it, you can adjust your lawn care schedule to fit what your grass really needs. It will get the job done better than a hired lawn care service. Plus, buying your own mower will save you hundreds each year compared to paying someone else to cut your grass.

My mower is the Toro Recycler. It’s perfect for small-to-medium-sized yards where a riding mower isn’t necessary. For most homeowners, this is the only mower they’ll ever need.

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Favorite Features:

  • Maneuverable, lightweight, and stores easily.
  • Excellent at both mulching and bagging.
  • No issues with clumping or clogs during mowing.
  • Almost all hardware stores carry replacement parts for the mower and the Briggs & Stratton engine.

2. String Trimmer

A string trimmer is just as necessary as a lawn mower. Without one, you can’t trim the edges of your lawn or cut those long grass blades growing alongside your house. Whether you’re giving your lawn neat edges or cutting back overgrown grass that is too tall for mowing, a good string trimmer will get the job done.

After years of using traditional gas-powered string trimmers, I’m so glad I made the switch to my battery-powered Toro string trimmer (as you can tell, I love Toro products). The electrical start is simpler and more reliable than battling a two-stroke engine. The quality of the trimming is excellent for such a light, quiet, low-maintenance trimmer.

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Favorite Features:

  • Uses the same battery as my other Toro tools (such as my leaf blower).
  • Best power out of any battery-powered string trimmer I’ve used.
  • Easy for beginners to use.
  • Comfortable handle that is easy to adjust.

3. Leaf Blower

Trust me, your leaf blower won’t collect dust in your garage until fall. I find myself using my blower to clean up grass clippings each time I finish mowing. It allows me to give my lawn a finished look, fast. Of course, the blower does get a workout when the leaves come down in fall, so I made sure to choose one that would stand up to the task.

Like with my string trimmer, I switched from a gas-powered model to electric and never looked back. Now, I save on gas and eliminate small-engine maintenance tasks from my chores. Since it’s always ready to go, it’s convenient to grab my electric blower whenever I need to tidy up mulch spilling out of the flowerbeds.

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Favorite Features:

  • The battery is the same as my Toro string trimmer, so I can always have one charging while the other battery is in use.
  • Very lightweight compared to gas-powered blowers.
  • The two-handle design makes maneuvering the blower in tight spaces easy.

4. Broadcast Spreader

I didn’t know how much I’d need a spreader for my lawn until I got my hands dirty. I use it four times yearly to apply lawn fertilizer. Then, I use it to spread grass seed in the fall. During winter, it becomes my go-to for spreading ice melt on my driveway and sidewalks. What I thought was a niche tool turned out to be a year-round savior.

My Scott’s spreader never fails. Whether I load the hopper with fertilizer, seed, salt, or grub control, it casts the granules evenly. Handheld spreaders never worked for me. They run empty so soon you can hardly cover any ground. The large capacity of this spreader means that I usually only fill it once to tackle the whole job.

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Favorite Features:

  • Holds enough product (seeds or fertilizer) to cover 5,000 square feet of lawn at once.
  • Spreader settings allow me to adjust to different products.
  • Durable enough for all-weather use (including during icy winters).

5. Sprinklers

Sprinklers are a must for a healthy lawn, but you don’t have to break the bank to get exactly what you need. With only a small investment you can create your own lawn sprinkler system. It will prevent your lawn from dying off during the hot summer months. Plus, sprinklers are essential to ensure grass seed and sod survives after planting.

I use two types of sprinklers for my lawn. This oscillating sprinkler takes center stage in the middle of my yard, where it can water up to 4,500 square feet of grass. At the corners of my lawn I added these spike sprinklers. They hit the hard-to-reach areas the oscillating sprinkler misses.

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Favorite Features:

  • Easy installation. The oscillating sprinkler can be placed anywhere.
  • Inexpensive compared to sprinkler system kits and professional installation.
  • Flexible use: these sprinklers are great for almost any yard.
  • Not permanent. If I move, I can take these sprinklers out in a few minutes and bring them to my new home.

6. Rain Bird Automatic Watering Timer

When you invest in an automated sprinkler timer two things will happen. First, you’ll never have to deal with the chore of watering again. Second, your lawn will grow healthier within the first few weeks. No more turning on the water, setting timers, and remembering to turn off the sprinklers when time’s up.

This Rain Bird timer turned my inexpensive sprinkler setup into a pro lawn-watering system overnight. All I had to do was install the timer on my outdoor faucet and connect my watering hose. From there, the Rain Bird waters at the exact time I set. It’s my number one hack for getting more out of inexpensive sprinklers.

