While lush lawns won’t suddenly appear overnight, homeowners can take certain steps toward creating the stunning green lawns of their dreams.

- Don’t overreact to brown lawns. Lawns can turn brown for various reasons, but overreacting at the first sign of brown grass can make the situation worse. Some lawns turn brown because they have gone dormant to save energy for the cooler and more damp days to come. Applying fertilizer in such situations can damage rather than revitalize lawns. Fertilizers or chemicals applied to brown lawns may burn the lawn, creating additional stress that potentially hinders the lawns’ recovery.

- Aerate compacted soil. Compacted soil may be the culprit behind discolored lawns. Over time, soils of all kinds can become compacted, which prevents moisture from reaching a lawn’s roots. As a result, the roots don’t grow and the grass is denied the nutrients it needs to thrive. Aeration combats compacted soil by poking tiny holes in the ground to loosen the soil. Speak with a landscaping professional about the best time to aerate, which typically only needs to be done once per year. As compacted soil becomes looser, the lawn will become more resistant to drought and begin to resemble the lush green lawn you’re aiming for.

- Raise your mower blades. Some homeowners set their mower blades to the lowest possible setting so they can extend the intervals between cuts and reduce the number of times they mow in the hot summer sun. But cutting the grass too short exposes the soil to the sun, making it difficult for soil to retain moisture and promote deep, strong plant roots. When raising the blades, inspect them to make sure they are still sharp. Dull blades won’t cut the grass as cleanly as sharp ones, potentially causing tears in grass blades that invite disease and contribute to poor moisture retention.

- Address pest problems. Pests are unwanted guests who affect lawns in various ways, depending on the type of pest. Grubs feed on grass roots, while mites feed on the nutrient-rich juices that lawns need to thrive. Pest control may depend on the type of pest and how advanced the infestation is, so speak with a landscaping professional about your pest problems before attempting to combat the problem on your own.

Letting a pest problem fester may force you to replace the lawn entirely, but addressing it promptly can likely save you both the cost and heartache associated with such a project.