Water and Maintain Your Yard For Top Dollar, Do’s and Don’ts

WENDY WEIR
Published on May 2, 2017

Water and Maintain Your Yard For Top Dollar, Do’s and Don’ts

The importance of when, why, and how to water your lawn are truly key, if you want top dollar for your home! When a buyer pulls up to your house, what is one of the first things they see, your house, lawn and gardens. The first impression of your home can make or break a buyers decision whether or not to even go in the house. So, the first thing you need to address is the lawn and gardens.

 

Early Spring is the time to apply the first dose of fertilizer to warm-season grasses and the time to withhold food from their cool-season cousins. We may also start mowing in May and it’s definitely time to apply weed control.

Watering the lawn is essential – either too much water or too little can be detrimental to the lawn’s health and beauty. As a general rule of thumb, a lawn requires 1 inch of water a week. Now this advice doesn’t hold when the weather is hot and/or windy, grass needs more water during these periods.

So, how can you be sure that your lawn is getting its weekly dose of water without wasting the liquid in the process?

Rainfall

It’s common sense that the lawn needs less help from you when it rains. And, if you truly want to harness the power of rain to tend to the grass, turn the downspouts toward the lawn during rainy periods.

When there’s not enough rainfall, you’ll need to step in. To determine if it’s time, walk across the lawn and if your footprints don’t spring back but remain visible, it’s time to water.

Best Time To Water Your Lawn

Deeply and infrequently are the two most important words to remember when you’re considering when and how often to water your lawn. In addition to the footprint test mentioned earlier, you can check the soil to determine if it’s time to water by sticking a screwdriver or other long, sharp object into it. If it comes out damp, don’t water and try the test again in a day or two.

Then, avoid watering during the hottest part of the day, or, when the lawn gets the highest amount of direct sunlight, typically between noon and 3 p.m. Water is wasted by evaporation during this period. Additionally, the reflection from the water on the grass in the bright sunlight can actually cause it to burn. Water instead early in the morning, before it gets hot.

That 1-inch of water rule per week? Split it in half and apply it twice a week.

Don’t Over Water

So, you know when to water – and about how much water the lawn needs per week. Determining how long to run the sprinkler, drip system or other irrigation system to deliver one-half inch of water twice a week will require some testing.

Grab a half-dozen or more empty cat food or tuna cans and place them, evenly spaced, around the area to be watered. Turn on the irrigation system and allow it to run for 20 minutes. Then, measure the amount of water in each can and add up those numbers. Divide the result by the number of cans you used and then multiply that number by three. You now know how much water your lawn gets in one hour. You can then adjust the timer to ensure the lawn receives the required amount of water on irrigation days.

Two additional things to keep an eye on include avoiding puddling in the lawn. If the water puddles, the system is applying too much water, too quickly, and the soil can’t absorb it. Then, check the area that the sprinklers are hitting. Growing wild flowers in low laying areas where water puddles is an excellent solution.

Check the direction of all the sprinkler heads. You may need to adjust them to avoid wasting water on hard surfaces., such as driveways, patio’s and walkways. Additionally, they will cover with moss quite easily unless they get enough sun to keep them dry.

 

Maintenance on your sprinklers

A hose-end sprinkler may be fine for a small lawn but it isn’t efficient for larger areas. The ideal system is low-volume with low angle sprinklers, according to the experts at Bayer Advanced. They recommend that you “Angle heads as low as possible to minimize evaporation.”

Inspect the system at the beginning of spring. Check the valve boxes for water (a clue there’s a leak) and the sprinklers themselves for clogs and leaks.

Choosing Your Plants and Flowers

While considering varieties in sync with your USDA hardiness zone, also research disease-resistant, hardy species. For lush flowers with little maintenance, choose annuals that keep on blooming without need for constant deadheading (think: lobelia, impatiens, and fibrous begonias).

And do beware of volunteers: Some annuals like calendulas and cleome reseed themselves if you don’t remove spent blooms in the fall. If you want them next season, let them self-sow; if not, deadhead conscientiously to prevent these “fertile myrtles” from taking over your garden.

Proper Arrangement

Save time in the garden by growing annuals such as impatiens that will bloom throughout the season without requiring deadheading.

Design your space to group the thirstier, more high-maintenance plant varieties in one spot, so you won’t be running all over the place tending to them. Once you’ve sorted out the neediest, tend to the rest.

Put stiff, bulkier plants in front of tall, delicate ones to prop up the floppier species — you’ll save yourself an hour of staking.

Then, make your lawn work just as light. Save yourself an uphill battle by choosing  ground cover on sloped areas, not only do you not need to mow it, nut can be made into a very tranquil resting spot.

Equally important to consider when you establish the lay of the land out back is where to place the tool storage. If you have the room, a shed or garage is perfect. Keep frequently used garden tools close by, perhaps in a decorative container.

And buy tools with brightly colored handles that will easily catch your eye if you mislay them.

 

Water Efficiently

Consider installing a timed system so you won’t have to water manually. Soaker hoses, with tiny pores running the length of the tube, are smarter than traditional hoses and sprinklers. There’s no run-off, less evaporation, and you can leave them on while you work elsewhere (or just chill out). For best results, set it for early in the morning, before the sun can zap moisture.

To make your job easier while also conserving a little bit of water, skip cleanup on the days you mow the lawn. Leaving the clippings out rather than gathering them up will shade the grass, preserving precious H2O.

 

Proper Weeding

Why get snagged by semantics? Call an unexpected crop of greens in your flowerbed “indigenous plants,” and let them grow. If you simply can’t, plant densely and mulch freely around flowerbeds to discourage unwanted greenery.

When it comes time to weed, take steps to minimize the time required. Wage war when the soil is moist or, rather than attempt to pull weeds out by the roots, simply cut them down and then let them wither in the sun.

If weeds rear their ugly heads en masse to form a mat, use a sharp shovel to slice into the ground beneath them, and then turn them over, completely burying the leaves. This not only frees your flowers, but the decomposing weeds will nourish the soil.

 

Related Articles

How To Maintain a Healthy Weed-Free Lawn via DIY Network

Summer Curb Appeal Tips: Turn Ordinary into Extraordinary via Luke Skar 

10 Ways Elbow Grease is the Secret to Great Curb Appeal via Karen Highland

How To Max Out Your Home’s Curb Appeal via Teresa Cowart

Use This Spring Clean-Up Guide To Enhance Your Home’s Curb Appeal  via Lighter Side Of Real Estate

 

 

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Water and Maintain Your Yard For Top Dollar, Do’s and Don’ts
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