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7 Tips to Prevent Your Lawn From Becoming Waterlogged

Water is usually good for lawns. Whether your lawn has fescue, bluegrass, ryegrass, bentgrass, St. Augustine, Scutch grass, crowngrass or any other common variety, it needs water to survive. Your lawn might be able to go a couple weeks without water, but it will gradually turn brown and die shortly thereafter. With that said, too much water — combined with poor drainage and runoff — may cause waterlogging. When this occurs, water collects at the top of the lawn rather than flowing away.

Aside from its unattractive appearance, a waterlogged lawn presents several challenges for homeowners. When the soil remains saturated over a long period of time, grass roots will literally rot. Known as “root rot,” for obvious reasons, it’s the beginning of a slow death for your lawn. Furthermore, a waterlogged lawn contributes to fungal disease, which is another key problem. And depending on where you live, you may find a higher number of pests like mosquitoes and gnats when your lawn is saturated with water. So, what can you do to prevent this from happening to your lawn?

#1) Check Downspouts

First, check the downspouts to ensure they are directed away from your house. If possible, connect the end of your downspouts with tubing that runs to a nearby creek or drainage ditch instead of the base of your home. If your lawn isn’t properly graded (e.g. angled away from your home), water will collect on the surface and contribute to waterlogging. By guiding downspouts away from your home, you’ll protect your lawn from excessive runoff.

#2) Check the Gutters

Of course, you should also use this opportunity to check the gutters attached to the downspouts. If there are trees growing next to your home, there’s a good chance your gutters will fill with leaves and debris. Over time, this debris will restrict the flow of water, causing it to pool up and flow off the sides instead of down through the gutters and downspouts. You can prevent this from happening by cleaning your gutters on a regular basis. Using a ladder, carefully climb and access to the top of your gutters, removing any leaves, limbs or other debris. When you are finished, flush them with a garden hose.

#3) Aerate the Soil

Aerating the soil can help protect your lawn from becoming waterlogged. Waterlogging often occurs when the soil is too compact for moisture to drain properly. Normally, water will soak into the soil. When the soil is compacted, however, it sits at the top and contributes to waterlogging. A simple solution is to aerate your soil, which involves scoring your landscape with many small holes. Not only will this prevent moisture problems, but it also encourages nutrient penetration, thus promoting a lush-green, healthy lawn.

#4) Reseed

Reseeding your lawn can reduce the risk of waterlogging. Grass acts as a natural barrier against erosion. When there are bare patches of missing grass on a lawn, rainwater may erode the soil and contribute to waterlogging. Thankfully, you can prevent this from happening by reseeding your lawn. Wait until you’ve aerated the soil, after which you can spread a mixture of grass seed and fertilizer. When the grass grows in, it should reduce or potentially eliminate drainage problems with your lawn.

#5) Dig a French Drain

If your lawn has severe drainage issues, consider digging a French drain. As explained by The Spruce, this otherwise simple drain consists of a buried pipe with gravel on top. When water lands on the gravel, it soaks through and into the pipe, at which point it’s carried away from the lawn. A French drain is a simple yet effective solution for waterlogging. Aside from a few bags of gravel, some plastic tubing and a shovel, it really doesn’t require anything else to build.

#6) Add a Top Dressing

Adding a top dressing to your lawn can protect it from drainage problems. Top dressing is essentially sand, leaves, mulch or soil that’s placed over the surface of the lawn. It offers a variety of benefits, including supplying your grass with additional nutrients, discouraging weed growth and preventing drainage problems. Simply add a 1/2-inch layer to the top, ensuring that the grass is still visible (the top dressing shouldn’t cover the grass completely).

#7) Don’t Walk on Your Waterlogged Lawn!

