Lawn professionals usually do a great job, but most of the services they provide are easy to do yourself for a fraction of the cost. Fertilize at least 3 times a year, once in late August or early September, once in October and in spring as the grass starts to green up. If you water your lawn in the summer, also fertilize in June. Apply a weed preventer in spring to keep out crab grass, foxtail and other annual weeds. It’s convenient to buy fertilizer with weed preventer mixed in so you can apply both at the same time. Few lawn pests are as damaging as grouts, but an application of grub control easily stops the damage before it starts. Light infestations of dandelions and other broadleaf weeds can easily be controlled with a hand tool. Heavier infestations and spreading weeds like white clover are difficult to remove by hand. So, use a broadleaf weed killer if necessary. Spot spray rather than covering the entire lawn to reduce the amount of chemical you use. To reduce compaction and thatch, use a core aerator when soil is moist and grass is actively growing. Spring and fall are the best times. Don’t remove the cores. Let them stay on the lawn surface like this. A small manual aerator like this one is useful for very small arms or highly traffic spots. But for a full-sized lawn, rent a powered aerator. Whether you hire a lawn servicer or do it yourself, you should always mower the grass tall at 2 to 3 inches. This creates a healthier, more weed-free lawn. Finally, repair dead spots in fall or early spring, even the best lawn care can’t prevent a few brown patches. But they’re easy to fix with a product especially made for patch repair.