A friend is asking for some help with their yard. It seems that they have a few neighbors that are complaining about their property and they don’t have a lot of money to hire professional services.So, we are going to take this opportunity to give a few secrets we have learned over the years to manage your yard and home to get the most out of it for very little money.
Honestly if you are one of these people you really need to stop being one of these people because something that is small to you is big to everyone that lives around you. Its not an easy thing to say but it might just be that you don’t have the time and you don’t have the money but if you choose to live in a community with lots of homes then even if you don’t have an HOA you have a responsibility to your neighbors to at least take general care of your home so you don’t bring down home values and you don’t become a topic of discussion. Its the same as not coming home at 3am blasting your car stereo. You don’t want to be that neighbor and you have to realize that its you and not them… Its time to be an adult.
So lets get into this quickly what can our friend do to improve the visual appearance of their home in a couple weeks and start moving towards a yard that they can care for themselves.
Getting Rid Of The Weeds In Your Yard Makes Life Easier
Most people don’t realize it until its too late but there is are a few reasons that you don’t want weeds in your yard. First is that weeds grow much faster than yard grass that has been cultivated over many years by seed suppliers to provide a uniform plant coverage for your yard.
Without some type of coverage on your yard you will have erosion. Rain will wash out dirt areas and you will run into lots of problems.
To remove weeds you need to use a mixture of weed killer and grass fertalizer. This will help your good grass grow while it is killing the plants you don’t want.
Early in spring normally in Late March to Early April but maybe earlier in your area when you see the first dandelion plant you should have already purchased your bags of weed and feed and a push spreader to apply it. For a half acre lawn you want to use a full 25 pound bag of weed and feed and an additional 10 pound bag of Crabgrass killer. Mix them together and apply before a rain if you can.
If you are curing a really bad yard you will need to follow this up again in about 3 months however I normally only let about 45 days pass before I apply a second treatment on lawns I am trying to fix. The reason is that at some point you are going to want to plant some grass seed and weed killer will prevent good grass seed from growing.. it won’t hurt your growing grass unless you apply way too much but it will stop new seed from starting and that is proof that it works.
Next thing you want to do is buy a premixed gallon jug of liquid weed killer with a squirt attachment. Some are battery operated and some are pump. Both are fine to use. In addition you want to buy a quart of concentrated weed killer of the same manufacture so you can refill that jug instead of buying premixed. Buying premixed vs concentrate just means you are paying 5 times as much and just buying a lot of water.
You want to walk your entire yard 2 days before you cut the grass and spray every dandelion and other weed you see with the liquid weed killer. Just hit each weed for about 2 seconds to make it wet. The next day you will see what you planted is withering or dead and you will see new one you have to hit. Hit the next batch and then when you cut your grass on day three you want to bag your grass if you have a bagger on your lawnmower.
Repeat this again in a week and by the third week most of your weeds should be under control from both the dry and the liquid weed killer.
The cost to do this will be about $50 for the dry weed killer in a bag and about $20 for the liquid weed killer. If you don’t have a spreader you will need to get a small one for about $25-30. Make sure you look for sales because sometimes I have even got buy one get one discounts on top of sales prices. Especially late in the fall you can get deals and keep the bags in a shed or garage.
How Often Should You Cut Your Grass?
So our friend is having problems with his neighbors because he has been cutting his grass every 2 weeks but it is probably more like 3 weeks and his grass is getting very high.
In most areas even outside of HOA areas you can get fined if you let your grass grow too long. The city or county will fine you normally at about 12 inches but if you live in a HOA it might be half that.
My recommendation is that you don’t let your grass get higher than 6 inches because any higher just makes it difficult to cut. You will spend more time and effort. If you lawn mower is bogging out and dying because of high grass then you need to cut it more often.
For our friend I suggest that they start cutting their grass every time their adjoining next door neighbor cuts their grass. If they are cutting it then you stop what you are doing and go out and cut your grass for an hour. After a few weeks you will get into a rhythm and your neighbor will know you are doing just as much as they are.
