Clipboard researched by Kathie Bozanich and Susan Davis Greene / Los Angeles Times; Graphics by Doris Shields / Los Angeles Times

The lawn is the most important feature of home landscaping. Not only does a bright green lawn enhance the beauty of your home, it increases the property value and serves vital environmental functions such as absorbing noise and preventing soil erosion.

Here are some basic tips for growing, planting and caring for a lawn:

* Grading: Remove all debris and grade the area by removing all topsoil.

* Soil preparation: About a week or two before planting grass seeds, prepare the soil with a mixture of lime and phosphate fertilizer (it can be purchased at any lawn and garden store).


* Planting: Seeds should be selected depending on soil and location. Grass is planted normally by one of three methods: seeding, sodding or sprigging. Seeding is the most common and cheapest way because it can just be done by hand-spreading the seed. Sodding is the most expensive method. Sections of soil with grass covering (it looks like a grass rug) are put down on the area. With sprigging, small chunks of grass are planted in various areas. As the sprigs grow their stems begin to root in the soil.

* Maintenance: Good lawn care can be summed up in four basic steps: watering, fertilizing, mowing and preventing disease. You must keep a watchful eye for pests and weeds, as they can destroy a lawn very quickly. Regular watering, fertilizing and mowing will keep your lawn healthy as well as beautiful.

Source: Kellogg’s Guide to Planting pamphlets.