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Posts Tagged With: lawn care

Quick Tip Friday- Water saving tip – Check your sprinklers

We are in a drought here in California. A phrase I have been hearing my entire life, but I still take it seriously and try not to be wasteful.

I will be posting water saving tips as often as I can through the spring and summer months.

My water saving advice today is related specifically to sprinklers or watering systems and it is very simple.

Watch when your sprinklers or watering systems run to check for needed repairs or adjustments.

A few years back a neighbor told me about a broken sprinkler she happened to see because our sprinklers ran the same time she left for work everyday. We never happened to see it. Since then I try to check things out twice a year and it paid off this year. We ran a check on the watering system in the backyard recently and discovered a leak that could have gone undetected for a very long time.

As you can see in the pictures there was no obvious problem besides the puddle. Timing and location might have kept us from noticing this puddle for quite some time.  There was a crack in a sprinkler head below the surface we w0uldn’t  know about until we watched our system running to check for possible adjustments in spray pattern or timing.

It was a easy fix to replace the sprinkler head (it just screws off/on) and no more water is being wasted watering our pavers instead of the grass.

sprinkler head sprinkler head2

Take a few minutes to check out your watering system regularly , it’s worth it!

 

 

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Categories: gardening, helpful tips, home maintenance, home repairs, Lawn care, outdoors, Quick tip friday, Uncategorized, Water saving advice | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Stepping up for summer fun

This was a personal project in my own backyard. With summer fast upon us and backyard activities soon to increase we could not go on ignoring this issue any longer.

This area of the lawn was distressed partly due to the extra traffic it gets on the path between the deck and the shed so we decided to put in steppers.

this needs some tlc

this needs some tlc

dreary little section of lawn

dreary little section of lawn

After taking measurements and discussing ideas we headed off to get some step stones.

Tip: Know your spacing and have a plan in mind but stay flexible. What we came home with was different in both size and shape than what we had envisioned and there is no doubt it was the right choice.

We laid the stones in the pattern we thought we wanted and gave ourselves some time to make sure it was how we felt they should be. I can’t speak strongly enough about doing this first, it made such a difference in the satisfaction of the end result. Initially we had planned to lay them in a straight, even line and tried the staggered pattern ‘just to see how it looked’. Now I can’t imagine why we ever thought the straight line was a good idea!

Lay out steppers first for spacing and patterns.

Lay out steppers first for spacing and patterns.

Look at layout from a few angles and take a few minutes to make sure you like it.

Look at layout from a few angles and take a few minutes to make sure you like it.

Once we had the pattern and spacing measured out the rest was pure sweat equity!

Nice clean cuts around the stones and using a shovel with a straight edge kept the job neat and tidy.

dig out carefully in full pieces, keeps ground level and grass can be re-used

dig out carefully in full pieces, keeps ground level and grass can be re-used

clean straight cuts will help make a good final look

clean straight cuts will help make a good final look

I came up with the idea of laying a rope in the hole after the first time we had to take a stone back out to level the dirt a bit more. When you remove or replace a stone by tipping it to one side it creates a divet in the ground beneath it. A rope or strap allows you to lift or lower the stone straight up and prevents divets from happening.

lay a rope or strap in the hole before putting in stone

lay a rope or strap in the hole before putting in stone

If you need to move stepper raise it with rope and pull straight out of hole

If you need to move stepper raise it with rope and pull straight out of hole

rope slides out easily once stepper is placed just right.

rope slides out easily once stepper is placed just right.

This project happened to be on existing lawn that needed to allow for natural imperfections in the slope of the ground so you don’t see me using levels in this case. I needed my stones to match the existing grass more than being accurately level so the lawnmower can easily pass over them.

moving right along

moving right along

We were able to take some of the more healthy portions we had removed and use them to patch in to some of the especially damaged spots. This made a big difference in a few weeks.

This was the worst patch of grass, something had to be done.

