Everything You Need to Know About Mowing

There is more to mowing grass than just pushing the mower back and forth. Did you know there are correct ways to mow your grass? Plus, knowing what the proper cutting length is and what to do about lawn clippings are important in keeping a healthy lawn.

Mow at the Right Frequency

There is a correct way to mow a lawn to get the cleanest, well-kept look. By keeping the grass at the right length, it keeps your grass stress-free and healthy. Grass should be a little longer during the hot summer months, especially in places that are in USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 9b like Houston, Phoenix, New Orleans, and Tampa. When grass is permitted to grow a little longer, the roots grow deeper, and the grass gives the soil cover from the hot sun. It forms an insulation that lets the soil better maintain its moisture.

Mowing at the right frequency is key. During fall, the most common lawn mowing frequency in Houston is bi-weekly, or every two weeks, with 83 percent of Houstoniteschoosing this option. However, if you get lawn treatment and water more frequently, you may want to consider weekly.

Plus, the blade of the mower needs to be sharp. If the blade is dull, then it will shred the tops of the grass. Shredded grass tips can leave grass susceptible to diseases.

The Correct Way to Mow Your Grass

The first thing to do is to adjust the height of the mower so that the mower doesn’t butcher the grass. Also, if the lawn is shady, then it will benefit from setting the mower blades at a higher height. Because photosynthesis helps grass grow, a longer blade of grass has more surface for conducting photosynthesis. This is one secret to developing a healthy lawn when parts or all of it stay in the shade.

Also, don’t scalp the grass by cutting it too short. When a lawn is scalped, it becomes vulnerable to disease and invites weeds. By scalping a lawn, it exposes the soil, and the grass becomes sparse and weak. Plus, this gives the sun an opportunity to feed the weed seeds in the soil so that they start to grow. A lawn that is cut too short will have a system of poorly developed roots and this will cause damage to a lawn from hot days or drought.

The best rule of thumb is to follow the one-third rule: If more than a one-third of the grass blade is cut off, it can damage the grass.

Another tip is to mow when the grass is dry. When grass is mowed when wet, it’s not harmful to the lawn, but the results can look mediocre. This is because grass that’s wet will clog the mower and this makes it more difficult to mow. The grass also clumps and causes an uneven cutting pattern. In addition, if clumps of wet grass are left on the lawn, then it can kill the grass under the clumps.

When you mow in the middle of the day in the sun, it causes the lawn stress. The individual blades of grass will lose water quickly and recover more slowly. You can either mow in the cooler part of the day or mow the area when it’s covered in shade. This will let the grass rebound quicker. Also, when mowing, don’t always follow the same pattern. This can create ruts and compacts the soil. Compacted soil and ruts can cause unhealthy grass, which can provide places for weeds to start growing.

What to Do With Grass Clippings?

One problem that crops up is what do you do with the grass clippings when finished? A solution to that is called “grasscycling.” This is when you let the grass clippings lay on the lawn after it’s cut. When this is done, it can provide up to 25 percent of what the lawn needs as fertilizer. It also saves money on fees and yard waste bags. A specialized mulching mower isn’t necessarily required, but you can put a mulching blade on the mower that you already have. Grasscycling works well if your grass is mowed often. It can be done on grass that is cut when it’s longer — if you don’t have a mulcher, rake the piles of clippings flat after mowing and then run the mower back over them.

As you can see, there is more to mowing grass than just pushing the mower around the yard. If done correctly, it can revitalize your lawn.

Katie Kuchta is a marketing guru, gardening and outdoor living expert, and self-proclaimed foodie. She can often be found cooking in the kitchen or on the hunt for the best tacos. Follow her on Instagram @atxtacoqueen.

Source: CB Blue Matter Blog

Posted on November 13, 2017 at 8:59 am
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: backyard, curb appeal, Homeowners, lawn, outdoors, real estate | Tagged , , , , , , ,

8 Ways to Make Your Backyard a Summer Paradise

Your backyard should be your summer sanctuary…your perfect place away from the rest of the world. Here’s how!

Summer is the season to be outdoors. It’s the perfect time for backyard barbecues, neighborhood socials, and late-night evenings on the patio. You don’t need to travel to a luxurious and exotic location to enjoy spending time outdoors. Make your own backyard a summer paradise with these eight simple suggestions.

Inspect and Update Wooden Decks
To make your backyard a summer haven, take some time to inspect and update your deck. Wooden patios and decks can be warped by cold weather, so you’ll want to replace loose or missing slats as needed. Sand, stain, and seal your deck once you’ve made sure it’s structurally sound. If you have a stone patio, check for missing pieces and update as needed. Once this is complete, you’ll have a shiny and appealing deck you can decorate with patio furniture—creating a relaxing sitting area for summertime.

