Yard Work Tips to Mow Down the Stress
Now that the fair season of spring has arrived, there’s a buzz of activity outdoors, and at home and garden stores and websites alike. Along with bees, homeowners are abuzz, with four letter “green” words they’re prone to use interchangeably! Whether abuzz about the “yard”, or the more manicured “lawn,” these simple words occupy many minds right now.
In theory, most relish yards matching images from glossy magazine covers, depicting thick, freshly mowed grass, weedless and perfect, just awaiting bare toes. Unless hiring a professional landscaping service, however, nagging thoughts, of the additional work and stress entailed by yard management, rapidly surface. They usually precede settling for a lawn somewhere between a magazine cover and “dogpatch,” also green, but overgrown.
Knowing how to do yard work will help, with many simplifying tips available. However, yard work tips are of little use without first deciding what kind of outdoor space is desired. A good starting point is with the landscape…broadly defined as the view of an area and everything in it, natural or man-made. Simply put, the landscape is the yard, the starting backdrop against which all outdoor work is done. Hills, fences, walls or trees, are examples of contributing landscape factors. While varieties of landscapes are endless, it is in their transformation, arranging soil, water, plants and structures to make these spaces more beautiful, that the art of landscaping, or landscape design, has been developed. Considering the yard a landscape, decide how to enhance it.
With beautification at the heart of landscaping, it encompasses far more than basics, like grass and trees. Landscaping can involve flower gardens and ornamental shrubs, walkways and edging, adequate soil drainage, and eye-catching features like fountains, rocks, and lighting. Deciding how much beautification an area will have is primary in approaching yard management. With so many options, remember the desired effect.
Accordingly, a property should be viewed with two distinct areas of operation, the front and back yards. The front yard is usually designated for the “better” lawn, where nice grass is equally appreciated by family and passersby. It might also showcase a lovely fountain, lit at night, or flower beds that won’t be compromised by footprints. Alternately, the back yard might endure more activity and require grass care, though not the same maintenance as ornamental flower gardens and other special effects.
No matter what type of landscaping defines yard work, proper yard management requires tools. Quality, not inexpensive, ones are the best investment in the long run, and it’s important not to be sidetracked by gadgets. This is easier with outcomes in mind. For instance, once decided that a yard will be transformed from a dirt space to a grassy lawn, a mower, will be necessary. The most significant lawn tool, and biggest investment, a wide range exists, from push mowers for small lawns, to riding mowers, for large properties. In between, are the power mowers, with an impressive engine array.
Besides the essential mower, there are many accompanying tools for landscaping with a finished look. To eliminate ragged edges, weed or grass trimmers work well. Gas and electric powered types prevail, the former providing greater freedom of movement for bigger yards. Additionally, hand pruners for small trees and bushes, hedge shears for hedge borders, and large tree pruners with telescoping arms, are helpful, unless the ladder and saw, or professional, approach is taken.
As landscape design intensifies, with a garden often added for color and interest, a greater variety of tools is needed. While not requiring many, the basics include: a shovel for preparation, a hand trowel for digging holes for small plants or seedlings, a cultivator to separate soil, allowing growing plants to breathe, and possibly a weeder.
Drainage is another area of garden concern, as it is essential for excess water to pass through the soil fairly easily. If soil is heavy, or contains clay, it may hold water too long, draining poorly and causing water logging and plant root rot. Sandy soil, conversely, allows water to drain too quickly, without plant benefit. By adding humus nutrients, or non-porous materials like rock or stone, water will move through soil at a more moderate rate, long enough to benefit without water logging. Rocks are excellent for stopping erosion in low lying areas where standing water occurs.
Taking some yard work tips into consideration, it’s clear that professional landscaping services aren’t necessary for one’s yard to look nice and well kept…somewhere between those lush country estates featured in photos and “dogpatch,” where it looks as if nobody is home! By planning the desired appearance, with a realistic approach to tools, time, and yard management, the way is paved for less stressful upkeep, and more enjoyment, of the outdoors. Isn’t that the reason for a yard, or the more evolved, “lawn,” to begin with?
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