This was the worst patch of grass, something had to be done.

cut out the sad patch of grass

cut out the sad patch of grass

patched in grass in bad spot

patched in grass in bad spot

nothing left to do but water and wait

nothing left to do but water and wait

Not bad for a day’s work. Now to nurse the patchy spots back to health.

A few weeks later and the difference is amazing! Grass grew in nicely and the stones look great!

2 1/2 weeks later

2 1/2 weeks later

patch spot looks good

patch spot looks good

One Saturday of work that will pay off for years to come.

Hope you are all enjoying your backyards as much as I get to enjoy mine!!

Happy summer fun! Time to schedule some BBQ activities!

Cass

Categories: DIY tips, gardening, helpful tips, Home Improvement, home maintenance, home repairs, Lawn care, outdoors, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Ready to Spring forward? Time Change Sunday is on the way!

On Sunday, March 11, Daylight Savings Time will begin in most of the United States.  Setting the clock forward is a good reminder that it is time to check on other seasonal items.

Change the clocks, change the batteries.  Smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors save lives … if they’re powered on by a fresh battery.  Safety experts recommend replacing smoke and carbon monoxide detector batteries twice a year–so celebrate Time Change Sunday with fresh batteries all around.

Changing batteries isn’t enough, if it’s been awhile. I bring this up for the winter change and the spring change. If your smoke detectors are 10 years old (or more), it’s time to replace them altogether. It is a small expense to provide a LOT of protection to your home and loved ones.

Start thinking about summer!  The recent summer like weather makes it easy to remember summer is on the way. As the days grow longer and the temperatures get higher there are things to do now in preparation.

  • Check condition of screens – are they ready to keep out all those flying critters we will be seeing soon?
  • Check around the foundation and doorways for cracks and crevices – seal them up before crawly critters start looking for cool vacation spots inside your home when it heats up outside.
  • Do your ceiling fans wobble? Are your window fans securely in place? Don’t wait until you need to use these items everyday to check them out and get them ready for the season.
  • How is your yard looking? Did the weeds take over, or are you ready to plant some colorful spring flowers? We are so lucky to be able to start our spring planting early here in the South Bay! Feed your lawn now and it will require less water in the hot summer months to come.
  • Have you considered planting edibles? Herbs, peppers, strawberries…lots of typical plantings but take a look at all the choices of dwarf and semi dwarf fruit trees! You can practically have your own orchard.
  • Time to dust off the grill! Here is a nice checklist for grill maintenance I found on Real Simple: http://www.realsimple.com/home-organizing/cleaning/more-rooms/gas-grill-maintenance-checklist-00000000002181/index.html#

Set your clocks forward and get set for SPRING!!

Categories: DIY tips, fire detector, fire safety, gardening, helpful tips, outdoors, safety, smoke alarm, smoke detector | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Your Money or Your Time? | RealSimple.com

This is a nice article to help decide what to take on yourself or if you should pay someone else to do it.

They ask Go DIY? Or Hire a Guy?  I take a bit of exception to the gender reference…..but we’ll let that slide for the cute factor of going for the rhyme. 🙂

Your Money or Your Time? | RealSimple.com.

Follow the link for the full article but here are the 4 main questions they pose:

1. Can I realistically pull off this project?

2. What kind of time commitment is really involved?

3. How much will this task cost to complete myself?

4. How much will I enjoy the process?

Additional suggestion from me when making this decision:

Make sure you are really considering ALL the costs involved, your time and the materials are one thing but do you know if  there will be special tools needed to complete this task?

If so is it worth it to buy these tools: will you use them again?

Tool rental can be a great option, check price and availability of what you need BEFORE you decide to take on that project.

You might not be able to rent a tile cutter, would it be worth it to buy one? Or is it better to hire someone else in the first place?

Even for small projects you need to consider this. Changing switches and light fixtures isn’t really that hard for example, but if you need to strip wires the correct tool is worth it. Plumbing often requires specialized tools as well. Even simple jobs like hanging pictures or shelves need the right tools to do the job.