Finally, try to avoid walking on your lawn when it’s waterlogged. When grass is waterlogged, it’s susceptible to stress and damage. Even minor pressure like your foot pressing against the surface may damage or kill it. So, wait until your lawn has fully dried out before walking on it. If necessary, walk around the waterlogged portion of your lawn when entering and exiting your home. By following these tips, you’ll be on your way to healthier, drier lawn.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/

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6 Springtime Landscape Maintenance Tips All Homeowners Should Follow

Spring is in the air, which means the temperatures will become warmer and the days longer. This seasonal transitional offers the perfect opportunity for homeowners to touch up their landscape and enhance their home’s curb appeal. Doing so will not only improve the appearance of your landscape but will also make it more functional, allowing you and your family members to enjoy this outdoor extension of your home. Here are a few tips to enhance your landscape this spring season.

#1) Aerate the Soil

There’s no better time than the beginning of spring to aerate your lawn. As you may already know, aeration involves perforating the top inch or so of soil with small holes so that nutrients and water can pass through more easily. When soil hardens during the winter, it prevents water and nutrients from flowing, thus restricting the growth and health of your grass. By aerating, you’ll promote a healthy, lush-green lawn.

#2) Knock Out Weeds

Whether it’s dandelions, crabgrass, bindweed, chickweed, bluegrass, etc., you should knock out any weeds attempting to grow on your lawn. During the transition from winter to spring, weeds — like grass and plants — will emerge from their state of dormancy. And if left unchecked, they can quickly take over your lawn while consuming valuable nutrients that could otherwise be used by your grass.

Rather than using a store-bought herbicide, though, consider making your own DIY weed killer. It’s actually pretty easy and highly effective when done right. Simply fill a spray bottle with distilled white vinegar and add 1 or 2 tablespoons of liquid dish soap. Shake thoroughly to ensure the ingredients are mixed together, after which you can spot treat any weeds you discover on your lawn.

#3) Mulch Flowerbeds

Add a layer of mulch to your flowerbeds to keep the area weed free. Mulch is designed to block out the sun so that weeds and grass can’t grow in areas where they shouldn’t (like flowerbeds). Additionally, some mulch contains valuable nutrients that will stimulate plant growth, allowing flowers to bloom more easily during spring.

Some of the most common types of mulch for flowerbeds and landscapes include the following:

  • Cocoa
  • Straw
  • Wood chips
  • Sawdust
  • Lava rocks
  • Bark
  • Grass clippings
  • Rubber pellets

Tip: even with mulch, you may discover weeds growing in your flowerbeds. This is particularly true when using nutrient-rich mulch as opposed to inorganic mulch. If weeds are still a problem, and you don’t want to constantly spot treat them, try placing landscape fabric around your flowerbed and then cover it with mulch. Landscape fabric is impenetrable, preventing weeds or other plants from growing through it.

#4) Reseed Bare Patches

Just a single bare patch will make your lawn look messy and unkempt. In some cases, though, bare patches will correct themselves. Healthy grass adjacent to the voided area will fill it in, creating a more complete appearance. In other cases, you’ll have to reseed the patch.

There are a few ways to reseed bare patches, one of which is to apply grass seed and fertilizer by hand. Sprinkle a generous amount over the patch, give it some water, and wait for it to grow in. Alternatively, you can use a lawn patch product that already has a combination of grass seed and fertilizer. Regardless of which one you prefer, go through your lawn and treat bare patches. Ignoring them may result in other patches appearing, which takes a toll on your home’s curb appeal.

#5) Tune Up Your Lawn Mower

When was the last time that you tuned up your lawn mower? If it’s been a while, you should perform some basic maintenance to ensure your mower is ready for the spring season. Depending on where you live, you’ll probably need to mow your lawn about once a week. If your mower isn’t properly maintained, you may struggle to keep it running.

To tune up your mower, replace the air filter, spark plug and oil. Additionally, you should check the blade to ensure it’s sharp. If the blade is cracked or otherwise dull, replace it with a new blade. You can buy mower blades at most improvement stores for about $10 to $20. A sharp new blade will make a world of difference in the appearance of your lawn.

#6) Prune Trees, Plants and Shrubs

Finally, use this opportunity to prune overgrown trees, plants and shrubs. When pruning, use a pair of sharp gardening shears to cut “rouge” branches and shoots. You don’t have to trim a lot. Rather, trim just enough so that you can reshape it according to your liking.

