Posts Tagged lawns

Five Tips For Keeping your Lawn Green in Summer

We all want a luxurious, thick lawn this summer.  However, it can be really hard to keep your lawn green in a hot, Southern California summer.  Here are five tips for keeping your lawn green this summer:mowing lawn

Tip #1: If your lawn was just recently installed from sod, make sure to give it a little extra water to help it establish.  If you’ve had your lawn for a long time, set your sprinkler system on a regular schedule.  The best time to water your lawn and other plants is early in the morning.  This allows the water to soak down into the root system before it evaporates in the summer sun.

In summertime, your grass can become dormant and turn brown.  This doesn’t mean your grass is dead – and if you don’t mind a brown lawn, be sure to water your turf minimally once a week with about 2.5 cm of water if it hasn’t rained within that week.  This won’t keep your grass green – but it will prevent the majority of it from dying out.

Tip #2: Mow your lawn in the cooler hours – the morning and evening – to avoid heat stress.

Additional mowing tips are:

– Change up the pattern of your mowing – don’t just mow in the same direction every week.

– Consider adding a mulching blade to your mower.  This cuts the grass up into tiny pieces and allows the clippings to return back into your lawn as extra fertilizer.

– Try setting your mowing blade down to 2 inches to reduce the amount of water your grass needs in the summertime.

Tip #3: Check your soil.  If you have a “green space” that is really a brown space, check the soil.  It’s possible that it can use amendment or aeration.  Consult with a professional landscaper on how to get the most out of your Sprinkler System Installationyard space.

Tip #4: If you don’t have one, get a sprinkler system installed.  It can be very hard to ensure your grass receives regular, even watering.  If you are worried about water waste, try installing a drip water system.  This gets water straight to the soil, so it is more directly absorbed into the roots of your plants and grass.

Tip #5: Install walkways in heavily traveled areas.  If you don’t have a walkway up to your front door, chances are people will be trampling your lawn.  It is a smart idea to direct the flow of traffic than harm your entire lawn.

*Bonus tip: If you have a dog that uses your lawn as their restroom – be sure to spray the spots were your dog pees with water.  The reason  your grass turns yellow in these spots is that your dog’s urine contains too much nitrogen for the grass to handle.  When it is dispersed with water, your plants can actually utilize the nitrogen as fertilizer.

For more tips about lawns, plant care, and more – check out these helpful hints.

Here’s to a summer full of fun, sun, and greenery!


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Keeping Your Landscape Green

Around this time of year is where we finally get to see some scattered showers once in a while – like in Agoura Hills, Children feet in green grassWoodland Hills, and Malibu. But, in between those showers, what is the best tactic for keeping everything green and happy?

1. Schedule your sprinklers.  Keep your sprinklers on a consistent schedule until rain becomes more regular.  Water your lawn deeply, every few days, in order to keep the roots growing deeper into the soil.  Right now, all we can count on when it comes to rain is inconsistent, shallow watering.

Another factor in this is that it’s still pretty warm out, so keep your watering schedule in the early morning.

2. Reseed.  It’s a little late in the year for reseeding, but you can try it and see what pops up.  A better idea is to decide weather you want to reseed next year, or if you want to get a whole new landscape installed.

3. Compost. Any areas where you think grass or other plants didn’t grow healthily last year are great areas to lay down compost this time of year.

4. As hard as it is this time of year, try to keep people and decorations off your lawn as much as possible.  One easy way to keep people from hurting your lawn is to have clear, well-lit paths or walkways.  This will direct people to walk where you want them in the predominantly dark hours of the day.

5. Maintain your mowing patterns.  Keep mowing consistently to keep your grass looking spiffy.

6. Leave some of your clippings behind.  This is a really easy way to compost your lawn.  Do a little “maintenance mowing” (meaning, don’t wait a really long time between mowings) and leave the short grass clippings on top of your lawn.