Final note is that a handy person is often much more affordable to hire than someone in the specialized trade such as a plumber or electrician for smaller jobs. A trustworthy handy person will let you know if a job requires the expertise of a particular trade. Personally I always recommend a specialist when a project warrants one.

Categories: answer the phone, cleaning, decorating, DIY tips, do it anyway, gardening, helpful tips, kitchen sink, Lawn care, lights, plumbing, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

When you look at it that way…..

A friend sent me this email and I found it so funny because of the ring of truth to it I decided to post it here. I have no idea who is the original source/author, I would happily credit them if I did!

God, on Lawn Care

God said:  “Frank, you know all about gardens and nature.  What in the world is going on down there on the planet? What happened to the dandelions, violets, milkweeds and stuff I started eons ago?  I had a perfect no-maintenance garden plan.  Those plants grow in any type of soil, withstand drought and multiply with abandon.  The nectar from the long-lasting blossoms attracts butterflies, honey bees and flocks of songbirds.  I expected to see a vast garden of colors by now.  But, all I see are these green rectangles.”

St. FRANCIS:
It’s the tribes that settled there, Lord.  The Suburbanites.  They started calling your flowers ‘weeds’ and went to great lengths to kill them and replace them with grass.

GOD:
Grass?  But, it’s so boring.  It’s not colorful.  It doesn’t attract butterflies, birds and bees; only grubs and sod worms.  It’s sensitive to temperatures.  Do these Suburbanites really want all that grass growing there?

ST. FRANCIS :
Apparently so, Lord.  They go to great pains to grow it and keep it green.  They begin each spring by fertilizing grass and poisoning any other plant that crops up in the lawn.

GOD:
The spring rains and warm weather probably make grass grow really fast.  That must make the Suburbanites happy.

ST. FRANCIS :
Apparently not, Lord.  As soon as it grows a little, they cut it–sometimes twice a week.

GOD:
They cut it?  Do they then bale it like hay?

ST. FRANCIS :
Not exactly, Lord.  Most of them rake it up and put it in bags.

GOD:
They bag it?  Why?  Is it a cash crop?  Do they sell it?

ST. FRANCIS :
No, Sir, just the opposite.  They pay to throw it away.

GOD:
Now, let me get this straight.  They fertilize grass so it will grow.  And, when it does grow, they cut it off and pay to throw it away?

ST. FRANCIS :
Yes, Sir.

GOD:
These Suburbanites must be relieved in the summer when we cut back on the rain and turn up the heat.  That surely slows the growth and saves them a lot of work.

ST. FRANCIS :
You aren’t going to believe this, Lord.  When the grass stops growing so fast, they drag out hoses and pay more money to water it, so they can continue to mow it and pay to get rid of it.

GOD:
What nonsense.  At least they kept some of the trees.  That was a sheer stroke of genius, if I do say so myself.  The trees grow leaves in the spring to provide beauty and shade in the summer.  In the autumn, they fall to the ground and form a natural blanket to keep moisture in the soil and protect the trees and bushes.  It’s a natural cycle of life.

ST. FRANCIS :
You better sit down, Lord.  The Suburbanites have drawn a new circle.  As soon as the leaves fall, they rake them into great piles and pay to have them hauled away.

GOD:
No!?  What do they do to protect the shrub and tree roots in the winter to keep the soil moist and loose?

ST. FRANCIS :
After throwing away the leaves, they go out and buy something which they call mulch.  They haul it home and spread it around in place of the leaves.

GOD:
And where do they get this mulch?

ST. FRANCIS :
They cut down trees and grind them up to make the mulch.

GOD:
Enough!  I don’t want to think about this anymore.  St. Catherine , you’re in charge of the arts.  What movie have you scheduled for us tonight?

ST. CATHERINE :
‘Dumb and Dumber,’ Lord.  It’s a story about…

GOD:
Never mind, I think I just heard the whole story from St. Francis

Including a picture of my own lawn seems to be appropriate because I too of course am guilty of all of the above!

Categories: gardening, helpful tips, Lawn care, outdoors | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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