How to Care for the Soil in Your Yard

For some people, caring for the lawn is a tedious, but necessary chore. For others, it’s a quiet way to enjoy the outdoors on the weekends.

Regardless of your feelings on lawn care, it’s important if you want your grass to look green throughout the warm months.

There’s a lot more to lawn care, however, than simply mowing and pulling weeds. In this article, we’re going to focus on one factor in particular: soil quality.

How can you ensure your grass remains well-fed and watered during those hot summer months? The answer is underground, in your yard’s topsoil.

Read on for tips on caring for your soil.

Salvaging your soil

Most people don’t have the time or money to remove their entire lawn and start from scratch with seeding or turf. So, how can you begin to help your soil now?

There are several ways to improve soil quality to encourage grass growth. Let’s start with the consistency.

Regardless of whether your soil is more sand, silt, or clay-based it can become compacted throughout the years. Compacted soil makes it difficult for roots to take hold and to reach vital nutrients.

Furthermore, when soil compacts it often builds a layer of debris on the top called thatch. A small amount of thatch isn’t a bad thing. It can help build your grass’s resiliency to impact, namely the feet of your pets or children when they’re playing in the yard. However, if you have too much thatch, it can create barriers to new growth.

There are two ways to manage thatch effectively: remove and prevention. To prevent the buildup of thatch, avoid mixing too much fertilizer and clippings into your lawn. While clippings and fertilizer are both useful ways to improve the quality of your soil and protect your grass, too much can be suffocating to the lawn.

Removing thatch is more difficult than prevention, but you can achieve it will a vertical mower, as well as by raking and collecting trimmings when necessary.

Why acidity matters

In the same way that we need proper nutrients to maintain or health, grass needs the right fertilizer and pH level to grow. Acidity levels range from 0 to 14, with 0 being the most acidic (things like battery acid, lemon juice, and vinegar are all acidic), and 14 being the most alkaline (things like lye and ammonia).

A good pH for grass varies depending on the type of grass you have in your lawn, but a base level would be 6.5 or slightly acidic.

To test your soil pH, you can purchase a kit online or you can send a sample to a lab and they will report back to you. Once you know the pH of your soil, you can find the right type of fertilizer.

Fertilizing

Choosing a fertilizer can seem difficult, but there are a few main things you’re looking for. Nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium are the three main nutrients required by most plant life, and they are the top three ingredients in most fertilizer. There are, however several “micronutrients” that grasses need as well. These include copper, iron, boron, and zinc.

Follow the instructions on the formula you choose. Over-fertilizing your soil can cause harm. You might notice that the tips of the soil like “burnt” or that the blades turn yellowish. This is a good sign that you’re applying too much fertilizer.

Secure Winning Home Buying Agreements

Put your money to good use with these house buying secrets. First of the secrets to house buying deals could have a positive impact on your overall financial health. As a first step, avoid taking on large one-time or recurring expenses six to eight months before you purchase your home.

Clean up your credit

Review your credit reports with the top three credit bureaus, Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. Notice any inaccurate items on your report? Write the credit bureau that posted the items. Also, contact relevant vendors, altering both the bureau and vendor of the errors. Provide evidence that confirms that the postings are incorrect. Follow-up with bureaus and vendors, as needed until all erroneous items are removed from your credit reports.

Also, pay off any outstanding debts that aren’t on your credit reports. At the least, become current with all of your bills. Good credit scores could save you thousands over the life of a mortgage.

Size matters

Look for a house that’s large enough to meet your current and future needs. But, don’t buy a house that’s too big. For example, if you plan on having two children but are currently childless, look for house buying deals on a three bedroom home versus a four or five bedroom house.

Age could yield savings

If you or your partner has repair skills, be open to buying an older home. You may get the space that you need for a lower price, especially if an older house passes thorough inspections.

Check out the neighborhood

Research crime history, schools, community events, economic development and businesses in neighborhoods where you want to buy a house. No need in buying a house in a high crime neighborhood or in an area that has a poor school district. Money that you save with smart house negotiating bids could evaporate with one to two home invasions.

Steer clear of impulse house buying deals

Don’t let your emotions determine which house you buy. You may feel warm when you step into the expansive back yard or check out a stylish master bedroom and the spacious en suite, but that feeling won’t hold if you can’t afford to buy furniture after you close on the house. Instead, be honest when identifying how much house you can afford.

Include interest and repairs when you consider the total amount of money you can spend on a house. Leave enough money in your paycheck to pay all of your expenses and pay for entertainment. Don’t put the squeeze on yourself.

