Check these boxes now for a backyard payoff come springtime
Autumn is primetime for tending the backyard – before the leaves drop, temperatures fall, and motivation goes out the window. If you’re considering squeezing in a backyard makeover before winter arrives, we’ve got some timely tips to make next summer even more pleasurable and less buggy.
Next Summer, Make Your Backyard Work for You
Consider the following before you get started. These suggestions can help next summer be more glorious, more natural, and less costly.
1. Lower the water bill through xeriscaping
For many of us, last summer was a punishingly dry, hot slog. Either we felt guilty to be watering the lawn yet again, or we just got sick of it. That’s one reason xeriscaping, a style of landscaping that uses less water, is growing in popularity. Growing native plants and installing a simple (and covered!) irrigation system are just a few ways xeriscaping could lower your water use and make your garden life more resilient against the ups and downs of weather. Check out this how-to guide.
2. Prep the lawn!
How did the grass fare last summer? Heavy rainfall and parching heat can both be brutal on the root systems of lawns during summer, not to mention the threats that might be in store come wintertime, like frost, weeds, fungi, and pests. (Armyworm, we’ve got our eyes peeled for you in Corpus Christi.)
But with the cool comes an excellent opportunity. The steps below can help your lawn to soak up the moisture and nutrients that, thanks to autumn, are remaining in the soil for longer:
Overseed, aerate, and fertilize–in that order. This is especially important if patches of lawn were damaged last summer.
Adjust your mowing and watering schedule, taking into account the temperatures and the frequency of rainfall you’re getting. Stay hands-on. You don’t want to neglect the grass until spring. Consistency is key and nourishes a durable root system.
3. There’s no better time to dig
If, in your neck of the woods, winter means frozen ground and bundling up, consider autumn the perfect time to tackle a project in the yard, especially if the project requires that the ground be soft enough to cooperate. This could mean paving a pathway, installing a deck, or even transplanting your favorite plant life.
If you want a garden that lights up with flowers come springtime, ‘tis the season to plant bulbs. Here’s a super helpful guide of flower bulbs to plant in the fall, including ideal planting temperature and depth.
By the way, does your home sit near the woods? Now could be a good time to put a fence in. We’ll get more into pest-control tips below, but one big plus of fencing your property off is deterring tick-carrying animals, such as deer and raccoons.
Quick public service announcement: Before you dig, just make sure you know of–or find out about–any utility lines underground!
4. Deter garden pests naturally
This blog suggests some simple ways to plan your garden so that it deters pests all on its own, no pesticides required. One way is companion gardening, which just means strategically grouping your plants alongside those that help them grow. (Here’s a guide.) Planting basil near tomato plants, for instance, naturally protects them from aphids and beetles. Another way is even simpler: grow marigolds. The scent of marigolds deters insects as well as rabbits and squirrels. Plus, marigolds’ bright flowers will attract pollinators.
5. Put a Barrier Between You and the Pests
Why not put your foot down and give mosquitoes and ticks the boot? These next few tips can do just that.
5. Get the yard sprayed
Once the hot weather returns, Mosquito Shield’s control services can give you true peace of mind all season long. Our service kills mosquitoes and provides your property with a barrier that keeps them out. And, we have a tick service that will keep those bloodsuckers away. We monitor the conditions all season long, coming back according to an up-to-date, fully informed treatment schedule.
You can also make these simple, totally DIY changes to your yard area to reduce your exposure:
6. Separate your patio or lawn furniture from the woods
We all enjoy relaxing in the shade from time to time. But if your personal zen space sits beside a dense, woody area, be warned: Ticks may be there too. These hungry pests have been known to cross a property line if the promise of a good blood meal beckons. So, relocate that Adirondack chair and that hammock. Then put a 3-feet barrier of gravel or mulch between your yard and the wooded area. This will limit the ability of ticks to migrate in your direction.
7. Clear away containers where mosquitoes could lay their eggs
Mosquitoes will lay their eggs in any container that holds water. We’re talking open buckets, bird baths, pots or planters, lawn furniture, or trash containers–anything that may be lingering in your backyard. Empty them out, give them a good scrub, and if you don’t need them, put them away. While you’re at it, do a check of water barrels, compost containers, porch storage areas, and waste bins, because cracks, holes, or altogether missing tops can make these potential mosquito homes.
8. Fill tree holes that hold water.
You’ll want to fill your tree hole with water-resistant, flexible material that will not damage the tree. The CDC recommends foam insulation.
Friends, here’s to planning ahead and making our dreams a reality! Like you, we look forward to a cool autumn and the fun times in the backyard that follow.