If only you had the lawn care products the pros love and use —imagine how great your grass would look.
Here you go.
Chase Coates, owner of Outback Landscape, shares his secrets — the best lawn care products for the greenest, healthiest, most weed-free lawns.
You heard it here first.
It All Starts with Super Seed
Don’t scrimp on cheap seed.
Coates counts on Lesco seed mixes.
He likes to use their tall fescue seed on hillsides surrounding homes and business. While bluegrass seed is great for the main lawn, the tall fescue is drought tolerant and helps with erosion by providing a sturdy root system.
“It’s a nice natural buffer, blending into a hillside,” he says. “And you can’t kill it.”
Coates loves the Granite Seed company’s Rocky Mountain wildflower mix.
It includes an impressive variety of annual and perennial wildflower seeds — California poppy, Scarlet flax, mountain phlox, plains coreopsis, purple coneflower, Rocky Mountain iris, black-eyed Susan, Colorado columbine, Aspen daisy, Iceland poppy and many more.
Pro tip: one bulk pound covers 2,000 square feet.
These colorful beauties will bloom spring through fall.
“It looks super cool,” Coates says. “We like to use it around the perimeter of houses.”
It’s great mixed in with that tall fescue grass he mentioned earlier.
Spray the tall fescue for a year to rid it of weeds, he says. (Once you add wildflowers, you can’t use herbicide.) Then after a year mix in the wildflower seed.
“It’s a very clean look,” he says, “with very little maintenance.”
Bonus: wildflowers are super trendy right now.
Fertilizer: Bring On The Green
Coates uses a bulk fertilizer mix from Lesco.
But if you want a handy grab from the hardware store or garden center, he also likes Scott’s Turf Builder, a lawn food that thickens your grass to crowd out new weeds and strengthens your lawn to help protect it against future problems.
“If you have a newly seeded lawn, it gives your lawn a nice boost in the spring,” Coates says. “It pushes the top growth.”
If you have an established lawn, he recommends using Lesco granular fertilizer in the spring.
Zap Weeds Like the Pros
Coates uses Dow Snapshot pre-emergent in planting beds. Why pull more weeds than you have to?
“It works really well in our climate,” he says. “A couple applications really keeps the weeds down.”
Snapshot, available at many home improvement and garden centers, is safe to use around trees and shrubs, Coates says, but don’t use it around annuals or bulbs. It tends to burn annuals and it will prevent bulbs from coming up.
Put it down as soon as the ground temperature stays above 40 degrees — usually around mid-March. Six weeks later you can apply this granular pre-emergent again.
Another of his favorite weed zappers is Preen Weed Preventer, which stops weeds from germinating in flower beds, in ground covers and around trees and shrubs. Preen won’t kill existing weeds, but it will prevent new weeds from sprouting.
One of the best lawn care products you can invest in is a quality mower, Coates says. He should know.
“We mow as much in one season as a homeowner will for the rest of his life,” Coates says.
When you need a workhorse mower, choose one from Walker, he says.
Choose a bagging mower, he suggests. Here in Idaho, mulching lawn clippings works in the hottest summer months. But in other seasons, we don’t have the high temperatures and humidity needed to break down the grass clippings between mowings.
Bagging clippings keeps everything neater.
For hardcore mowing, Coates likes Walker’s 25 horsepower mower with 48-inch deck. There are lots of cool attachments for this model, including a 48-inch dozer blade for clearing sidewalks of snow, a snow blower attachment and a handy gizmo for dethatching your lawn in the spring.
“It’s versatile,” he says. "It gets in and out of tight spaces. And you can use its attachments year-round.”
For lower-key residential mowing, (and a smaller price tag) Walker’s model B is a good bet, he says.
Looking for a local Rexburg area distributor? Try Coates Landscape Supply. (Full disclosure— it’s his parents’ company.)
Be Water Wise
Coates highly recommends Hunter’s Hydrawise WiFi irrigation controller. If you don’t have one, you’re likely wasting a lot of water.
This smart system uses data from sensors, weather forecasts and plant-care databases to deliver just the right amount of water to your property at just the right time. No more worrying that your sprinkler system is chugging away during a rainstorm.
Not only can you operate it from your smartphone, but, with permission, Outback irrigation technicians can access your system with their phones, too, changing your programming if needed.
It sends notifications if something goes wrong with your system, so irrigation techs can make the repairs before your plants start turning brown from lack of water.
“Even if you don’t care about the water conservation aspect, you probably care about your basement flooding,” Coates says. “We have a lot of basements in our area. Some HOAs have downspouts that are six inches apart. That means you’ll have two flooded basements if your sprinklers are on while it rains.”
Why Splurge On Seed?
“The quality bluegrass seed we buy doesn’t pop up overnight or fill in real fast,” Coates says. “You have to be patient. But when it does fill in, it’s a darker green. It greens up quicker in the spring and stays green longer in the fall.
“If you buy a cheap grass blend, it contains a lot more rye grass seed,” he says.
Rye is a thin blade grass, designed mainly to protect the nicer bluegrass seed as it grows.
While rye pops up in a speedy 5 to 7 days, bluegrass seed takes 26 to 29 days to germinate
“Rye may pop up fast, but it won’t be awesome,” Coates says. “Grass from cheap seed will always be stringy and not give you a healthy-looking lawn.”
Why Invest In Good Fertilizer?
Less expensive fertilizer might not have a slow release coating that causes it to gradually release into the soil over time, Coates says.
You may get an impressive six inches of top growth in a week, he says, but don’t get too excited.
“Once you cut it, it will turn yellow,” he says.
Invest in a high-quality fertilizer and your lush results will last three months.
Is your lawn ready for a new best friend?
In 2019, Outback Landscape Inc. acquired Idaho Falls based lawn care company, Lawn Buddies.
Hundred of homeowners in Eastern Idaho have been counting on Lawn Buddies to provide reliable lawn care services since 2001. Think of it as a new friendly face with the same level of service you've come to expect from Outback Landscape.
Getting started is easy: