One of the most critical factors determining excellent curb appeal for a home is perfect landscaping and a well-maintained lawn. A responsible homeowner takes pride in a nicely cut lawn in the same way that they take pride in an impeccable exterior paint job on the house. Landscaping is challenging work, though; creating and sustaining a perfectly flawless lawn requires dedication and a lot of knowledge. Here are the common yard mistakes you should avoid.
Using an Incorrect Blade Setting on the Mower
Everyone wants their yard to look like a fairway at the local golf club, and some overenthusiastic people think the best way to achieve this look is to set the mower blade down as low as it can go. This approach is a bad idea for a residential yard, and the result is often something that looks more like the surface of the moon. A good rule of thumb to start with is a two-inch blade height. Remember, it is always possible to cut shorter, but once the yard is cut too short, it can take weeks before the yard looks healthy again. During the regrowth period, the curb appeal of the property is below zero.
Using a Dull Mower Blade
Cutting grass with a dull mower blade can have disastrous consequences. A blade that is not sharp tears and pulls at the tender shoots of grass, leaving the yard looking beat up. This condition leads to disease and discolored grass, so avoid this mistake by regularly sharpening the blade. Then the blade cuts neatly and evenly, creating the uniform look that everyone desires. It’s important regularly sharpen your blade you can evenly and effectively cut your grass.
Watering the Yard Improperly
People inexperienced with yard care may think that when it comes to water, more is better. This is however incorrect and a yard benefits from periodic hydration just like most plants and trees. Using a sprinkler daily is not good for the roots or the overall health of the grass. The best bet is to water the grass two or three times a week, depending on how hot the weather is and how much natural rainfall occurs. Also, try to water early in the morning or late in the afternoon so that the yard does not get burnt by the sun magnifying through the water. When watering the grass, make sure to give it a good soaking to reach the roots of the grass.
Not Fertilizing the Yard
Proper fertilization of the yard is essential to developing the kind of dense, thick grass that adds so much to the curb appeal. Great landscaping depends on excellent fertilization, and the grass is no exception. The optimal time of year to fertilize the yard is in early autumn, but the spring is also fine. Use a broadcasting or a rotary spreader and try to time the fertilization right before a rainfall, so that the fertilizer gets soaked into the grass by the rain. Over fertilization can lead to very rapid grass growth and more mowing, so exercise some good judgment.
Incorrect Lawn Edging
One of the critical tasks in landscaping the property is lawn edging. Some folks make the mistake of not edging the yard, and this makes for a messy look that is distasteful. There’s several different lawn edging ideas to add beauty and symmetry to your yard. Correct lawn edging creates sharply defined, crisp lines that stand out impressively and give the yard that wow factor that maximizes the curb appeal. Proper lawn edging is easy to accomplish with the right tools and instruction.
Perform lawn edging with either a manual edging device, a power edger, or a weed whacker. The areas that usually require edging are the perimeter of the yard, sidewalks, walkways, around planting beds and around trees. The idea is for distinct borders that are easily recognized. Edging devices work best against walkways, curbs, terraces and anywhere that the yard meets masonry because the appearance of the grass growing right into such features is sloppy. Other areas of the landscaping, such as beds, can be carefully addressed with a weed whacker, using caution not to cut too low or scalp the grass.
Not Thatching and Aerating the Yard
Thatching and aerating the yard are usually seasonal tasks that enhance the hardiness of the yard. Property owners that make the mistake of not completing these vital tasks end up with yards that are full of thatch and unable to maximize nutrient intake.
A half-inch of thatch in the yard is acceptable, but anything more than that needs attention. In the spring or fall, use a long-tined rake to pull the thatch from the grass or use a power thatcher, but be careful with this machine because it can tear up the lawn if not handled correctly. Thatching the yard before seeding it is a good idea.
Aerating the yard is accomplished by pushing or dragging an aerating cylinder across. The aerator has rows of protrusions that punch holes in the soil, allowing for enhanced nutrient absorption.
Not Seeding the Yard
Proper seeding of the yard is one of the most critical jobs that contribute to its overall health. Many new property owners make the mistake of not seeding, and this makes for a thin, unhealthy appearance. Decent looking landscaping mandates using the right kind of seed and laying it down at the right time of year.
The first thing to do is to figure out what kind of grass is already growing in the yard. The geographical location of the property has a lot to do with this and taking a picture of the grass or a sample of it to a lawn care center for advice will help in acquiring the right seed. There are two general classes of grass seed, warm-season, and cool-season and various species of grass fall within both groups such as bluegrass or Bermuda grass.
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Lay down seed for warm-season grasses from March through September, depending on the exact location, and lay cool-season seed from mid-August to mid-October. Before seeding, mow the grass lower than usual and then dethatch or rake it out to expose the bare soil. Aerate the ground, put down starter fertilizer, seed the yard, rake the seed into the grass, and let nature take its course.
Understanding these common yard mistakes and how to avoid them gives you an advantage when caring for your lawn. By following these suggestions you’ll be able to maximize your home’s curb appeal and have one of the nicest lawns in your neighborhood.