Yeah, green grass often works quite well, or grey road surface, or the back of your hand. Not all will necessarily give the correct meter reading (and grey roads can be quite variable, grass too but less so) but get you close and if you know that the back of your hand (or typical grass) is half a stop below correct (for example) then you can just meter your hand and add half a stop for a pretty accurate result.
Obviously, make sure that your hand (or whatever) is in the same light as the subject you intend to shoot.
However you choose to meter, it is well worth taking a test shot and checking the histogram, that will give you a very good idea of how good your exposure is.
If light is consistent and not likely to change, you can set exposure in manual and just leave it alone, if lighting is variable then you may be better off with Av or Tv and let them vary exposure as the shot varies between shade and bright sun, using EC if needed.