Thursday, 28 November 2013

How to Winterize Your Lawn and Garden

Preparing your lawn or garden during the beginning of fall is important as it gives time for your outdoor space to welcome the cold weather. It may be a time when the leaves change color and the air is crisp, clean and refreshing but it is the right time to restore your lawn as damage may have occurred during the summer months. The heat and harsh rays of the sun causes damage to your garden and fall is the ideal time of the year to restore your outdoor space as they tend to go dormant in winter. Below are 10 tips on winterizing your lawn or garden

1. Start early by planning in advance – The countdown begins when the lawn starts to revitalize after summer’s soaring hot temperatures have started to cool and mellow down. To make the soil absorb more nutrients and prepare for spring with all its endeavors, early winterization is crucial. Waiting till fall is over will cause all the nutrients to wash away from the soil and the lawn will also start becoming dormant for the winter.
2. Undertake a PH diagnostic – There’s nothing quite frustrating than doing all the work in your lawn with no positive end result. Before you start treating your garden with chemicals or fertilizers, make sure you check the PH levels of the soil. This will help in determining the acidity level of the soil and also help in revealing area that needs special treatment and care. Hire a professional to do the work for you or purchase a kit from your local store to do the test on your own.

3. Don’t prune – Anything done in excess will not give good results, so it is best if you avoid pruning your plants in the cold months. Giving full attention to your outdoor space during the start of fall is a great practice but contrary to popular belief, excessive pruning can be harmful to your plants. It is best to prevent the cultivation of new growth as it will get destroyed during the winter months, which in turn causes additional work and labor during spring.

4. Aerate the garden/lawn – To allow for air and water to have direct access to your plant’s roots, aerate your lawn and garden. Aerating your outdoor space brings about healthier looking plants as it opens up the soil in your lawn and garden, allowing for air and water to have firsthand access to the soil where there is proper flow of nutrients. If the lawn has received high traffic during summer, then it can get compressed. So consider aerating the garden/lawn for best results.

5. Find a good winterizer – To maintain a healthy and beautiful looking outdoor area, try acquiring good quality winterizers. It is highly unlikely that a lawn or garden will survive the cold months without a winterizer. They usually contain similar type of ingredients as lawn food. Before using it, consider the ingredients ratio compared to lawn food as there is a noticeable difference. To strengthen roots during winter, use quality winterizers that posses more potassium and phosphorous and less nitrogen levels.

6. Remove debris and rake leaves – Make it a habit to clean up fallen leaves on a regular basis. Why? Mainly because when leaves are left on the lawn or garden during winter, they can cause dead and dry spots. In addition to this task, remove dead plants and branches from the outdoor space to ensure even growth of new blossoms on the spring.

7. Keep an eye out for weeds – The one plant that has a bad reputation for birthing seeds in the fall are weeds. Pull out weeds from the outdoor space before the weather gets too. This also prevents additional work and unhealthy looking lawns and gardens.

8. Cover flower beds – Some garden plants may need to be planted in the fall before beginning your prep work for winter. To provide extra protection to chilly weather conditions, cover the garden or lawn with burlap.

9. Check working condition of all water systems – The cold weather can have a serious even damaging effect on many things and this includes your water pipes. To prevent pipes from bursting and costing you a small fortune in repairs, it’s better to take necessary steps beforehand. Shut off the water supply and allow the pipes to drain out completely so that there is no water left to freeze. Consult a professional for help and review all your water system’s manuals before winter comes.

10. Relocate small plants indoors – Garden herbs, small plants and tender bulbs cannot outlast the winter season as they will not have the strength to survive the cold weather outdoors. To keep them healthy, fresh and alive, you need to relocate them indoors and plant them in small pots for them to thrive and grow.  

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Front Yard Landscape Planting Tips

An attractive front yard is a direct reflection of the homeowner’s aesthetic sense. While visiting a place for the first time, if an unkempt front yard with thick shrubs welcomes you, then that doesn’t really project a positive image about the owner of the house. Front yard landscaping not only enhances overall appearance of the place but also adds value to your home. Many have this idea that designing front yard is all about investing money and time. Again, some have this opinion that nature is the best designer; so why not let the garden blossom in its own way! None of these notions are actually right. The fact is landscape architecture, if done properly, can help provide a wonderful background and texture based on which you can paint the remaining canvas of your home. And yes, all these can be achieved without spending a fortune. Discussed below are few helpful planting tips for the front yard.

Assess your front yard landscaping requirement and investment capacity

Are you interested in a total overhaul of the front yard or planning to do the transformation in bits and pieces? Do you want your garden to bloom throughout the year or wish to give an exclusive touch to the front yard for the festive months only? There are homeowners who prefer to complete the entire landscaping in one season while many plan to spread the job over several seasons because of investment limitations. Accordingly the plan of action should be charted out. As a homeowner, if you are not very confident about the entire project then consultation with a reputed landscape service provider is advised. This will help in a methodical planning of the entire work. 
Pick out plants matching the overall home ambiance

This is an important part. Random selection of trees, shrubs or flowers may result in a messy look and maintenance becomes tough too. With excessive planting you might end up having several small sized gardens dotting the yard! Thus in order to have a compact and organized landscape, it is very necessary to limit the planting pattern. Talk to an expert to know what kinds and how many numbers of shrubs, flowering plants and trees will best add vibrant colors to your front yard.

Preparing the soil

Now that you are ready with appropriate species of plants, be sure of the garden soil too. Soil preparation is an integral part of landscaping. By opening up the soil and adding proper nourishments, the soil is prepared such that it can support your garden for long term. Again this is a meticulous step which should be conducted under expert supervision.

Ensure your front yard garden’s proper upkeep

One mistake often committed by homeowners is that they spend all the time, energy and money for planting but tend to forget its upkeep. The end result is some overgrown bushes at one end while some dried out flower plants at the other corner! Remember your front yard landscape is precious and demands regular maintenance. So, if you are not very sure about devoting own time then engage an expert to ensure a blooming landscape.