I know very few people that don't swoon over a perfectly manicured patch of lawn - even if they'll never admit to it. In fact, a number of studies over the years have suggested that humans may be "hard-wired" to feel most comfortable/safe in spaces that offer broad, unrestricted views of their surroundings.
That being said, I think we tend to go a little over-board when it comes to our perception of what a really good lawn should look like - that is, a perfectly manicured, championship-quality golf course!
That just simply isn't realistic, and may even be impossible given the conditions that exist around some homes - regardless of the amount of time and money spent.
For example, if your property is filled with large shade trees, if it's pretty wet in the spring or after heavy summer rains (above), or if it serves as the neighborhood football/soccer/baseball/lacrosse field, you may never be able to grow a really great lawn./p>
However, if basic conditions of sun and relatively well-drained soils are met, it is possible to have an attractive and environmentally-friendly lawn - by following a few simple rules that begin with getting away from the notion that you have to grow grass from property line to property line!
Rather, focus on growing a really nice lawn on a much smaller piece of your property where conditions are as close to ideal as possible and hopefully most visible - maybe just right around your patio or front walk, for example?
The reason for this is that one key to having a beautiful lawn is mowing correctly. This means mowing your lawn at a height of three inches with a very sharp blade, top at left. And, here comes the real kicker, you want to mow whenever your lawn reaches four inches - which means every three or four days in May through early to mid-June or even later if the weather is relatively cool and rainy, and again in September when your lawn starts growing relatively fast in response to cooler weather!
I'll eventually have a lot more detailed information on lawn care that you can link to from this page. Until then, however, you can download copies of my "Central New York Lawn Care" (102KB .pdf file), "Recommended Lawn Care Product" (94KB .pdf file), and "Lawn Seeding/Renovation" (87KB .pdf file) guides by clicking on the links along the right side of this page.
By the way, I hate to burst your bubble, but while almost every golf course looks like a perfect emerald-green sea on TV or from the road, if you take a walk out onto a fairway or even a putting green, you'd be surprised at how beat-up the grass often looks!