If you want the lawn that’s the envy of the neighborhood, you need to take several steps to get that kind of green.

Testing the Soil

It all starts with a soil test. You can pick up an inexpensive kit in most home centers that allow you to better know and understand the elements that are lacking in your soil. Next, take advantage of all the free advice and information you can get from a local agricultural center or university extension service. They can advise on amenities you should consider adding to your soil and the variety of grass that’s best for your property.

Visit the National Institute of Food and Agriculture to find an extension service near you.

Installing an irrigation system
A home irrigation system is an efficient way to water your lawn.

Installing an Irrigation System

If you really want a carefree lawn that requires minimal maintenance, definitely look into installing your own irrigation system. There are professionals who can do this for you, but it’s actually a great DIY project you can feel good about accomplishing.

Is it backbreaking work to install the lines? Well, it doesn’t HAVE to be. The hardest part is digging the trenches needed to lay the irrigation pipes.

Now, before you do anything, make sure you call 8-1-1. This is the number for the Call Before You Dig center in your state. Even if you’re digging in the backyard, call! While it’s true that most utility lines are along the front right-of-way, there are areas where they can run through the rear of your lot. Also, keep in mind any gas line past the meter, such as to a gas grill or gas light, are the property of the owner and not the utility company, so those would not be marked.

Check out Home Irrigation How-To for more info.

Toro trencher
Save time and effort (and your back!) by renting a trencher to dig the holes.

Using a Trencher

If you and your shovel are on a first-name basis, then be my guest. But my advice is to invest in a good trencher from an equipment rental company. My choice is always Compact Power Equipment Rental for jobs like this. I have one at my local Home Depot store (and they have rental centers in more than 1,000 locations across the country so there’s probably one near you, too), which makes renting super convenient. But you can also visit them online at compactpowerrents.com or call 888-COMPACT to inquire about the trenchers they have available in your area. At Compact Power, you can rent trenchers from trusted brands including Boxer and Toro so you have plenty of options.

It doesn’t matter how tough your soil may be, the teeth on these trenchers will cut through it easily. You can also decide how deep the trench is, so everything is uniform. It’s definitely a worthwhile investment. I’ve rented a trencher from Compact Power Equipment Rental on many occasions. These are great not only for irrigation lines, but adding power or other plumbing lines. I added power to a shed in the far back corner of my house and the trencher was perfect for that application, too.

I will add this suggestion: Any time you’re using a trencher you’ll wind up with a lot of debris, such as large rocks and tree roots. For a larger job, or one where you may be going in with a neighbor to split the rental, go ahead and rent a dump trailer at the same time. As you dig your trench, toss the excess materials into a dump trailer and haul it away! With a trencher and dump trailer from Compact Power, you can’t go wrong; you’ll get the job done and it’ll take less time and less stress on you to complete.

Editorial Contributors
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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