Tips for Reviving Your Lawn After Winter

Tips for Reviving Your Lawn After Winter

Waking up your lawn can be challenging, and there is added pressure if you want to put a home on the market. Early spring is one of the best times of the year to make your home look great. This busy season coincides with an uptick in activity in the real estate market, making it that much more critical for you to get your lawn back in great shape.

Here are a few helpful tips for reviving your lawn after the beating it likely took this winter:

Feed It Well
Spring is the most critical time to give your lawn a boost. Winter drags on in many areas of the country, which can deplete a yard come spring. If you find yourself in this situation, try applying a quick-release fertilizer to prepare your lawn for spring. This fertilizer will get to the roots and green up your yard in a few days. However, be cautious when applying a quick-release fertilizer, as putting too much in one spot can kill your grass.

Other fertilizer options include slow-release fertilizers that’ll feed your lawn over time. This kind of fertilizer usually comes in granules or pellets that sit on top of your soil. They dissolve over time and provide the best long-lasting energy option for lawns.

Water in the Morning
Fertilizer applications need moisture to work best. Watering your lawn in the spring may seem counterintuitive given the rainfall that some climates receive, but watering your lawn regularly is essential to help the grass grow strong. Consider watering your yard in the morning before 10 a.m., as this will allow the lawn time to soak up the water and dry out under the afternoon sun. Watering in the evening or at night may seem smart, but it can actually cause lawn care problems such as disease and fungi.

Ease Into Mowing
While your lawn may have grown a little throughout the winter depending on your location, lawns need some time to ease into the spring. Refrain from mowing your lawn on a low setting as temperatures go up. Short lawns expose the root system, which can create a stressful situation for the grass. Consider doing a light mow early on in the season to take off the tips of the blades. Doing so will ease your lawn back into the growing season and will help keep it looking great.

Start Fighting Weeds
Homeowners looking to put their home on the market should combat any weeds in their lawn. There are many weed and feed chemicals to help prevent weeds. These mixes often include different fertilizers, so be sure to read the directions so that you don’t give your lawn too much. Locate any problem areas in your yard and consider applying weed control to those areas, as well.

Seed Thin Spots
It’s common for bare spots to appear after a long winter. Immediately care for areas of the lawn that have thinned or are completely bare. These spots can cause problems, not only with weed growth, but also in presenting a beautiful lawn to a prospective buyer. Rake out these spots in your yard and apply a good amount of seed. Give these spots extra water a few weeks after you seed them to encourage new grass roots to take hold.

There are many ways to help your lawn come back after a long winter. Mow the grass on a high setting until it has had time to recover, fertilize and water the lawn to boost growth, and be sure to keep weeds away by using preventive measures. Follow all the tips listed above and your lawn will be back to its former glory in no time.


SOURCE: Katie Kuchta

5 Sneaky Ways to Organize Your Home

5 Sneaky Ways to Organize Your Home

There are days when clutter seems to grow of its own accord, and you can’t seem to keep up with it. At some point, every little cache of stuff will have to be attended to. But, say the clutter-busters at Good Housekeeping Magazine, there are lots of sneaky things you can do to make your home look neat and organized even on its worst days:

Mail, receipts and miscellaneous papers. Set up a pretty inbox—an attractive, decorated box with a lid—on your kitchen counter to hold the mail, receipts and other paperwork you intend to get to within the week. If guests turn up, just pop the lid on the box to hide the clutter.

Recipes. If you’re a recipe collector who is slow to file those gems away, buy a few self-adhesive pocketed organizers to stick onto the inside of cabinet doors. Tucking recipes (or whatever) into the organizers will help keep countertops clear. You can also stick an erasable bulletin board inside a kitchen cabinet for posting appointment reminders, phone numbers, and more.

Kitchen Tools. If you can never find the zester or potato peeler when you need them, a set of expandable drawer organizers will allow you to put things in order in a matter of minutes.

Under the Sink. As with most homeowners, you likely have a stash of boxes, bottles, cleaners and other stuff under the kitchen sink and a tangle of paper goods and beauty supplies under the bathroom sink. Maximize the space under any sink with double-decker storage racks and bins.

