Spruce up your backyard this spring
It’s that time of year again. We get the opportunity to trade in our winter coats for springtime shorts and venture out into our backyards. After being stuck indoors for months, we tend to look at the outdoors with a new perspective.
Plant a New Garden
Planting a new garden is a massive undertaking. The first step is to figure out how large you want to make the garden bed. The bed should be about 20 x 25, if you have the space for it. This will give you the maximum space for
Now that you’ve figured out how large your garden will be, you have to think about location. Your garden will need ample sunlight— at least five hours a day. When you plant your garden, try to free up the space around it of weeds, bushes and trees. Your flowers or produce will have a better chance of thriving. If you have a densely vegetated yard, you may need some extra help such as hiring a professional or a backhoe rental from Sunbelt Rentals. With a backhoe, you’ll have to dig a rut around your expected garden placement. The rut should dip below the nearest root system. Using a backhoe for this process will make things go much smoother and faster.
Once your rut is dug, place a heavy material, something roots can’t break through, into the rut. Fill it back in with the freshly dug soil. You should dig about two feet into the ground to ensure that your garden has plenty of vitamin-rich soil to feed.
Plant New Grass
If you’re not looking to go as aggressive as digging up your backyard and planting a brand-new garden, laying down new grass may give you a fresh perspective on your yard.
Before you start planting, test your soil for available nutrients and ph levels. Take samples from several different parts of your yard. Make sure the soil you remove is more than eight inches deep into the ground. There are plenty of local organizations that can test this sample you’ve produced. Contact your lawn care service for more information.
A simple roto-tiller will aid in preparing your lawn to be seeded with new grass. Set the tiller for a six-inch dig and run it over the portion of the yard where you want grass. If your lawn is new, this tilling should suffice. If not, you’ll want to obtain a verticutter. The verticutter creates perfect planting rows out of freshly dug and sifted soil.
The verticutter can also help you plant your new grass seed. The general recommendation is to throw your seed and verticut at least one time. Then, lay some more grass seed and use a hoe to displace this added seed. This process will give you a better coverage of grass. Once your seed is ready, water the ground immediately. Continue to water for one week after the grass starts to break through your yard.
Courtney is a yoga teacher and naturopath who writes for a variety of health and exercise blogs from her home in Maine.
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As the gray tones of winter are replaced by the rejuvenating green of spring, your lawn will need your help resuscitating it back from its dormancy. Blades of jade green grass won't flourish without considerable sweat from your brow, however. Slip on your gardening gloves over your green thumbs and ready your lawn for the spring season.
Soil & Seed
Growing a new grass lawn— or even barren patches— require much physical labor and time. Before sowing seeds, you'll need to tend to the soil, now compacted from winter's chill and rendered unsuitable for engendering new growth. Equip either a spade or rototiller to loosen the soil in preparation for planting. According to HGTV.com, experts recommend using the combo of sand, compost, loam and original topsoil for nutrient enrichment. Use a roller to press down the soil and grade the spot with a rake. Testing the pH of soil is an oft neglected step when planting new seeds. HGTV suggests testing soil with do-it-yourself kits or utilizing your state's designated agricultural university.
If you want to save money, you may not want to roll out the green sod carpet and opt for hydroseeding instead. In comparison to seeding by hand, this process ensures even distribution of seeds. The seeds are usually combined in a slurry of mulch, fertilizer, wood fibers and other additives.
The lawn mower is instrumental to your lawn's health. After winter inactivity, refill the gas tank, replace the oil and make any other reparations. To ensure it slices grass blades in complete uniformity, hone your mower's blades to razor sharpness. See, mowing the lawn is analogous to shaving. A sharpened blade will slice through stubble with ease compared to a dull blade ripping or pulling hair and lacerating skin. When it comes to mowing the lawn, less is more— as far as cutting goes. Set the blades higher for taller grass. Higher, denser grass also prevents crabgrass germination by blocking it from its ultraviolet energy source. TLC suggests that warm weather grasses should consistently measure 1.5 to 2.5 inches tall. Cool weather grasses should be kept at 2.5 to 3.5 inches. One method to ensure 180 degree grass cuts is to use a manual push reel mower. These motorless mowers manicure the grass, rather than shred it. So which mower should you purchase? Mowers Direct recommends Husqvarna mowers as some of the best lawn mowers on the market.
