Our neighbors take great care to ensure that their pristine lawns are kept up perfectly. No pressure, but I have actually seen the guy next door out picking leaves up off the lawn one at a time. With two small kids, my husband and I don't have all the time in the world to spend on yard work. However, we've taken some small steps to get a respectable-looking lawn in a green and nontoxic way.
First, we bought an electric lawn mower. We talked about getting an old-fashioned push mower, but our yard is big enough and, in some places, steep enough, that it would have been extremely difficult. It charges in our garage and we can mow the entire front, back and side yards on one charge. It's quieter than a gas-powered motor and, of course, there are no fumes. We love it.
Second, we let the grass grow pretty high in between cuts. This allows the grass to be stronger and blot out the weeds on its own, so that's an added benefit to just using less energy than if you're mowing all the time.
Third, we use the clippings for mulch and compost. It works great and costs nothing, and it's easy to do.
You may have guessed now that we do our yard work ourselves, but we have discussed hiring a service to get some of the stubborn parts under control. Recently, a coworker told me he was using NaturaLawn and just loves it. It's apparently completely "organic, eco-friendly and nontoxic" and it doesn't cost a fortune. We are considering it, but hoping our DIY efforts will pay dividends and we won't have to spend money on a service.
I'd be curious to know if any of you readers out there use this service and learn what you think about it.