Archive for the ‘Lawns’ Category

Boost Your Home’s Curb Appeal With a New Planting Bed

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

lawn curb

The appearance of the outside of your home gives every passerby an impression of what it looks like on the inside. When you’re selling a house, it’s especially important to make that work in your favor. Your home’s curb appeal is the first chance you have to entice potential buyers to want to see more. Creating a new planting bed is a great way to add dimension and color to your landscaping and improve your home’s curb appeal.

These quick gardening tips will help you make an eye-catching planting bed that enhances your landscape and reflects the time and money you’ve invested in your home. Whether your house is on the market or you just want to make it stand out, consider taking on this weekend project to give your home’s curb appeal a quick boost.

Gardening tips for creating a new planting bed

Start by choosing a spot that will complement – not hide – the features of your home. Lining the driveway, walkway or front of a house often works nicely to improve its curb appeal.

Once you’ve chosen the location for your new planting bed, mark the borders, and dig up the grass inside them. Make sure you remove any roots and debris. Then, use an MTD tiller to turn the soil. Before you begin, check your tiller for worn or damaged parts. If anything needs to be replaced, it’s best to use genuine factory MTD tiller parts . They are made specifically for your machine and will maximize its performance. As you are turning the soil, you can ensure better planting results by mixing in organic matter

Next, dig a trench – about 8 inches deep and 2 inches wide – around the edges of the bed. This will help prevent other vegetation from invading the new planting space. You may also want to line the bed with stones that match your home and landscaping.

Effective curb-appeal landscaping features plants of a variety of sizes, colors and textures. To make your landscaping pop, incorporate a mix of plants into your new bed. Consider bloom times and season as your make your selections. Before you put them in the ground, arrange your plants in the bed to make sure you get the spacing right. Then, plant them, spread mulch around them and water them.

How to Care for your Lawn in a Drought

Monday, October 31st, 2011

Not many of us enjoy the view of your once robust grass starting to wither and fade to brown because of an extended period of dry weather. Find a little relief, though, in appreciating that grass is tougher than you think, and will, more oftent than not, return to it’s green and verdant condition once the rainy season begins. As you wait for the rains to come, though, there are a few things you can do to help your lawn through the drought period.

Tip 1. Watering Your Grass

Lawns are usually the number one villain in a drought period due to the large volume of water that is wasted while attempting to keep the grass green. There are things you can do to manage water consumption which can swiftly lessen the amount of water needed to grow and maintain a lush lawn, allowing it to survive the drought period.

First, find out how much water your irrigation system is putting out per hour. This is done by placing numerous empty coffee cans in each watering zone of your lawn, then run the irrigation system and check the cans after 15 minutes. Measure the amount of water in each can and then calculate the average height. If the average is 1/5 of an inch then you will need to water for one hour (1/5 × 4) to apply 4/5 inches of water. This should be enough to keep the lawn going, but if you have a particularly deep rootzone you may have to up the dosage a little. If you see run-off onto your path or driveway then stop the irrigation immediately. Wait for the lawn to take in the water you have applied, and then carry on again until you have applied 4/5 inches of water. Water the lawn early in the morning or late in the evening to avoid too much evaporation.

Tip 2. Keep grass tall

Bare soil is much warmer than covered soil. Tall grasses provide shade for the root system and maximize the process of photosynthesis. Mow the lawn when the grass height reaches 3 inches or more. It is important not to cut more than 1/3 of the height at a time. Cutting more will increase stress and deteriorate the grass as it consumes a lot of energy to revive. Make sure your mower blades are sharp. Blunt blades tear grass, creating a brownish shine at the tips and elongate healing time.

Tip 3. Use clippings as mulch

Clippings do not add thatch to your turf; in fact they return nutrients and prevent evaporation of water from the lawn. Use a mower that thinly chops clippings and allows them to penetrate the grass thatch, eventually decomposing into the soil surface.

Tip 4: Do not use fertilizer

Application of fertilizer to the lawn in a dry season will encourage growth which requires even more water. If your lawn remains unfertilised, it will grow more gradually and eventually build up a sturdier growth. Strictly avoid synthetic fertilizers; instead apply fine composite manure to parts of the lawn that have started to brown. Remove the dead thatch before applying the composite manure. You can resume fertilizer application when the rainy season returns.

Tip 5. Fight lawn insects

Heat-loving insects such as cinch bugs thrive in lawns where they feed on grass blades. Lawn owners sometimes don’t recognize the signs of lawn pests in the dry season because the damage done looks like drought damage. You can find out if your lawn is infested by pests by simply going through a brown patch. This is definitely encouraged if the browning is not uniform as drought will normally damage a lawn in a pretty similar fashion right across the surface. Part the grass with your fingers, if you come across black insects about an 1/8 of inch long, you have a cinch invasion, but you may also find other pests such as leatherjackets. You can eliminate pests quickly by applying the recommended insecticide.

Tip 6. Select a locally adapted grass

Grass varieties differ in the type of climatic conditions they prefer, the amount of nutrients and water they require, drought tolerance and the extent of wear they can endure. Ask your local garden centre to recommend grass types which are best suited to your locality.

Tip 7. Apply microbial soil agents to the lawn

Soil microbes can help your lawn to endure drought. Basically, microbial soil agents supply rare elements and help the grass to maximally utilize nitrogen from the air. Furthermore, mutual fungal spores will boost the humus content of the soil. The humus layer acts as an insulator and at the same time preserves soil moisture.

Tip 8. Install a rain barrel

A rain barrel will help you store extra water for use when the rains aren’t falling. Take advantage of rainy seasons by storing water for irrigating your lawn during drought period.

Colin Gray helps to run the lawn care company, Lawns For You, along with his father, Duncan Gray, a lawn care and fine turf expert with over 35 years experience in the world of turf care. The Lawns For You website offers a range of lawn supplies such as grass seed and lawn fertiliser.