Not only does pruning improve the appearance of trees, plants and shrubs, but it also promotes healthy growth. By removing overgrown branches and shoots, you’ll reduce the nutritional needs of the respective tree, plant or shrub. Therefore, it will grow more easily through spring and into summer.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/

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Choosing the Right Outdoor Rug for Your Patio

When designing your patio or outdoor living space, you should include a rug for aesthetic and functional purposes. Among other things, it helps to define the space while adding new color and style to the decor. Regardless of your patio’s size, chances are it will benefit from the use of a rug.

However, you must choose the right type of rug for your patio. Not all rugs are able to withstand the outdoor environment. When left outdoors for long periods of time, it’s not uncommon for rugs to develop mold and mildew — something that you don’t want to discover on your rug. So, consider the following tips when choosing an outdoor rug for your patio.

Waterproof Material

Any rug you intend to use on your patio needs to be made of a waterproof material. Traditional wool rugs are a poor choice due to their ability to attract and hold moisture. Instead, consider a synthetic material. There are four synthetic materials specifically that are great for use in outdoor rugs, including the following:

  1. Vinyl: Also known as polyvinyl chloride (PVC), vinyl rugs are strong, durable and waterproof. Because of these characteristics, they are also easier to maintain than many other rugs, making them an excellent choice for patios and other outdoor living spaces.
  2. Polyester: A second material to consider for your outdoor rug is polyester. This synthetic material is inexpensive and readily available. The downside, however, is that it’s not as durable as vinyl or nylon. Assuming your patio receives minimal foot traffic, this may not be a problem. If you use your patio daily, however, you should consider an alternative material for your rug.
  3. Nylon: Nylon rugs are an excellent option for outdoor environments. Nylon is a touch, durable and lightweight synthetic material that’s used to make a variety of products, including rugs. Nylon rugs are highly effective at resisting moisture and stains. Furthermore, they are less susceptible to fading when exposed to sunlight, which is one more reason why homeowners prefer using them outdoors.
  4. Polypropylene: Finally, polypropylene is a synthetic material that’s frequently used in the construction of outdoor rugs. It’s made of a plastic polymer that’s strong, durable and waterproof. With that said, polypropylene rugs can feel somewhat rough and rugged. Nonetheless, they are still a popular choice for patios and outdoor living spaces.

Size and Shape

In addition to choosing an outdoor rug made of a waterproof material, you should also consider its size and shape. Outdoor rugs are available in a wide range of shapes and sizes. You can find large 10-foot-by-10-foot rugs, as well as smaller “runner” rugs. So, which size and shape should you choose?

It really depends on how your patio is designed. Ideally, the rug should feature a similar size and shape that corresponds with your patio. If your patio has a large open area, perhaps a traditional square-shaped area rug will suffice. On the other hand, if your patio features a smaller rectangular-shaped are, you should consider using a runner rug. Just remember to choose an area rug in a size and shape that’s relative to the surrounding environment in which it’s used.

Color

Don’t underestimate the importance of choosing an area rug in the right color. Color can make or break your patio decor. An attractive patio design should feature a cohesive color scheme in which all of the decorative accessories and furnishings flow together in a natural, fluid manner. Outdoor rugs are available in just about every color under the rainbow. Some feature a single color, whereas others feature two or more colors. Ultimately, the color of your rug should flow — not necessarily match — with the rest of your patio decor.

Tips on Maintaining Your Outdoor Rug

Of course, you’ll also need to care for your outdoor rug to preserve its appearance and integrity. While outdoor rugs require less maintenance than most indoor rugs, you’ll still need to clean them on a regular basis; otherwise, they’ll accumulate dirt and debris.

Thankfully, cleaning an outdoor rug is relatively easy and straightforward. Assuming it’s made of a waterproof material like nylon or polyester, you can clean it using water, liquid laundry detergent and a scrub brush. First, create a soapy mixture of detergent and warm water. Next, pour a small amount of the rug, after which you can scrub it clean. Place the freshly cleaned rug in an area where it will dry fast, and you’re done!