Aeration is the practice of extricating plugs of sod to loosen soil. This process allows air, fertilizer and water to seep down directly into the grass root system— all integral to your lawn's health, according to HomeOwnerNet.com. There are two primary ways to accomplish aeration. Depending on the size of your lawn, either use a manual core aerator for smaller lawns (or specified problem spots) or a power aerator for any expansive stretches of land. You can rent commercial coring aerators at most tool rental stores.
P.S. Your lawn is not the only thing that requires attention this spring! Routine spring maintenance for your home uncover problem areas and help maintain the value of your home. For more information on spring home maintenace, click below:
About the author
Barry is a writer and saxophonist who lives in Virginia.
SOLVE 3 COMMON LANDSCAPING PROBLEMS
As a homeowner, I’m sure you enjoy looking out over a well-manicured garden or landscape. Whether you’re updating a landscape’s design or starting a new project from scratch, the process is often a difficult experience. When undertaking a challenging garden or landscape task, completing the project successfully can be accomplished with simple solutions to three of the most common landscape issues facing homeowners. Hardworking plant breeders and growers are turning out innovative new plant genetics and an ever-growing array of plant offerings that solve these common landscape challenges.
Problem #1: Areas of the garden are overwhelmed with sun, heat and humidity.
Solution: Plants bred for heat and/or humidity. Due to varying sun exposure across a property, pockets of the landscape can become scorched by sun, heat and humidity, no matter in which region of the country or USDA Zone one lives. Address specific plant needs related to hot and humid conditions with a robust group of plants that tolerate this type of challenging environment. There are a wide variety of top-notch, heat and humidity tolerant plants and lush bright flowers that are hardy in even the hottest, brightest zones of the country.
Problem #2: What to do with unique, small-scale areas of the garden.
Solution: Plantings for small spaces and special places. Whether rooftop gardens, pathways, walkways, patios, rock gardens, water gardens, terraces, cracks, or crevices, accent plantings embellish the garden area and add life, color, texture, detail, harmony, and natural appearance to the landscape. Incorporating these kinds of plants into a creative garden design for areas that are small or unique in shape serves as garnish, the final decorative touch to the space.
Problem #3:Short-lived, feeble annuals that will not last.
Solution: Finer, genetically superior, color bedding plantings. When used in containers, garden beds and borders, annual color varieties are a bright, rich and vibrant outdoor design component. Yet, numerous annual plant selections cannot survive the first chilly night or burst of extended warmth that many regions of the country are experiencing from frequent spells of environmental instability. Try plant varieties that are cultivated to address the need for more robust plant material. They accentuate outdoor living, provide solutions for garden beds and borders, and provide superior-performing, garden-worthy, annual color plants with heat and cold tolerance.
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"Green” Lawns can Help the Environment And Save You Some Money!
Looking to make some upgrades to your landscaping this year? Make sure you keep the environment in mind during your planning. A lot of people are already aware of how to conserve energy within their homes, but here are some tips to think about for your surrounding landscaping. (photo at right by cehwiedel.com)
Incorporate Native Plants
When planning your landscape, incorporating native plants is always a good idea. They are adapted to your area and require less maintenance and water than exotic plants. You can also reduce the need for pesticides because they’re more resistant to pests and diseases. You don’t need to exclude foreign plants from your landscaping, but incorporating natives in your plan can make a big difference.
Conserve Energy with Solar Powered Lights
Using a few solar powered landscaping lights, as opposed to an entirely electric powered lighting system, can help to reduce your overall energy use.
Use Natural/Organic Fertilizers for Maintenance
Using just a couple natural products (fertilizer, pesticides, etc.) can help by reducing the amount of potentially harmful wastewater runoff in the environment. This can also create a healthier environment for your family and pets
Plant Shade Trees to Reduce Energy Use
Planting deciduous trees (trees that drop their leaves in the fall) is a great way to help reduce the work load on your HVAC systems by reducing the direct sun on your home. When these trees drop their leaves, they also allow sunlight to warm a home during the winter. If possible, plant tall trees on the east and west-facing sides of the house. Planting trees on the south facing side of your home can help shade the roof, as the sun will not hit that side of the house much during the summer.
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