Whether or not you consider yourself a green thumb, it’s safe to say that a nice home looks best with a bright green yard and just enough flowery plants and shrubs, especially in summer. Spending time in the yard with your hands in the dirt is not only good for the aesthetic value of your home, but good for the soul, too. Research shows that gardeners feel more satisfied with their lives and are less likely to suffer bouts of depression – even better, CNN Money reports that good landscaping can increase your home’s value from 5-11%. There are more reasons to keep your lawn happy and healthy, but these two reasons alone are enough to get you outside, even during the hot summer months.
This summer, as you care for you lawn, your landscaping, your herb and veggie garden, flowers, fruit trees, hanging baskets – anything you enjoy pruning and nurturing – keep these general tips in mind:
- Mow for healthy grass. Many people feel that shorter grass keeps the maintenance down, but the truth is the shorter you cut your grass, the more you’ll have to mow. Lawns should be about 2-3 inches high, and keeping the mower on its highest setting helps grass stay green and healthy, which means less up-keep.
- Irrigate as needed. During the dry summer months, certain kinds of grasses need consistent water. Even though a hefty July rainstorm will soak your lawn, it may run off more than you think, depending on your region. Know what kind of grass you have and its watering needs, and save water by investing in irrigation systems that water efficiently.
- Practice deadheading. And no, we don’t mean dancing around in tie-dye. Deadheading is a way to keep your flowers and shrubs blooming and flowering longer, and involves cutting back flowers and pinching spent buds to prevent early seeding.
- Choose drought friendly plants and prepare before dry spells. Especially if you live in high-drought areas.
- Compost, mulch, and fertilize well. There are so many great options for organic matter and making your own compost, so find the best that works for you. Well-fed plants are happy plants.
- Don’t neglect the lawn on vacation. Have people who care for their own lawn come by and keep it alive for you when traveling.
- Store and use hoses well—cool water is best. A hot, crinkled hose can spray hot water onto your plants and lawn, stressing even the hardiest varieties.
- Check for and monitor pests regularly. It’s important to use insecticides and pesticides only when necessary, and know their effects on other plants, the important pollinating bees, and pets and people in your yard. If you stay on top of your lawn and garden, pests will be easy to remove before they get chompin’.
- Weed once a week. No matter how hot it is, put on a hat and get to it. Get yourself a good kneepad and remove weeds the best way possible: by hand.
- Hanging baskets need extra care. Through the summer, these plants need daily watering, weekly fertilizer, and consistent pinching and pruning.
- Harvest daily. If you’re growing fruits and veggies, it’s important to pull summer varieties daily so the plants aren’t damaged by the weight and they keep on giving.
- Edge your lawn and raised beds. To keep everything bright and clean, edge your lawn, sidewalks, and even fence lines. Bricks beside raised garden beds are useful, too.
- Water plants and lawns early. Cool mornings with early sun are the best times for yard work and watering. The soil accepts the water before the heat evaporates it, and your body is fresh and less likely to tire and burn.
Though it may seem like hard work, we all know that good manual labor makes for a proud exhaustion at the end of the day. If your house and lawn is in top shape, it makes the payoff even better, especially when it comes time to sell your home and move on to the next. Increase your own happiness and property value by keeping your lawn fresh and green all summer long.