Automate Your Lawn and Garden Watering
Lawn and Garden Watering Timer | Rain Bird
  • Advanced Scheduling: This easy-to-use 7-day digital timer is ideal for use with hose-end sprinklers, drip irrigation, and soaker hose, allowing you to program up to two watering times per day, any day(s) of the week.
  • Flexible Watering: It's perfect for watering all areas of your yard, including gardens, landscaping beds, and both newly seeded and established lawns, with a working water pressure of 15 psi (minimum) – 90 psi (maximum).
  • User Control: Instant override buttons for Rain Delay (cancel watering) and Water Now (manual watering) provide full control, while the device displays program status such as the next scheduled cycle and time remaining on the current cycle.
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Favorite Features:

  • Eliminated watering chores immediately.
  • Fast setup and simple installation.
  • Automated lawn watering at a low price.
  • No need to worry about lawn watering while I’m busy or traveling.

7. Rain Gauges

No matter where you live, rain gauges are a must for your lawn. Even if it hasn’t rained for months, they’re useful for measuring the performance of your sprinklers. Without rain gauges, it’s almost impossible to tell if your lawn is being watered evenly. If rain does fall, these gauges will tell you how much water your lawn got. This helps you cut back watering when necessary to prevent drowning your grass.

This pack of 10 rain gauges is all you’ll ever need, and it comes at a low price. I placed these gauges throughout my lawn to measure sprinkler performance. They helped me discover that the side yard where my grass struggled wasn’t getting enough water. Once I adjusted the sprinklers, the grass there took off.

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Favorite Features:

  • Cheapest and best product I’ve found to test if my sprinklers are watering evenly.
  • Allows me to tell at a glance if an area is overwatered or underwatered.
  • Tracks natural rainfall so I know when to pause watering.

8. Milorganite Fertilizer

Every lawn needs fertilizer. Grass roots continually pull nutrients from the soil in order to grow. So, if you’re not replenishing your soil nutrients, your grass will begin to struggle. If you’re not sure what fertilizer is best, Milorganite is the best one-size-fits-all fertilizer I’ve found.

I’ve written many articles on the benefits and drawbacks of different fertilizers. However, I keep coming back to Milorganite. This slow-release fertilizer is gentle on lawns, so you won’t get those burnt patches of grass caused by more aggressive fertilizers. I use it for all four of my annual fertilizer applications.

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Favorite Features:

  • High iron content makes grass greener.
  • Slow-release nitrogen fuels grass growth for two months after application.
  • Environmentally friendly fertilizer made from recycled microbes.
  • Outperforms higher-priced competitor fertilizers.

9. Grass Seed

Like all plants, grass has a limited lifespan. If your lawn is not reseeded each year, older grass plants will die off. This leaves your lawn bare and patchy. Once these gaps emerge in your grass weeds invade. So, it’s essential to use grass seed to continually replenish your lawn and keep pest plants out.

Although I use this grass seed, the seed type you choose depends on what’s already growing in your lawn. Generally, it’s best to seed your lawn with the same variety of grass that’s already growing there. It’s also essential to know whether to grow warm or cool-season grass in your region.

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Favorite Features:

  • Overseeding keeps my lawn thicker and chokes out weeds.
  • Keeping grass seed on hand allows me to reseed damaged areas when necessary.
  • Once you find the right grass for your lawn, it’s easy to grow.

10. Compost

Compost is a lawn savior. Spreading compost onto a recently aerated lawn brings water, nutrients, and oxygen deep into the soil. If you’ve just spread grass seed, covering it with a thin layer of compost will help it sprout. A protective compost layer also stops birds from eating all your new grass seed.

I use this composted manure to feed and protect my lawn after maintenance. Compost is excellent at retaining moisture, so spread a layer of it on the soil any time I’m seeding or installing sod.

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Favorite Features:

  • Natural fertilizer and seed protector.
  • Inexpensive and versatile.
  • Can be used for grass or garden plants.

What Tools Do You Need for Lawn Care?

The top 10 tools that my lawn could not live without are:

  1. Lawn mower
  2. String trimmer
  3. Leaf blower
  4. Broadcast spreader
  5. Sprinklers
  6. Automated watering timer
  7. Rain gauges
  8. Lawn fertilizer
  9. Grass seed
  10. Compost

I’m confident that with these 10 items, I could help any lawn thrive. Even better, these tools are the best I’ve found for taking the work and worry out of lawn care. By investing in the right equipment, your lawn will grow healthy and weed-free. So, you’ll have more time to enjoy your yard.

A bag of Milorganite fertilizer on my driveway.

Top 5 Reasons Why I Use Milorganite on My Lawn

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