Posts Tagged ‘outdoors’

Spring Lawn Care – Greening Your Garden

Posted on: April 24th, 2014 | No Comments

Spring lawn care - green grass.In our last blog, we provided tips on spring cleaning for your home’s exterior including tips for lawns and flowerbeds. Spring lawn care can be vitally important for improving the look of your home, as well as encouraging biodiversity around your property. Learn more about how to get started with your yard below. Before you know it, you’ll be a certified green thumb! After you’re done, drop in a comment with your favorite spring traditions involving your home’s lawn and garden.

 

First things first, assess the situation. How does your lawn look? Are your flowerbeds a mess of old growth and debris from a long winter? Understanding what may cause issues and what to address first will help you to prioritize and move forward with your plan of attack. Be sure to wait until the grass has perked up after a long winter so new growth has a chance to grow in.

 

Once your lawn has had time to settle in, it’s time to give it a good cut. Be sure your blades are sharpened so they will slice the blades of grass, rather than tear them. Next, it’s time to rake. Remove thatch from the surface of the soil. By removing this debris you allow air to circulate near the soil and help to dispel any snow mold that may have formed, especially in colder northern climates. Now that air can reach the soil below, aeration is the next step. Rent an aerator from your local hardware store and run it over the entire lawn so water and air have the ability to seep into the soil and feed your grass.

 

Seeding your lawn can now begin. Seed any thin spots or places that are bare with grass seed meant for your climate and and lawn. Fertilizer is also important, especially if you did not fertilize last fall. Make sure to pick a fertilizer that is formulated for spring as it will give your lawn the nutrients it needs to start the season out strong. After all this work, upkeep should be somewhat straightforward. Simply water and cut the grass regularly and remove any debris or weeds to keep your lawn healthy. Next fall, be sure to fertilize as well as remove any weeds that may have popped up.

Now that your lawn is all ready, it’s time to turn to the garden.

 

Much like the lawn, it’s important not to start too early. In cold climates especially, you should wait until the temperatures are consistently above freezing before uncovering your flowerbeds. Once you reach this point in the spring, it’s okay to uncover and clean out the beds. Remove any debris, mulch or garbage that may have gotten into the flowerbed during the winter months.

 

Once you have cleaned out the bed, you can go ahead and prep the soil. Get a good mix of manure, decomposed organic matter and soil from the bed. Filling the flowerbeds with healthy soil will help fertilize the plants and flowers you will be planting throughout the rest of the growing season. Be sure to edge the garden as well to prevent grass from entering the flowerbed.

 

While you wait to clean the garden, you can start seedlings in your home. Using a small grow light, you can start some of your favorite plants indoors so they are big enough to plant when the time comes. You can also begin pruning headier plants in the early spring. Cut back shrubs and woody plants to promote new growth. Just don’t get too carried away with the pruning as it can kill the plant.

 

Once you have prepped the flowerbeds and your seedlings are large enough to plant, it’s time to get digging. Try setting up the garden a few different ways to determine what you think looks best. Then, plant away! Avoid handling your plants too much as the added stress can break their stems and prevent them from growing. Dig a deep enough hole, place the plant in the ground, cover the roots, and pack the dirt lightly to ensure the plant is secure. Once your entire flower bed is planted, give it a good watering – but be careful not to overwater and drown the roots.

 

Spring lawn care can set you up for a very bountiful and beautiful lawn and garden. Not sure where to start when creating your garden space? Try looking at local gardening catalogues to get an idea of flowers you may like or walk through a local garden center to find your favorites and get inspiration. Be sure to find plants that are suitable for your climate. You can find your climate/planting zone through the National Gardening Association.

 

Spring Cleaning – Conquer Curb Appeal

Posted on: April 3rd, 2014 | No Comments

Spring cleaning a deck. Spring cleaning isn’t just for closets and crawl spaces. Spring is the perfect time to get outside and clean up your home’s exterior, too. Springtime is the time to rejuvenate your gardens and lawn, clean the patio and gutters, and even the garage. Feeling a bit overwhelmed by this seemingly endless list of to-do’s? We’ve put together an easy outline of a few of the biggest areas you can start with.