Playroom. Is the playroom floor always full of small toys and puzzle pieces? Throw a couple hula hoops around a few of them and challenge the kids to stow away the stuff within ‘their’ hula hoop, continuing until everything is stored away. Alternatively, buy a steamer trunk or a lidded ottoman so that you can quickly and easily hide toys and games.

Source: Barbara Pronin

Design Don’ts for a Small Kitchen

Design Don’ts for a Small Kitchen

Whether you’re living in a sprawling mansion or a one-bedroom flat, the heart of any home is always the kitchen. You can count on family and friends to gather here for meal prep, late-night fridge raids, social gatherings or any number of memorable discussions, from the light-hearted to the life-altering.

That’s why it’s so important to maximize your kitchen space for both aesthetics and function, a goal that becomes even more challenging when you’re short on space. Interior designer Anne Hepfer shares what not to do in a small kitchen with

  1. Don’t use small tile. The smaller the tile, the more grout there is to clean, so avoid using small grout tile, especially behind a stove where grease can splatter. Hepfer suggests using large tiles or stone slab behind the stove since keeping your kitchen sparkling clean is even more critical when it’s small.
  2. Don’t leave space between the cabinets and ceiling. This will create the illusion of lowering the height of the room, and also become a space that collects dust. Try cabinets that go all the way to the ceiling, or use a fascia instead.
  3. Avoid honed-stone countertops. Referring to stone that has been ground to a smooth, matte finish, this material can stain easily. Instead, opt for polished granite, marble or quartzite. Hepfer also suggests avoiding butcher block countertops, which can stain easily and be difficult to maintain.
  4. Stay away from trendy materials. Hepfer suggests staying away from materials that will quickly become dated. Instead, invest in materials that will always be in style. This goes a long way toward resale value, as well.
  5. Keep clutter under control. Small kitchens have a low tolerance for clutter, so take steps to keep your countertops clear. Find a home for appliances within cabinets, except for those you use daily, such as a toaster or coffee maker.
Think Spring! How to Map Out Your Garden Goals

Think Spring! How to Map Out Your Garden Goals

Advanced planning is a good idea in all cases, even when it comes to your outdoor space. Don’t wait until spring arrives to create the backyard of your dreams. Map out your goals now by following these steps from the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) and TurfMutt:

Call a family meeting. Discuss ways everyone in the household, including kids and pets, can embrace time spent outdoors and make better use of your yard. From stress reduction to promoting exercise, getting outside is key to a healthy life.

Sketch out your current yard and its available green space. Make note of existing trees, bushes, structures and flower and gardening beds so that you can identify what needs to change and what is currently working for you, your family and your pets.

Visualize you and your family in the space. What outdoor activities would you like to do more of? This could include anything from al fresco family dinners, entertaining, yoga, or simply relaxing in a hammock or comfortable lounge chair. Or perhaps you’re simply looking to create a play zone for your children and/or your pets so that they can get more outdoor activity.

Develop your improvement and maintenance goals. List the play and work areas that will make your dreams a reality. What would enhance this space for your family? What do you need in the yard to provide a safe and welcoming place for families to gather and for kids and pets to play? Enhanced landscaping, play structures and areas for specific activities, such as patios, decks, outdoor kitchens and fire pits, need to be identified.

Determine which plants are best for your climate. Selecting the right plants, trees and shrubs for your climate zone is important for keeping maintenance to a minimum and maximizing benefits to the environment. Figuring this out now will make shopping at your local nursery more productive later.

Map out a timeline and plan for your yard. Mark the areas where improvements and maintenance are needed, and where you might need more landscaping. Develop a timeline, based on your needs, the climate zone and weather for your community to identify when certain tasks should be completed. There are better times to plant than others, depending on where you live and your goals.

Take stock of your lawn and landscape tools. Does your outdoor power equipment need to be serviced before the spring season? Or maybe you’ve recently moved to a home with a yard and need to purchase a lawn mower, trimmer, edger, leaf blower or other equipment for your home. Now’s a good time to take stock of the equipment and tools you’ll need so that you’ll be ready for seasonal changes.

