Congratulations! You’re finally a homeowner. You now have a brand spanking new house with a yard to boot. Caring for a house is manageable at the very least, but a yard?
The challenge in being a novice yard owner is to, basically, not screw it up. How, you say? By avoiding a few common blunders listed by landscaping experts that new homeowners make waaaaaay to often.
Here’s what the pros say we inexperienced homeowners often do wrong with our yards and lawns:
Being too strict with the height of your grass.
Who would have ever thought that grass can be cut too short? I didn’t. And probably neither did you. Mowing our lawn isn’t exactly fun and we’re always tempted to skip the next week’s mowing schedule by cutting our grass extra short. What we don’t know is that if the grass is too short, they don’t get enough sunlight which equals, you guessed it, brown grass and a brown lawn.
Wet grass is not watered grass.
First-time homeowners often think watering their lawn a little bit here and there is enough. If the grass is wet, it’s watered, right?
Not quite. What’s important is how moist the soil is underneath. Ideally, you want the soil to be moist 6 inches deep. To make sure your lawn gets enough water, you should:
- Check every 15 minutes if it’s your first time watering your lawn. Make sure to use a shovel to check that the soil is moist 6 inches deep.
- Keep track of how long it takes to get moist and water that same amount of time the next time.
Is this just about keeping your lawn pretty and not seeming lazy? No, and here’s why: If you’re thinking about selling your home in the future, a good lawn always makes a good first impression and opens the door to potential buyers. A sad looking lawn just turns them away.
If we’re talking about fertilizers, too much of a good thing is..well, too much. The number one snafu new homeowners often make with fertilizer is overdoing it. They put in more than enough – and more is not more.Too much fertilizer negatively affects plant growth and can even burn or kill grass and plants. It can also cause more harm if it runs off into waterways which can cause toxic algae bloom.
To avoid dreadful outcomes, prepare and administer fertilizer with care. Be careful to use only the amount of recommended fertilizer – or even less.
Ignoring product directions
Sometimes we have unwelcome guests in our front yard for a variety of reasons. One thing a lot of new homeowners miss in trying to win the battle against crawling invaders is making sure that their weapon’s (chemical product) formulation is right for the target and right for the season.
Abusing Weed Killer
Weed killer is only for, say it with me, weeds. Not your whole yard. So, only use the weed killer on small isolated areas, OK?
In getting rid of weeds, non-chemical solutions work too, such as pulling weeds out by hand or dousing them with boiling water. But, prevention is best. Quash them with mulch before they can take root.
Arranging your plants too close to each other
By planting bushes, shrubs, trees, annuals, or perennials closely together, you’re not giving them room to grow. And you’re forcing them to compete with each other for sunshine and nutrients in the soil. You won’t be happy with those results.
Here’s some advice on how far apart you should plant or arrange your plants:
- Trees usually need to be planted as far apart as their mature width from each other.
- Perennials should be six to thirty six inches apart, depending on their mature size
Not knowing where to cut limbs and branches
When cutting those out-of-control bushes, what you want to do is leave the “branch collar” — usually a small bump where the trunk and branch come together.
Don’t saw it off in the middle of the branch or cut it flush with the trunk either. It’s important to leave the branch collar because it contains special cells to help a tree or shrub recover from its wounds. Leaving the branch too long or cutting it too short prevents the branch collar from doing its job, which means instead of losing a branch or two, you could lose the entire tree or bush.
Letting your beloved pet run free
And by that we mean allowing them to do their business wherever they please.But after awhile, you’ll notice yellow grass. Then dead grass. They’re being burned alive by your pet’s urine. Not good.
But there are things you can do, like training your little one to go in one special area. You could even make it a spot without any grass to kill at all.