For stubborn stains, you may want to use a fabric cleaner on your outdoor rug. However, it’s a good idea to test any new cleaning product on a discreet area. This way, if it causes additional staining or discoloration, you can stop using it.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/

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Help! My Patio Deck is Turning Green!

Have you noticed your wooden patio deck turning green. Unfortunately, this is an all-too-common problem experienced by homeowners. It typically doesn’t happen overnight, but months or years of exposure to moisture can turn an otherwise clean patio deck to a yucky green-tinted mess.

Not only is a green patio an eye sore, but it can also cause structural damage if left unchecked. So, what causes this phenomenon and how to protect your patio from it?

What is the ‘Green Stuff?’

The green stuff that forms of patios is typically either mold, mildew or algae. Although you can’t see it — not without a microscope, at least — wood contains thousands upon thousands of small holes in its surface. These holes, also known as “pores,” are constantly absorbing and releasing moisture, depending on the surrounding environment. When the environment is humid and moist, they absorb moisture. When it’s dry, they release moisture.

A wooden patio may turn green when excess moisture is held inside the pores for a long period of time. Mild, mildew and algae thrive in moist conditions such as this. If the wooden patio doesn’t dry out, it may develop a slimy film while simultaneously turning green.

Increase Sun Exposure

There are steps you can take to protect your wooden patio from turning green, however, beginning with increasing the amount of sunlight it receives. Sunlight discourages mold, mildew and algae from growing in several ways. First and foremost, it dries up excess moisture. Secondly, the ultraviolet (UV) rays can destroy many forms of fungi on contact.

You can’t necessarily control the direction of the sun, but you can remove overhanging branches or brush that’s obstructing sunlight from reaching your patio. Even if only half of your patio is shaded, that half may turn green while the other doesn’t. The bottom line is that your patio needs direct sunlight to keep mold, mildew and algae at bay.

Ensure Proper Runoff

Does water collect and pool up in certain areas of your patio instead of draining off? If so, this could contribute to it turning green. Along with darkness, mold, mildew and algae thrive in moist environments. When water collects on a patio, it creates the ideal environment in which these microorganisms can thrive.

Normally, runoff isn’t a problem with traditional wood plank patios. Excess water will flow through the cracks and crevices between the wood planks. There are times, however, when this doesn’t happen. Maybe the wood planks are sealed, or perhaps they were constructed unevenly. Regardless, you need to ensure your patio has proper runoff; otherwise, it may develop mold, mildew and algae.

Remove Leaves and Debris

You should also get into the habit of removing any leaves, pine straw and other debris from your patio deck. When yard debris such as this accumulates, it increases the risk of mold, mildew and algae. Again, these microorganisms thrive in moist, dark environments. If there’s leaves covering your patio, the wood planks underneath will remain dark and moist.

Whether you use a push broom or leaf blower, clean your patio at least once a week to discourage it from turning green.

Restoring Your Patio’s Color

If your wooden patio deck has already turned green, you can typically restore its color by cleaning off the mold, mildew or algae. Start by pressure washing your patio, beginning with the lowest PSI setting and gradually increasing it until you find a PSI that works. You don’t want to use the highest PSI setting, as this may damage the wooden planks. Once you find a pressure setting that’s strong enough to remove the green slime without damaging the wooden planks, you should be able to clean your patio.

The Spruce also recommends cleaning green patios with a homemade solution of vinegar and Borax. After hosing down your patio — either with a pressure washer or garden hose — combine 1/2 cup part distilled white vinegar and 1/2 cup Borax in warm water and place the mixture into a spray bottle. While wearing protective rubber gloves, spray the solution onto your wooden patio, allowing it to sit for five or so minutes. Once soaked into your deck, scrub your deck by hand until it comes clean.

What About Concrete Slab Patios?

