Whether battling for neighborhood supremacy or just accentuating the home, your yard is a part of you.
Q: We want our yard to put everyone else’s on the block to shame! What’s the best plan of attack for creating the ultimate front-yard oasis this summer?
A: Yard and modesty are two words that don’t typically go together. Even understated yards need near-expert levels of care and maintenance to keep up appearances over the course of the year. And you know what they say, “When you’ve given up on your yard, you’ve given up on life.” Okay, nobody actually says that, but you get the point — people’s yards are important to them.
Whether battling for neighborhood supremacy or just accentuating the home, your yard is a part of you. Heck, your yard is you, so treat it well, lest you incur the snickering jest of those smug dog-walking passersby.
Start by stocking up on the right types of plants. Native and drought-tolerant plants can survive on minimal maintenance, which saves both time and money spent watering. Ask your local nursery which plants are right for the area. Native trees and plants also attract more birds, butterflies and other colorful critters.
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Everyone deserves to have a lush, deep-green bed of grass to romp around on as they please. Pay attention to these simple tips to uncover yours.
Stop weeds before they sprout. Early spring is the time to start attacking weeds, even if you don’t have them yet. Get a pre-emergent herbicide — which stops bad seeds from sprouting — and apply now. If you don’t, you’ll have to shop for a post-emergent product designed to destroy already-entrenched weeds.
Don’t go for a buzz cut. Taller grass is healthier grass. A general rule is to cut no more than a third of the grass blade to minimize damage and help keep weeds away. Also, keep your mower blade in good shape. A sharp blade cuts, while a dull blade tears.
Feed your grass the right stuff. Grass likes nitrogen fertilizers and dislikes your pet’s offerings. Establish a spot where Spot can go, and don’t overfeed your lawn. Patience is key here; continuous feeding over time will help keep those brown patches away.
Or simply rock out. Our uneven yards and temperamental temperatures provide the perfect environment for natural stone walls, walkways and artsy rock-based aesthetics. Show off some rugged elegance by shopping the options of your local stone and garden supplier. Better yet, work with them to help you lay out the perfect blueprint for your unique situation.
Remember, your yard is a living, breathing entity, and must be tended to like the fabulous-yet-fragile soul that it is. Homeowners with the best yards know that it’s a 365-day job to keep things looking emerald. You think you have what it takes to have the best yard on the block? Go out there and prove it.
HomeWork is written by Cameron Poague and contributing member professionals of the Master Builders Association (MBA) of King and Snohomish Counties. If you have a home improvement, remodeling or residential homebuilding question you’d like answered by one of the MBA’s more than 2,800 members, write to email@example.com.