Cleaning The Outside Of Your Home Costs Next To Nothing
I see a lot of houses that have a green mold growing on them and it really makes the home look uncared for. If you have a heavy mold problem then you might need a pressure washer but if you have generally bad problems you can take care of it with a 2 gallon pump up sprayer and a gallon of bleach.
If you have a 2 story home it is more difficult and you might want to contact a professional or rent a pressure washer. If you have a single story or split level home you can get this done in about 2 hours.
Fill the garden sprayer with half a gallon of bleach, 1/2 cup of liquid laundry soap and the rest water. Then just spray the walls of your home starting at the front of your home and following in one direction around the home. Refill as needed and keep your whole house wet with the mixture for at least an hour. Longer is better.
You can then use a garden hose to wash down the home. I normally try to do this when I know its going to rain. I will see clouds in the sky and hear a report that rain is comming and just go out and spray down the house and by the time it gets there I am done and I don’t have to rinse it.
Do the same to your deck and concrete steps and walkways.
Is That A New Driveway? No Its Just $50 Of Driveway Sealer
Everyone with an asphalt driveway should seal it once every 3 to 5 years to keep the cracks filled and seal the surface from ice that forms in the winter which can break it apart as easy as a jack hammer.
On the other hand $50 worth of Driveway Sealer and a dollar store Paint Roller on a Broom Stick can turn your ugly driveway into one that looks brand new in half a day.
Wear some old clothes and I might suggest that you wrap your pants in plastic garbage bags. You look funny for a couple hours but you still have pants you can wear in the end. Shoes are the same deal you cover them or they better be ones you are just about to throw away. I keep a set of clothes for work like this unfortunately sometimes I forget to use them and I end up with more clothes like this.
I Really Love Your Flowers
The next thing you want to think about is planting some plants that you don’t have to care for. If you plant a lot of bushes you will have to trim them at least once a year. If you plant Annuals then they have to be replanted every year and that costs time and money.
I suggest that you look for Perennial Plants like Large Iris that can get up to 3 feet tall and come in varieties that will flower in summer, and fall. The green plant will last much longer but will die back over the winter.
Hosta are also great plants as they are decorative and fit well in beds that are around your front door. They are also Perennials and don’t need to be replanted. Every year they will come back for many years to come.
The best part about Perennials is that not only do they last for many years they also multiply. You start out with Hosta root cuttings and single bulbs for flowers and by the end of the season they grow large enough that you can divide them and create 2 or more plants. I have a bed on the side of my house where I grow plants for this reason. Eventually when I get enough I will start planting them under my trees to grow a border around the base of the tree and once they have taken over the area I won’t have to buy another bag of mulch.
You can buy perennials at major stores in bags of a dozen or more bulbs for only about $5 its cheap and easy. Just plant them in good soil or get a bag of soil and fill a hole you dig and plant them and wait.
This is a pretty long how to but I hope it gives our friend some ideas of what they can do to improve their home dramatically. When you live in a development rather than homes that are separated by big distances in rural communities then it really is your responsibility to your neighbor to take general care of your home. If you are not the type of person that can do this then you probably should look for a home where this is taken care for you such as a Condo or an Apartment. Not everyone is cut out for or willing to manage their home even if they have the money. But if you have the money and can’t do it yourself then you need to hire someone.
We have all seen bank owned foreclosure properties in our neighborhoods that go months without care and reduce the value of all the homes around them. Not only can the bank not sell that home but the neighbors can’t sell their homes if they need to and if they do what person wants to live next to someone who does not care for their property.
We have a good hearted friend that seems to have got in farther than they understood with their first home and having never lived in a single family home just doesn’t understand what it means to everyone around them. They felt attacked but didn’t realize they were “That Home” in the neighborhood. Now they have to make the choice do they keep up with the neighbors heh or do they find a solution that fits their life better. I am pretty sure a few lawn care companies can expect some work in the near future.