7. Try to keep your pets off the grass.  This is a hard one, but dog urine can cause yellow spots in your lawn.  If they have no other place to go to the bathroom, just make sure to spray the area they peed on afterwards with lots of water.  The pee itself is actually a great fertilizer, it’s just in such a concentrated form that it will “burn” your grass.  If you disperse the urine, the grass may even benefit from it.

Here’s to a green, lovely landscape for the holidays!

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Wintertime Dreamin

It’s that time of year again.  Hopefully any lawn decorations and string lighting is set up, your yard is put to bed, and any lawn furniture is put away.  It’s time for us to look at our yards and plan for next year.

When it comes to home improvement, plans are generally modified by budget and available space.  So, what projects do you want to accomplish next year?  Here are some ideas:

– Go native.  It’s always good to add native plants to your yard – or to even take the plunge and plant only natives.  This will likely cut down your water bills and gardening costs – as Southern California natives like poppies, sage, Meeting Placedeer grass, California lilac, Coast Live Oak, Western Sycamore, etc are literally made for your soil.  These types of plants are great for hot, dry SoCal cities like Agoura Hills, La Canada, and Silverlake.  While you will need to keep them well watered to allow their roots to establish, over time they will help cut down that water bill.  Additionally, natives usually attract native birds and insects throughout the year, so your yard may become filled with butterflies, bumblebees and birds.

– Get sprinklers or a drip system installed.  As you well know, Southern California is hot and dry.  To keep up any kind of lawn or plants, you need some source of water.  Take a look at your space and decide if it would be better to go with a sprinkler system, or a drip system.  Drip systems get the water straight to the plant roots, which usually makes them more cost-effective.

Install hardscaping.  Are you sick of dealing with plants and sprinklers and so on?  Or maybe you want a place where your family and friends can gather outdoors and have a barbecue or a picnic.  These circumstances speak to getting hardscaping installed.  There are many different options for hardscaping – stone, concrete, brick, etc.  And your hardscaping ideas aren’t limited to a back patio or island.  Take a look at your entry way, your front walk, and your driveway.  These are all areas which can be improved with something as small as cleaning and sealing the concrete, stone or brick they are made of – or as in-depth and replacing the existing look with something completely different.

Make little changes.  It’s those details that make all the difference, from installing a fountain or lamp post in the back, to putting up a hammock for summertime or sprucing up your lawn furniture  you can make a big difference in your yard.

– Install a space for family gatherings.  Again, this can be as small as setting up a picnic table with benches – or as big as getting a firepit with surrounding seats installed.

– Get a nice screen to make your backyard your own little world.  Bamboo, tall bushes, and other plants can be installed to keep your backyard private and muffle outside sounds.  Take a look at what separates you from your neighbors and see if it can’t be improved.  If it’s a chain-link fence, perhaps you can discuss improvements with your neighbors and get a block wall or a wooden fence installed.  If you know your neighbor’s like the look of what separates your property lines, perhaps you can find plants you like to conceal it, or you can decorate it with a fountain or sculpture.

– Install any lighting.  This is actually something you should do over the winter, as this is the time of year when there is more darkness, and additional lighting would be welcome.

Here’s to a holiday season full of dreams fulfilled.

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Make those roots go deep

If your lawn dries out easily, it’s a good idea to check out the idea of forcing the roots of your grass to explore deeper soil.

How does one do this, though, when it’s so hot outside? You don’t want to kill your lawn.

Here’s a thought: deep water your lawn instead of your normal light watering, but do it less frequently, allowing the soil on top to dry out a bit between watering. The roots of your grass (and any other plants you happen to be growing) will explore deeper soil for water.

Additionally, water in early morning so the water actually trickles into the soil, and doesn’t just evaporate.

Creating deep-rooted plants is helpful in a few ways:
1. It’s a water saving tip which could help you out when you get your water bill.

2. Your plants will reap the benefit of richer, nutrition-laced soil it has not explored before. This, plus fertilizing the top of your soil will give you happier and prettier plants.

