(CONSUMER REPORTS / WTVF) – Many people are rethinking how to care for their garden by avoiding lawn chemicals and fertilizers. Consumer Reports offers some simple strategies to improve the health of your lawn and make it safer for your family and the environment.

And Consumer Reports says it’s not that complicated. Let’s start with your lawn.

“It may seem counter-intuitive, but cut down on watering your lawn. Because less watering encourages the grass to grow deeper roots and develop resistance to drought, ”said Catherine Roberts, Consumer Reports health editor.

And because watering at night can actually encourage fungal growth, only water in the early morning. And while it gets a bad rap, clover is especially good for your lawn as it adds nitrogen and keeps other lawn weeds at bay.

When it’s time to mow, CR lawn care experts recommend keeping the grass a little higher – about 3 or 4 inches. Keep your mower’s blades sharp and use mulching mode which cuts the grass into fine clippings and places them back into the ground.

Grass clippings actually contain many of the same nutrients found in chemical-based fertilizers. And CR says when it comes to planting your garden you should adopt native plants.

“Native plants have evolved to thrive exactly where they are. And they will attract local birds as well as beneficial insects and pollinators, ”said Roberts.

And finally, if you have the space, add a compost heap or bin to recycle table waste and garden waste. You will be rewarded with nutrient-rich compost that your plants and lawn will love.

Remember that lawn needs vary based on climate, sun exposure, soil type, and grass. Consider reaching out to a local collaborative service for advice tailored to your lawn.