Americans love their lawns but not the work needed to keep them lush.
In fact, just 7 percent of adults prefer working on their lawn to other chores and activities, according to a Consumer Reports survey.
Sixty-two percent said they'd rather cook, one-third said they'd rather visit their in-laws, and nearly one in five (17 percent) said they'd rather go to the dentist.
CR recently outlined several ways in which homeowners can reduce up to 60 hours of yard care per year and still have an attractive lawn.
*Let the lawn go brown during dry spells. It's human nature to want to water a browning plant. But in the case of grass, the color change is merely an indication that the plant is entering a natural state of dormancy designed to conserve nutrients.
Don't make the mistake of giving it a light daily watering during dry spells; that will encourage a shallow root system that does more harm than good. Instead, give the lawn just one long soak, say, 30 minutes' worth, at which point it should be good for another month.
Hours saved annually: up to 12.
*Fertilize less frequently. Fertilizer companies recommend as many as five applications a year -- they're in the business of selling the stuff.
But many lawns can thrive with no more than two annual applications. Memorial Day and Labor Day are the ideal times (a bit earlier in the Deep South). If you fertilize only once, do it in September, using fall fertilizer.
Most high-quality products contain slow-release nitrogen, which promotes growth in the spring.
Hours saved annually: up to eight.
*Let the grass grow a bit longer. You probably know that cutting grass too short can compromise root development. But the long-held rule that you should never remove more than one third of the blade's total height has come under scrutiny.
Most domestic grasses can thrive with 50 percent or more of the blade removed. So you can let the lawn grow to about 5 1/2 inches before mowing.
Hours saved annually: up to 10.
*Live with certain weeds and pests. You might not love the look of dandelions, but they don't actually harm the lawn, and their penetrating tap roots might even improve the soil structure. But CR does recommend cutting off the heads before they go to seed.
Clover, which takes nitrogen from the air and distributes it in the soil, also has benefits.
Other lawn problems, however, are worth trying to eliminate. Crabgrass, for example, usually dies off at the first frost and promotes soil erosion. Try corn-gluten meal as an organic alternative to chemical herbicides.
And remember that thick grass is always the best defense against lawn problems, so seed bare spots to help build up turf.
Hours saved annually: up to five.
*Mulch, don't bag. As interest in eco-friendly lawn care continues to grow, the lawn mower bag is becoming less necessary.
The process of discharging finely cut clippings back onto the turf instead of bagging them saves time, plus it returns nutrients to the soil -- reducing your lawn's fertilizer needs by roughly 33 percent. That will help limit your fertilizer applications to once or twice a year.
Hours saved annually: up to 15.
*Give low-maintenance grasses a look. Instead of grabbing whatever seed mix is on sale at the local garden center, CR suggests considering one of the new slow-growth, drought-resistant species.
Fine fescues, including creeping red, chewings and hard, all qualify as low-maintenance. But fine fescues don't tolerate traffic well, so if your lawn doubles as a Wiffle Ball field, consider tall fescue. It does better underfoot but is susceptible to damage from ice cover.
You'll also find plenty of shade-resistant options, though trying to establish turf under the thick foliage of a maple or other shade tree can be a waste of time.
Hours saved annually: 15 or more.