A healthy lawn will naturally discourage the growth of weeds.

My front lawn is mostly weeds, but I’d like to have grass. Where do I start? -Anita


Conquering a weedy lawn is quite a challenge! However, you can be successful if you keep one thing in mind: weeds are a signal that the grass in your yard isn’t happy. Simply spraying the weeds and planting more grass seed won’t solve the problem, because something’s causing the grass to die out. A healthy, thick lawn will naturally be low in weeds, and a weedy lawn needs lots of TLC to recover, usually in the form of soil improvement.

I found this out the hard way in my own yard when an inexperienced landscaper regraded my lawn with poor quality subsoil from a construction site. His argument was that the “sterile” soil was free of weed seeds, but I quickly learned that nothing would grow in that terrible soil EXCEPT weeds! Each year since, I have undertaken the steps I’ll explain below, to gradually correct that mistake.

To eliminate weeds from this lawn will take a lot of TLC!

Three Steps to a Weed Free Lawn

If you have the resources, you can always dig out the weeds and poor soil, bring in some high quality topsoil, and replant grass seed or sod. This can be expensive and requires some special equipment, so you may want the help of a licensed landscape contractor.

For a do-it-yourself approach, your best bet is to stop worrying so much about the weeds, and start worrying about your grass. If you focus on improving your soil and getting your grass healthy, many of the weeds will disappear on their own. If your soil and lawn are in really poor shape, it may take a few years to transform it, but you should see improvement each season.

Step 1: Yearly Lawn Makeover

Once a year – in the fall for cool-season grasses and spring for warm-season grasses – spend a weekend working on your lawn. When your lawn is healthy, you can back off to once every 3 or more years. Tasks include:

Step 2: Regular Lawn Maintenance

Throughout the year, take steps to care for your lawn according to the season and grass type. Proper watering, fertilizing (find out how to apply fertilizer), and mowing will go a long way toward strengthening your lawn.

Check out our spring, summer, and fall lawn care guides for more information on encouraging healthy grass.

Step 3: Target Weeds

Once you have a nice stand of grass, you may still have problems with occasional persistent weeds. To find out how to eliminate weeds, check out How To Control Weeds In Your Lawn for more information about organic and chemical solutions to weeds in an otherwise healthy lawn.

Further Information:

Visit our Lawn Care section for a wealth of articles and information about growing different types of lawns.

You might also want to check out our Spring Lawn Maintenance Handbook and Summer Lawn Maintenance Manual, for valuable insights and instructions to keep your lawn in top shape during the cool and warm months.

Editorial Contributors
avatar for Danny Lipford

Danny Lipford


Danny Lipford is a home improvement expert and television personality who started his remodeling business, Lipford Construction, at the age of 21 in Mobile, Alabama. He gained national recognition as the host of the nationally syndicated television show, Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford, which started as a small cable show in Mobile. Danny's expertise in home improvement has also led him to be a contributor to popular magazines and websites and the go-to source for advice on everything related to the home. He has made over 200 national television appearances and served as the home improvement expert for CBS's The Early Show and The Weather Channel for over a decade. Danny is also the founder of 3 Echoes Content Studio, TodaysHomeowner.com, and Checking In With Chelsea, a décor and lifestyle blog.

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