Garage:

  • Sort everything – Go through boxes, corners and rafters. Get rid of things you haven’t used and things that are broken or worn out. Be sure to donate and recycle what you can! Also, bring hazardous waste to your local recycling place for proper disposal.
  • Plan and get organized – Buy shelving units, plastic storage containers and peg board to keep things off the floor and out of high traffic areas. Measuring total amount of space available first before you go out to purchase those items is a good idea.
  • Don’t backslide – Keep up on cleaning tasks throughout the rest of the year. Next year’s spring cleaning won’t be such and overhaul.

Lawn:

  • Rake the lawn to perk up the dormant blades of grass and remove any dead matted grass.
  • Aerate to ensure oxygen and water can reach the roots.
  • Fertilize your newly aerated grass to ensure the right nutrients are available for your grass to start the spring off strong.
  • And don’t forget to water your grass each week!

Gardens

  • Clean the flower beds: Remove debris including grass, leaves, litter or anything that’s not supposed to be in there.
  • Weed: Get the pesky dandelions and other weeds away from your plants so they don’t steal nutrients from your budding flowers.
  • Prune trees and shrubs: Encourage new growth by pruning back dead branches.
  • Mulch: Keep weeds from growing by putting mulch in your flower beds.
  • Bonus: Create a compost pile for all the yard waste you’ve removed. It will be great fertilizer for next spring!

Home Exterior and Patio

  • Gutters: Clean any yard waste that has accumulated in your gutters. If you aren’t comfortable getting on a ladder, most lawn services can be hired to clean them out.
  • Windows: Remove and clean screens and windows.
  • Patio: Sweep and inspect your patio for cracks, splinters or other potential hazards. Determine the best cleaning method for the material it’s made out of and give it a good scrub. Hose down any patio furniture to remove dirt and cobwebs. Clean your grill and check outdoor lighting fixtures to ensure everything is in working order.
  • Fencing: Check to make sure there are no holes in your fence that need repairing and that footings are still strong.

Looking to sell? Spring is a great time for home sales – and curb appeal is something to keep in mind. Home inspectors check both the interior and the exterior of your home. Exterior outlets, lighting, spigots, fences, windows, siding, roofs and gutters are all inspected for hazards or defects. By taking stock of your exterior each year during spring cleaning, you can catch these problems and repair them in a timely manner. For more information about what to expect from an inspection, check out our maintenance checklist.

 

Spring is a time for renewal. By prepping your home’s exterior during spring cleaning, summer and fall will be that much more beautiful around your home. Once you’ve conquered the backyard, it will be the perfect excuse to host the first barbecue of the season! Enjoy!

A Dip Into Pool Inspection

Posted on: April 30th, 2012 | No Comments

Pools and spas are meant for relaxation – but sometimes we have to put in a little effort to maintain the oasis! One of the best ways you can keep your pool or spa in working order is to have an inspection. If you’re looking into buying a home with a pool (or selling one), an inspection is one of the first steps you should take.

 

A thorough pool inspection will cover everything from the pool itself to the deck and the equipment. Pumps and pipes will be checked for leaks or problems with the water pressure. The filtration system will be checked for missing or broken parts, and if you have a spa or a heating system, the heating elements and equipment will be examined. All of these elements seem obvious – but there are some less well-known areas that we inspect.

 

We’ll check out the external bonding of pump motors, heaters, blowers, and any other items that could lead to costly leaks or dangerous issues. If your pool features underwater lighting or timers, we’ll make sure they are shipshape. Because electricity is a major part of keeping your pool running and clean, we will ensure that every outlet, cord, and connection is absolutely safe. We’ll inspect the interior finish materials, any slides, handrails, or ladders. The motors, skimmer, and drains are also on our list!

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Our home inspection company's history began in 1991 with the establishment of American Home Inspection. Over the course of the following seven years, a home inspection business prototype was developed that could be implemented anywhere in the United States. Our founders believed they had a unique methodology of providing homebuyers and sellers with consistent, professional and unbiased home inspections.

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