3. Deep-rooted plants tend to be healthier, which means they are less likely to become a fire hazard or ravaged by bugs. Additionally, if you are living on a slope, it’s vital your plants become deep-rooted before the season of flash flooding we like to call Fall/Winter.

So, here’s to healthy lawns and plants, low water bills and green, green days ahead.

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It was a dark and stormy night

Just when we thought Spring was coming along, crazy weather hits.

When you know a storm is coming along, here are some things you should do to “batten down the hatches” and protect your landscape.

1. Protecting your lawn:  As pointed out in a previous post, your lawn can usually survive for up to four days under water, so it should be okay when an extreme rain comes along. An additional preparatory tip you can make sure you use is always keep your lawn well-fertilized and create a drought tolerant lawn.

2. Protect your furniture: Make sure to bring any cushions and so on in-doors and ensure your furniture is covered. You can do this by placing tarps over the furniture (as long as you have them securely fastened down) or by dragging your deck furniture into the garage.

3. Protect from debris: There is truly only so much you can do in this light, but if you know there will be a big storm with lots of wind and rain, try to cut off anything dead from your plants, as well as pick up any loose trash and such in your yard. If you set a good example in this, you can encourage your neighbors to do the same and prevent debris from landing in your yard, and in the sewer system.

4. Protect your potted plants: Lots of wind and rain can flood and topple potted plants. Move them to a sheltered location such as a covered patio or your garage. If they are far to heavy to move, make sure the pot is securely positioned against toppling over.

5. Keep an eye out for any area in your yard that floods: If you encounter lots of flooding and not enough drainage in your yard, you can always consult a professional landscaper to solve your issues.

Here’s hoping your “dark and stormy nights” begin and end with you warm and safe.

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Keeping Your Lawn Alive

Driving down the street by my Southern California home, I constantly see  dried out lawns that will not survive the summer.  I also see a ton of preventable water runoff, which, during this drought, can get you a ticket.

So, how to achieve that illusive middle ground – the green summer lawn without the extra water runoff? 

It’s a pretty tricky proposition.  Here are some tips and tricks to keeping your lawn looking decent throughout the year.

– Before installing your lawn and sprinkler system, find out what your options are from your landscaper.  You could ensure the grading of your property promotes water conservation, make sure the sprinkler system you install has rain sensors, low pressure valves, etc.  A sprinkler system which waters the roots of your plants often reduces the water needed and is usually a more effective method of watering.  You can also discuss what time of the day (usually the wee morning hours) are best to water your lawn.

– Ensure your lawn and other plants are properly mulched.  This can be done with leaves and grass clippings.   The mulch will protect the soil from direct and drying sunlight. 

– Don’t overfertilize. It’s nice to have the vibrant green grass, but most fertilizers require you water them into the soil. So, it’s okay to let your lawn “dull” a little and save on the water.

– Set the mower at two inches.  This will reduce water use during hot weather.

– Water the turf one a week with about 2.5 centimeters of water.   This may not stop your grass from turning a little brown, but it should ensure it lives to see another fall.

Check out this link for helpful hints for maintaining your lawn.

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Dealing with Crazy Weather

The last week of “summer weather” here in Los Angeles has been extremely strange and unseasonal.  Odd weather patterns are never good for plants, but there is a way to keep your plants relatively happy, even when the day goes from overcast to scorching hot in a matter of hours.

Plants like consistency, so inconsistent weather can throw them off and make it harder for them to grow normally.  So, keeping all other factors of their lives consistent is extremely helpful in maintaining beautiful landscaping. 

If you have sprinklers that you reprogram for the various times of year, consider obtaining a controller which has a mini weather station attached.  One of these devices can ensure you only water your yard when it’s needed.  There’s one version of this which is basically a rain override switch that can be installed pretty easily on some sprinkler controls.

These sprinkler controls keep your plants happy and watered.  This allows them to grow in the expected manner – even while the weather is being fussy.

Because water can be hard to come by, check out these water saving tips for more information on how to keep your yard healthy and happy – while keeping your wallet heavy.

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