Purchase Patio Furniture and Essentials
Once you have a designated patio or deck space, you’ll want to add some patio furniture so you can sit down, mingle with friends and family, and relax. Consider purchasing weatherproof patio furniture that is both comfortable and durable. Patio furniture can be exposed to harsh, seasonal weather, so you’ll want to make sure it lasts for years.

Get the basics, including some lounge chairs, an umbrella, a hammock, and an outdoor table so you can enjoy meals or games outside. In addition to patio furniture, you may want to buy or build an outdoor fire pit. It’s a simple feature that adds so much to your backyard. Sit around the fire and socialize, roast marshmallows or even cook dinner on your own backyard fireplace.

Add Colorful Cushions and Pillows
You’ll want to add a splash of color to your patio so it’s eye-catching and sings of summertime. Buy some bright-colored, comfortable throw pillows and cushions to spice up the furniture. The bright colors and fun patterns will entice people to sit down, relax, and enjoy your backyard paradise.

Get a Rug for the Patio
Consider adding a rug to the patio or deck area to make the space feel cozier. Outdoor rugs vary in material, size, and shape and are generally made to last in all types of weather. They make a great addition to your space, and can also protect your deck.

Install Outdoor Lighting
Nothing is more magical than twinkling lights against a royal-blue evening sky. Add strands of tea lights or other innovative lights to create a fairytale effect in your backyard. In addition to the decorative lighting, you’ll want to consider adding sensor or smart lights to your backyard for added security. Smart lights are a great way to ensure the backyard is lit—you can even control smart lights with your smart phone.

Make the Backyard Private
You may love your neighbors, but that doesn’t mean you want them always peeking into your backyard. Be creative when thinking of ways to ensure better backyard privacy. One easy way to create a private, secluded backyard paradise is to install a fence. Not only does it ensure privacy, but it is an essential safety measure. Install a strong, secure fence to create a private and safe backyard.

Update Your Landscaping
Landscaping can make or break your backyard. It’s essential to take time to update your landscaping to create an outdoor paradise. You don’t need extravagant plants or trees to make your backyard grand. Take some time to cut back unruly trees and bushes, pull the weeds, water and trim the lawn, and plant flowers around the yard. These simple updates will make a world of difference. You’ll have your own secret garden in no time!

Secure Outdoor Belongings
Once you’ve created a magical backyard space, you’ll want to take the necessary precautions to safeguard your belongings. Make sure your garden tools and supplies are in a locked shed—away from kids, pets, and burglars. Take time to assess the backyard for any security breaches. This will keep your family safe and protect your backyard, patio, and deck from major damage.

Summer is a wonderful time to relax and enjoy being outdoors. Update your own backyard and you’ll have access to a private paradise any time you want.

Source: RisMedia

 

 

Posted on July 8, 2017 at 12:21 pm
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: backyard, BBQ, decorating, Entertainment, family, grill, landscaping, lawn, Pools, Privacy, projects, real estate, summer, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

10 No-Grass Backyards You Can Pull Off Anywhere

It’s not just you…who ever said “I just love to mow the lawn and pull weeds”!  Here are some fab ideas for a grass free, easy maintenance yard!

While we can all agree that a lush, green backyard looks gorgeous, grass just doesn’t work for everyone. And grass is definitely not a requirement for a chic and stylish outdoor space. Whether you skip the grass because of your climate, the care and upkeep reasons or simply because of your personal style, there are lots of great options for creating a fabulous grass-free outdoor space.

Joslyn Amato
We’ve rounded up 10 of our favorite concrete backyard spaces to help get you inspired for your summer outdoor makeover.

Dining Area

COLES HAIRSTON
Paula Ables Interiors created this shady outdoor dining space using a variety of textures and materials. The combo of gravel and concrete pavers, paired with the painted brick walls and overhead wood slats, helps bring a modern, fresh feel to this backyard.

Fire Pit

Peter Lyons
This outdoor space by Baran Studio Architecture is an easy, inexpensive solution for unused space in your backyard. Instead of grass, use pea gravel to cover the ground. The homeowners have a built-in fire pit; however, you could easily add a portable fire pit or chiminea for a similar look.

Outdoor Living Room

Coreen Schmidt Photography
If you’re lucky enough to live in a milder climate, you might want to create an outdoor living room like this one by Project Groundwork. With a couple of well-placed pieces of outdoor furniture, you can set up a hangout area. Using gravel and some plants and shrubs, this outdoor space feels super cozy and inviting.

Pool Surround

Chang Kyun Kim
Concrete and gravel are also a great choice of materials to use as a pool surround, like this one by Synthesis Builders. They used large concrete pavers to help create a visual distinction between the pool and seating area. The gravel provides a beautiful texture to the backyard.

Plant Pockets

Zack Benson
Here’s an example of a really clever way to break up a larger concrete outdoor space by landscape architect Angel Carrasco. These small cutouts in the ground filled with plants and shrubs create a break for your eyes and add beautiful pops of color and texture.

