Tips and Solutions Detail

10 Steps to a Total Yard Makeover

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Digging and Composting

The most important element of your yard is the feeling it creates. Whether you go outside to relax, work, entertain, play, or pursue your hobbies, you want a yard that sets the right mood and is easy to care for. Sound at all like your current patch of land? Don’t worry, there’s no better time to start than now, and most can be done in ten easy steps! So cuff your sleeves, break out gardening tools, and prepare to create the ultimate lawn.

Checklist

Steps

  1. Clear the Clutter: Your kid’s sun-bleached plastic wagon, the forgotten patio furniture, rakes from last autumn—you’ve got to either move it or lose it. Look at all the “stuff” taking up residence in your yard, and then decide what to keep and what to get rid of. Make 3 piles: one to keep, one to throw away, and one for the local charity or thrift store. When it’s time to haul a load to the dump, or donate those larger items to charity, you might purchase a trailer that suits your needs. We recommend the Lifetime Fold-in-half trailer, built to handle big loads and it folds to 29” for easy storage.
  2. Organize: Now that you have everything you want to keep, it’s time to assign it a home. Storing summer toys, rakes, and additional patio furniture against the house not only looks bad, but it’s also dangerous and these things can take up lots of space in your garage. If you need extra space, we recommend a Lifetime storage shed. Choose the best fit for your yard: 8x10, 15x8, 11x13, or any size in-between. These polyethylene plastic sheds are easy to care for, and have shelves and pockets great for storing rakes, shovels, and your other important “stuff.”
  3. Break out the Lawn Mower: Mow the main lawn area, cutting off about 1/3 or less of the grass blade. Grass blades, like any other plant need their leaves to take in sunshine. Mow while the lawn is dry, and try not to go the same direction every time (which makes the blades grow at a slant.) If you took our advice and purchased a storage shed, try using it to store your mower. In the future, you can pull out right onto the grass to start cutting.
  4. Even things out: Rake up fallen leaves, twigs and other debris so nothing stands between you and the lawn. Next, get a garden spade or shovel and level the high and low spots in your lawn by cutting down bumps and filling in holes with topsoil and grass seed. To remove bumps, use a garden spade to cut an “X” shape into the raised area. From there, use a shovel or garden-hoe (if it’s small enough, your hands will do) to peel the back the sod and dig out enough soil to let the area lay flat once again. Lay the sod back in place. While you’re at it, sprinkle grass seed mixed with soil into any bald spots. Break out the Lawn Mower: Mow the main lawn area, cutting off about 1/3 or less of the grass blade. Grass blades, like any other plant need their leaves to take in sunshine. Mow while the lawn is dry, and try not to go the same direction every time (which makes the blades grow at a slant.) If you took our advice and purchased a storage shed, try using it to store your mower. In the future, you can pull out right onto the grass to start cutting.
  5. Edging: This is a simple but important step that gives your lawn a clean, manicured look. Use a string trimmer to cut tall grass along the edges of your lawn, and grass shears around trees. Use a broom or hose to brush clippings into piles, you can either throw them out or use them for nutritious mulch somewhere else in your yard. Eliminate weeds- Like party crashers; weeds are uninvited guests that rob your plants of nutrients and sunshine. You can pull out weeds with your hands or use a shovel to dig them out. Taking loads of weeds to the compost pile can be laborious. Use the Yard Cart from Lifetime to save time and effort. Various chemicals will kill weeds without harming your other plants. You may also think about laying down a weed barrier mat in real problem areas, keeping weeds from even breaking through the soil.
  6. Lighten up: Now, go pour yourself a tall glass of lemonade, and take a few minutes to relax. Once you’ve taken a load off, do the same for your trees and shrubs. First, find out the best ways to prune each of your trees. Each type of tree reacts differently to pruning; there is much information to be found online. First, with black spray paint, mark the places you should cut. Then use long pruning shears or a saw to cut the branches down and up, forming a point in the direction you’d like it to start growing again. Finally, spray all the clipped edges with the black paint to keep away wood-eating bugs. Haul off your clippings to the dump, or rent a mulching machine and turn it into nourishment.
  7. Check your Watering: One of the primary causes of brown spots is improper watering. If you have a sprinkler system, check suspicious areas for a blocked sprinkler head. It’s often as simple as identifying a shrub or tree trunk that’s blocking flow to a certain area. The best times to water are in the early morning and late evening when water does not evaporate as quickly in the sun. Also beware of over-watering. Watering too much can leach nutrients and cause fungus or runoff.
  8. Get Flower Power: Nothing lends beauty quite like the color and versatility of flowers. If your yard already has a flower bed, revitalize it by pulling out weeds and replanting your favorite flowers. If you’re starting from scratch, decide where you’d like flowers in your yard, and start digging (call a locator service to be sure you’re not digging into cables or pipes.) Dig down about 1-2 feet, and as wide and long as you’d like the area to be.
  9. Remove any chunks of sod or unwanted plants: Mix in compost or a good fertilizer, and rake the area smooth. Finally, pick out what plants you’d like to have. A good rule of thumb is to choose a bush, some medium height flowers, and ground cover, so that your plants vary in height and are more visually interesting.
  10. Make a maintenance plan: Now that you’ve got your lawn right where you want it, it’s time to draft a feasible plan to keep it that way. For most of us, yard work is not a welcome chore. But by breaking down the upkeep into small steps, and setting a simple schedule, you can enjoy a beautiful lawn year round. One great system is to assign each family member one chore, and get together every Saturday to work. (I.e- mom-weed, dad-mow and prune, son-rake, daughter-edge.) Be sure to keep the seasons in mind. So the chore of raking becomes snow shoveling in the winter, and clearing out sticks and rocks before mowing in the summer, etc.

Tips

  • Looking for additional ways to add color and varitey to the yard? Check out our potting and planting article.

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