New furniture can wait

If you currently live in an apartment or another house, keep your furniture. Spruce your new house up with accessories like silk flowers, baskets and rugs. You can buy new furniture, a piece at a time, after you get accustomed to paying the new mortgage.

Creative Ways to Declutter Your Home

Although you’d like to eliminate as much clutter as possible before you sell your house, doing so may seem like a long, arduous task. Fortunately, you don’t have to be a home organization expert to remove clutter from your house quickly and effortlessly.

Now, let’s take a look at three creative ways to help home sellers eliminate clutter instantly.

1. Develop a daily declutter schedule

Believe it or not, it doesn’t take long to declutter a home, regardless of the size of your house. With a declutter schedule at your disposal, you can set small and large decluttering goals and make daily progress toward a clutter-free house.

Even spending five minutes a day decluttering your house can make a world of difference. Over the course of a week or month, you’ll start to notice lots of free space fills your residence – something that homebuyers are sure to appreciate.

Also, don’t forget to stick to your declutter schedule as closely as possible. And if you miss a day along the way, there’s no need to worry, as you can always try to make up for lost time the following day.

2. Give away one item each day

If you have excess items, why not offer them to family members, friends and others who may be able to use them?

Ultimately, if you strive to give away one item daily, you can declutter your home and help family members, friends and others at the same time.

Giving away items is a quick, simple way to declutter. Meanwhile, offering these items to others enables you to do a good deed, as you’ll be able to provide something useful to someone who wants it at no charge.

3. Start with a single trash bag

Fill up a single trash bag with clutter and see what happens – you’ll be glad you did.

After you fill a trash bag, you’ll likely find that you have many options.

This trash bag may be donated to a charitable organization, one that could use the excess items. Or, you may decide the trash bag items could be sold at a yard sale or listed online for a profit. On the other hand, if you find the trash bag items are damaged and no longer usable, you may choose to dispose of the trash bag altogether.

A gradual approach to decluttering is key, particularly for home sellers who want to alleviate stress as they prepare their residences for the real estate market. With this approach, home sellers can boost their chances of remaining calm, cool and collected as they eliminate clutter.

Lastly, if you need additional assistance with decluttering, your real estate agent may be able to lend a helping hand. This housing market professional can put you in touch with local junk removal companies that can help you eliminate clutter without delay.

Take care of clutter today, and by doing so, a home seller can move one step closer to getting the best price for his or her residence.

Get Ready to Save on Home Cooling Utilities

It’s no fun living in a hot, stuffy house. Every year, you know it’s coming. In a few months, temperatures are going to rise. Let temperatures and humidity rise too much and you could rush out to the nearest home goods store and buy an air conditioner. You also might start turning your air conditioner down so low that your utility bills escalate.

Quick actions to lower home cooling costs

Despite how long you’ve been giving into this trend, it doesn’t have to go this way. You can be proactive. By preparing to save on home cooling costs now, you could avoid making emergency decisions that force you to spend hundreds of dollars. Following are quick steps that you could take to start creating a fuel efficient house.

  • Install a ceiling fan. Choose a ceiling fan that has a light and you’ll get a double benefit.
  • Clean air filters for fans and air conditioners.Replace filters as needed.
  • Check to see that air conditioning air compressor fans are clean. Remove objects that are blocking the fans from spinning freely.
  • Examine and replace coolant lines that show signs of damage.
  • Replace insulation throughout your home as needed.
  • Buy heavy duty room fans for rooms that you spend the most time in. Adding a heavy duty fan to your bedroom could keep you from turning on the air conditioner at night until it’s deep into summer.
  • Make sure that air vents are cleaned.
  • Cook at night when it’s cooler. Cook enough food to store in the refrigerator or freezer for several days.
  • Take cool showers instead of soaking in a hot bath.
  • Place locked screen shields and alarms on windows that you plan to open during warmer months.

Your utility company may partner with you to lower home cooling costs

Prepare to save on home cooling costs while temperatures are still cool or cold. That gives you at least three weeks to set yourself up to save on home cooling utilities. The extra time is budget friendly. Time to save on home cooling costs also lets you relax and measure how well the energy efficient actions you have taken are working.

Don’t rule out working with your utility company to reduce your home cooling costs. Some utility companies include ways to save on home cooling costs in individual utility bill mailings. Your utility company is also good resource to work with should you find it hard to pay all of your cooling expenses on time.

Although utility companies generally don’t provide as much financial support during hot months the way they do during winter, reaching out to your utility company could pay off. Set up a payment schedule, if necessary. And ask the representative who you speak with to share even more ways that you could save on home cooling costs. The representative may know why specific cooling services are higher in certain areas where you live and what you can do to cut into these expenses.