Spring Around the Yard: Lawns, Gardens, and Decks
By: Danny Lipford
From lawn care and planting a garden to refinishing wood furniture and installing a composite deck, here are great tips to improve your yard.
To have a healthy lawn, it’s important to:
- Determine how much sun and shade your lawn receives.
- Check to make sure your lawn slopes and drains properly.
- Conduct a soil test to find out the pH and nutrient levels.
- Choose grass that’s suited for your local climate and conditions.
- Make sure your lawn receives about 1” of water a week.
- Aerate your lawn once a year.
When mowing your lawn:
- Keep mower blade sharp so it makes a clean cut.
- Set mower to the proper cutting height for your grass.
- Cut only about 1/4 of the grass blade each time.
Find out more at Lawn Mower Maintenance.
A healthy lawn is the best defense against weeds. The type of weeds you have can give clues on how to improve your soil, for example:
- Clover: Indicates low nitrogen levels.
- Dollar Weed: Grows in overly wet soil or lawns with poor drainage.
When pulling weeds by hand, be sure to get all the roots so they don’t grow back. When applied carefully a broadleaf herbicide can be used to kill weeds in nongrassy areas like planting beds or walkways.
Find out more at How to Control Weeds in Your Lawn.
Here are some planting tips to help your garden grow:
- When planting gardens and foundation beds, till up and add amendments and nutrients to the entire bed, not just the area around each plant.
- Loosen up or cut the roots on rootbound plants before planting to help the roots grow and spread.
- Compress the dirt around newly planted plants to the same consistency as the surrounding soil.
- Plant plants at the same depth they were in the container.
- Give newly planted plants plenty of water for the first month or so until they’re established.
- Mulch around plants to hold in moisture and keep the temperature even.
- When planting in pots, use a quality potting soil and put a thin layer of foam packing peanuts in the bottom of the container to keep the soil from washing out of the bottom.
Find out more at How To Plant Container Grown Trees and Shrubs.
Cleaning and Staining Outdoor Wood Furniture
Before refinishing outdoor furniture or a wood deck, clean the wood with a product like Flood Cleaner/Brightener to open up the pores and remove any dirt or discoloration. After allowing the wood to dry, stain with a semi-transparent wood stain to seal and protect the wood.
Find out more at How to Clean and Stain Outdoor Wood Furniture.
Installing a Composite Deck
Composite decking is a popular, low maintenance option for decks that’s made from a combination of wood fibers and plastic polymers. When replacing a wood deck with composite decking, make sure the joists and other framing under the deck are in good condition so they will support the composite decking.
Trex Enhance is a DIY-friendly composite decking that resists fading, staining, and mold and is made from 95% recycled content. Enhance decking is easy to cut and drill using standard tools. Trex Hideaway hidden deck fasteners allow you to put the decking down without visible screw holes to mar the appearance.
To complement the look and low maintenance of a composite deck, replace wood with composite railings, such as Trex Transcend railings and spindles.
Find out more at Replacing a Wood Deck with Composite Decking.
Check out Around the Yard for more spring and summer tips and projects.
Other Tips from This Episode
Simple Solutions with Joe Truini:
Tool Handle Pipe Extension
To provide more leverage for loosening bolts or pipe fittings, slip a piece of pipe over the handle of a socket wrench or pipe wrench. This trick can also be used with hammers to make pulling nails easier. (Watch Video)
Best New Products with Jodi Marks:
DuraZone Weed & Grass Killer
DuraZone Weed & Grass Killer from Bayer Advanced kills all types of grass and weeds on sidewalks, patios, and driveways and prevents grass or weeds from coming back for up to six months. DuraZone Weed & Grass Killer is available at The Home Depot. (Watch Video)
Ask Danny Lipford:
Choosing Guttering for Your Home
Gutters and downspouts are available in vinyl, aluminum, steel, and copper; with aluminum being the most common gutter material. Gutters and downspouts come in several sizes, with larger sizes providing better drainage and clogging less than smaller sizes. (Watch Video)