Know when to call in a pro. Be realistic about what you can and can’t handle on your own. If you think you need professional assistance, now is the time to line up consultants and obtain bids. This will put you a step ahead of the spring rush.

How to Do Away With Dust in Your Home

How to Do Away With Dust in Your Home

If you find yourself at home with itchy, watery eyes and a sneezy, stuffy, runny nose, you could be allergic to dust, more more accurately, dust mites — microscopic organisms that feed off the dust around your house.

Dust mite allergies are actually one of the most common indoor allergens.  Luckily, there are important steps you can take to keep them at bay.  Try these suggestions from the editors at Self magazine:

Clean once a week.  While cleaning once a week is a good starting point, twice a week would be even better.  If making time to clean is a challenge, the task will become less arduous once you come up with a consistent routine and stick with it.

Use a damp dust cloth.  Instead of dusting with a dry cloth, dampen it first.  This will allow you to actually pick up dust as opposed to just moving it around.  A good dusting spray will also do the trick.

Vacuum the right way.  This can be achieved by using a HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter, which is particularly good at capturing dust mites.  It’s also important to change the filter regularly.  To determine the frequency that’s recommended for your machine, follow your vacuum’s instructions.

Wear a mask and gloves.  In addition to wearing a mask and gloves while cleaning, be sure to cover yourself with long sleeves and pants.  A face mask creates a physical barrier between your mouth, nose and the contaminants that trigger your allergies.  Protective clothing and gloves will help prevent allergens from irritating your skin.

Leave your house for a few hours.  Cleaning tends to kick up dust mites and allergens, so once you’ve done a deep clean, get out of the house and allow them to settle.  Try to leave a window or two open, weather permitting.

Declutter your home as much as possible.  Take the time to eliminate clutter so that dust has fewer places to settle and hide away.

Wash your bedding weekly in hot water.  Believe it or not, bedding is a prime area for dust mites, so keep this task at the top of your priority list.  It’s also a good idea to vacuum your mattress, as well.

Change your AC and heating filters.  Air conditioning and heating vents regularly filter air throughout your home and capture dust and dust mites in the process, so be sure to change these every three months.  A good way to remember this important task is to change them with the seasons.

If your allergies are too severe to tackle these tasks on your own, hire someone to do this type of cleaning.  Your health and well-being are worth the investment.

Cool Kitchen Gadgets Too Cute to Pass Up

Cool Kitchen Gadgets Too Cute to Pass Up

There are gadgets that simply make life easier, and then there are those that not only do the job, but that are just too cute to pass up.  Kitchen divas–or wannabe kitchen divas–need to check out these seven worthwhile gizmos:

The ultimate hot dogger.  Love a good hot dog?  Pop both the hot dogs and buns into this bright red retro toaster-for-two, then add the mustard and kraut.  You can do it for about $20.

Clip-on colander.  Tired of hauling out that big colander to drain the water out of the pasta?  Strain it with ease, using a lightweight gadget that clips on to the pasta pot.  Available for about $12.

Quick and easy breakfast champ.  Having a small space shouldn’t stop you from enjoying a complete breakfast.  This three-in-one breakfast center lets you fry your egg on the oven-top griddle, toast a biscuit in the toaster oven and brew a hot pot of coffee all at the same time.  It’s a steal at about $35.

Chef n’cob corn stripper.  Don’t be that person who tries to strip an ear of corn and winds up with kernels all over the kitchen.  This clever corn stripper will make you an expert for only about $7.

Dinosaur soup ladle.  Show off your homemade soup by serving it at the table with an adorable dinosaur shaped ladle that takes no space to stow away because it stands up on the counter and smiles at you.  A must-have at under $20.

The Sushi Bazooka.  Want to look like an accomplished sushi chef? The Sushi Bazooka makes it easy to create perfectly round sushi rolls at home.  The tube opens up so that you can pack it with layer of rice on both sides and veggies or fish in the middle.  All you have to do is close the tube, push the roll out and wrap it in nori.  And thanks to this gadget, you can it for under $15.

Spaghetti measurer.  Never know how much spaghetti to cook?  This nifty measurer tells you just how much to cook for a kid, the average grown-up and the big eater.  This nifty took will set you back about $11.

SOURCE: Barbara Pronin

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