Backyard Studio

Joslyn Amato
If you have a larger backyard and want to add a studio, office or guest house, consider setting up your space like Landwell Design.

Source: HGTV.com Blog

Posted on June 6, 2017 at 3:50 pm
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: backyard, BBQ, decorating, DIY, Entertainment, grill, landscaping, lawn, maintenance, Pools, projects, real estate, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Are You Making These 5 Lawn Watering Mistakes?

Ahhhh, the sweet smell of cut grass in the air…a true harbinger of summertime. Keeping that lawn green can be tricky without these great tips on watering!

Proper watering nourishes lawns, just as proper hydration nourishes our bodies. Yet too many of us are failing at both. We’re not going to lecture you about drinking more water, well leave that to your doctor or significant other. But we are going to give you a lesson about correctly watering your lawn.

Here are five lawn-watering mistakes that you’re likely making right now and ways you can fix those mistakes.

1. You’re over-watering your lawn.

Many homeowners drench their lawns with water. However, that’s not a wise move. Over-watering can leave your lawn susceptible to fungus and other diseases. It also can cause your lawn to grow too quickly and can wash away costly fertilizers, according to PlantCareToday.com. In addition, drowning your lawn wastes water.

To avoid excessive watering, PlantCareToday.com recommends buying a soil moisture meter. These meters are very simple and valuable tools that you can pick up for $10 or so at any garden center or home store, the website says.

Lawn care experts say most lawns need one inch of water per week. However, that’s merely a rule of (green) thumb, as watering requirements vary according to grass type, climate and seasonal changes. The amount of water required for an established lawn will be determined by its overall health, beauty, and ability to withstand use and drought, says Turfgrass Producers International, a trade group for sod growers.

Related: Spring Lawn Care Tips You Can Do Now

2. You’re under-watering your new lawn.

While your existing lawn may be getting too much water, your newly planted lawn may not be getting enough. Bayer Advanced, a maker of lawn and garden chemicals, says a new lawn is in a critical stage during its first year. Don’t rely solely on rainfall to establish a healthy, deep root system provide supplemental irrigation during the first year of growth, Bayer Advanced suggests.

How much irrigation you do depends on factors such as the type of grass and the climate.

3. You’re not monitoring your irrigation system.

If you’ve set up an automatically timed irrigation system to water your lawn, don’t put it on autopilot.

Irrigation timers are not set it and forget it devices, says Lee Miller, a turf pathologist at University of Missouri Extension. You’re not cooking turkey for Thanksgiving dinner. Sprinklers should be adjusted according to precipitation events.

For instance, if it’s been steadily raining the past two days, your sprinkler system should be off for a while afterward. The San Diego County Water Authority recommends turning off the sprinklers for two weeks after significant rainfall. After a storm, do not begin watering again until the top 1 to 2 inches of soil are dry. Lawns that lose their lush green luster will rejuvenate with the next rain, says Jeff Stephenson, principal water resources specialist at the San Diego Water Authority.

Researchers at Kansas State University found that 65 – 83 percent of homeowners surveyed in three Kansas cities didn’t know how much water their lawn irrigation systems had applied.

In reality, deep and infrequent irrigation makes for deeper root systems, UM’s Miller says.

4. You’re watering your lawn at the wrong time.

The worst time to water your lawn is when you’re probably sound asleep. Watering after dark soaks the lawn overnight; a soggy lawn invites fungus and other diseases to invade your grass.

When’s the best time to water your lawn? Experts says it’s around 4-8 a.m., before many of us have sipped our first cup of coffee.

Watering the lawn early in the morning gives it a good supply of water to survive the heat of the day, according to University of Illinois Extension. Early morning also tends to be when wind speeds are lower and, therefore, when water evaporation is less likely to occur.

5. You’re assuming that you’ve got to water brown grass.

When your lawn is brown, you might think it’s parched. However, it may simply have gone dormant during hot weather or drought conditions. Dormancy is simply a state of reduced water usage where the turfgrass … focuses resources on the roots, the Lawn Institute says. Dormant turfgrass will turn brown and is often considered unsightly, but it will recover when conditions improve.

In other words, brown grass doesn’t necessarily equal dying grass.

The institute says summer dormancy is a normal response to heat and drought, and most lawns can stay dormant for at least three to four weeks without dying.

During the summer, the worst that will happen if lawns are not watered is that weaker parts of the lawn or areas in hot spots will die, according to the Oregon State University Extension Service. When fall returns, lawns can be reseeded and will recover just fine over the winter.

Source: RisMedia’s Housecall

Posted on May 30, 2017 at 5:47 pm
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: backyard, landscaping, lawn, maintenance, real estate, summer, Uncategorized, watering | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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