While wooden decks are most susceptible to this phenomenon, concrete slabs can also turn green. Like wood, concrete is also highly porous; thus, offering the perfect breeding grounds for mold, mildew and algae. Protecting a concrete slab patio from turning green requires a similar approach as wooden patios, however. This includes keeping it dry, well-lit with sunlight and ensuring proper runoff. And if your concrete slab patio has turned green, you can clean it by pressure washing it or using the vinegar and Borax solution as described above.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/

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6 Cool and Comfortable Shade Solutions for Your Patio

A little shade can make a world of difference in your comfort level when lounging outdoors on an otherwise hot spring or summer day. With the shade protecting you from the sun, you’ll feel cooler and more comfortable, allowing you to enjoy your patio. Shaded areas technically aren’t cooler than adjacent sun-exposed areas. However, it feels up to 15 degrees Fahrenheit cooler because of the lack of solar radiation. So how can you create a cool and comfortable shaded area on your patio?

#1) Shade Sail

A shade sail is a simple and inexpensive solution to create a shaded area on a patio or outdoor living space. With origins dating back to Ancient Rome, it’s also a time-tested method that’s been passed down for centuries. A shade sail consists of a lightweight membrane fabric that’s stretched and anchored between three or or more points. You stretch the shade sail across your patio, securing the corners to anchor posts. Because of their simple design, shade sails have become a popular choice among homeowners.

#2) Awning

Of course, another shade solution to consider using for your patio is an awning. Also known an overhang, it consists of a fabric that’s stretched over a frame and secured to the side of a home or building. Once installed, it creates a supplemental roof, protecting the space underneath from sunlight, rain and the elements. Although there are dozens of different types of awnings, most fall into one of two categories:

  1. Manual: As the name suggests, manual awnings are operated by hand. You must turn a lever or similar control mechanism to take down or bring up the awning. Manual awnings typically contain less parts than their motorized counterpart, and they are also less expensive.
  2. Motorized: These awnings have a motorized function in which the homeowner presses a button to take down or bring up the awning. Because of their additional motorized parts, there’s a greater risk of failure. However, many homeowners prefer the ease of use offered by motorized awnings.

#3) Plant a Tree

If you’re willing to wait a while, you can always create a natural shaded area on your patio by planting some trees on the sun-facing side. When choosing trees, look for species that grow tall and fast. Some excellent choices include red oak (Quercus rubra), green ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica) and London planetree (Platanus × hispanica). Just remember to plant them on the side of your patio that faces the mid-day sun. Otherwise, it’s not going to offer much protection from the sun’s rays. As a side benefit, studies have shown that adding trees to a landscape increases the home’s selling value. The Arbor Day Foundation (ADF), for instance, says that mature trees have an appraised value of $1,000 to $10,000. So, even if they cost money and time to plant, it will pay off in the form of a higher home value.

#4) Umbrellas

Another simple shade solution for your umbrellas is an umbrella. No, I’m not talking about a traditional umbrella that hold while walking to protect yourself from the rain. There are special types of large, heavy-duty umbrellas designed specifically for use on patios and other outdoor living spaces. They offer a larger coverage area than traditional umbrellas, and they are usually made of durable materials to withstand the harsh outdoor environment for long periods of time. Some of these patio umbrellas mount directly to the top of a table, while others are freestanding. If you already have a table on your patio, consider the former. If you don’t have a table, the latter is probably the best choice for your patio.

#5) Pergola

A lesser-known shade solution for the patio is a pergola. Typically found in gardens, it consists of multiple horizontal beams that are often covered with plants, flowers or fabric. Some people assume that pergolas are the same as arbors. While they share some similarities, though, they are two unique designs with their own specific characteristics. An arbor, for example, is usually characterized by a wooden bench or seats with an overhanging roof that’s enclosed by lattice panels, whereas a pergola is a larger and more open  structure that doesn’t necessarily have seating underneath.

#6) Roof

Finally, you can always a build a roof over your patio for shade and protection from the sun. This is probably the best solution in terms of sun protection. However, it’s also the most expensive. According to The Nest, a wood-framed root can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000. If you’re on a tight budget, consider a lattice-top roof, which usually runs around $1,000. You can then cover the lattice with a fabric or other material to block sunlight.

These are just a few ways to create shade on your patio. Regardless of which one you use, make sure the design flows cohesively with the resto f your patio decor.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.  https://ssfirepits.com/contact/