Spring and summer are when yards and gardens retake their rightful places at the center of attention. This month, Pillar To Post takes a look at several steps that homeowners can take to make their outdoor spaces and their home live compatibly.
Keep water away from the house
Be sure that the ground slopes away from the house all the way around the perimeter. This ensures that any moisture from rain and sprinkler systems will be directed away from the foundation.
The base of shrubs and other plantings should be kept at least 2' away from the foundation to avoid potential problems with roots and drainage. In addition, window wells should be kept free of debris and lined with gravel to help water drain out of the well and into the ground.
Do not leave sprinklers on for too long. Excessive water will not do plants and lawns any good, and may cause problems if there are drainage issues in certain areas.
The right plant in the right place
When a tree is growing very close to a structure, there can be potentially serious problems if the tree grows too tall or too wide for the space. Damage to eaves and roofs can be caused by overgrowth, and there is even a danger of branches or an entire tree falling onto the home. Existing trees should be professionally pruned to lessen the potential for hazard. When planting new trees, homeowners should research potential "candidates" to find how large the tree will eventually grow and make decisions accordingly.
Homeowners should also consider grouping plants that have similar water requirements to avoid overwatering plants that don't need as much. Not only will plants do better, but water bills will be lower over time as well.
Choose plants with maintenance in mind
Some plants end up requiring more maintenance than a homeowner expects. When selecting new planting material, homeowners should seek advice from qualified personnel at a local nursery who will know what plants will do well in their area, their growth habits and maintenance requirements.
Lawns should not be mowed too short or too frequently. Allowing the blades of grass to shade one another helps with water retention and allows grass to grow in more fully. Many newer turf grasses require less mowing than older varieties, and should be considered for new lawn installations. Homeowners can find out more at their local agricultural or extension office.
These are just some of the ways homeowners can increase the enjoyment of their outdoor spaces while ensuring that home and yard are in good shape.