Build Compost for Your Home Garden

from natural compostComposting is an inexpensive, simple, effective means of adding nutrient-rich humus to your soil. Recycle waste from your kitchen and yard while creating a natural fertilizer that’s great for the environment.

Compost Pile

This option is free to set up, assuming you have the materials on hand. You’ll need a space approximately 3’ square, the perfect size to allow your compost pile to reach the optimal temperature for breaking down organic material.

Gather your materials:

  • Brown material: dead leaves, wood chips, nut shells, hay, corn and other husks, breads, etc
  • Green material: fruit and vegetable kitchen scraps, grass, weeds and green leaves
  • Soil material: manure, mature compost, or soil
  • Cover: this can be a plastic tarp, wood, or even carpet pieces. You’ll want to cover the compost pile enough to control moisture and heat, but not so much that oxygen can’t reach it

Not Mowing Your Grass During the Winter

lawnYou’ve probably heard experienced lawn care experts recommend suspending mowing during the winter season. What science underlies this advice? Why not cut your grass at this time of year?

Dormancy: An Important Rest Period

Most grasses continue growing very slowly during the winter. However, just like trees, grass plants react to the marked change in environmental conditions during colder months of the year. They experience a period of dormancy in which their rate of growth slows down significantly. The plant instead directs energy towards its root system.

Every time you cut back a growing plant (including grasses), you cause some degree of physical stress. While verdant lawns sustain regular mowing during warmer seasons, the consequences of cutting grass plants during cold months may prove fatal. Just as you would not want to prune a tree too heavily, it remains a wise precaution to avoid imposing a lot of unnecessary stress on your lawn during bitterly chill periods of the year. Grass simply does not grow at a rapid pace during colder months.


Control These Winter Weeds

winter weedsIf you’ve longed for a rich, lush green lawn, you may have taken steps in the past to sow grass seeds and apply fertilizer and soil amendments to nourish the turf. While little growth seems to occur during dormant winter months, in Maryland and Virginia some categories of weeds actually begin thriving during this time of year. Without the implementation of effective control measures, some unwelcome weeds may monopolize available resources when spring arrives and interfere with your plans to maintain attractive expanses of grass.


Protecting Your Deck Throughout Winter

deck_winterYour deck has been your friend during summer; giving you the perfect spot for entertaining friends, basking in the beautiful outdoor weather and often displaying your spring and summer blooms and foliage. Keep your deck in proper condition by preparing it for the winter. Things you can do include:

Begin by clearing the deck. Remove the plants, the grill, the seating and anything else that’s on it. Autumn is the ideal time for this project, but it’s not too late if you missed that opportunity. Here in Alexandria, VA, we might still have some pleasant and warm days before the cold is consistent with us. If you just do not have the time or inclination to clear the deck you can always call on the professionals.


Brightening Up Your Landscape in the Winter


It’s no secret that, in winter, everything tends to turn the same color: gray. Gloomy gray skies hover over gray, salt-encrusted roads and cars, and gray landscapes with leafless gray trees and grayish-green grass just waiting for warmer weather to be able to flourish, once again. Is there any way to brighten up this gray landscape, then? Or are you stuck dreaming of a green spring, or planning a quick trip to someplace tropical? The answer is that you can, absolutely, transform your landscape into one of color, even in the coldest and darkest months of winter.

Make Your House a Home of Color

When some people think of adding color to the exterior of their home, they think of an eccentric artist’s home splashed with every color under the sun. While this certainly isn’t bad, if that’s your style, if something more traditional is more to your liking, you can still brighten it up with a few pops of well-chosen color. For example, if you have a fence on your property, consider a beautiful, deep blue to liven it up. Or, perhaps you have a large front door that would benefit from a handsome red color, or even a daring yellow. There are plenty of ways to brighten up your home without having it look like a children’s painting.


Five Lawn Care Tips for the Winter

winterHaving a great-looking lawn is a year-round commitment to ensuring the grass and other plants have the nutrients they need, as well as the proper growing conditions to allow them to thrive. Even as winter comes closer, it’s essential to prepare your lawn to ensure that when spring arrives, your lawn will sprout quickly, and look great all season.


Mowing Right Along

Don’t give up on mowing, just because the weather turns cooler. Until the temperature takes a nosedive, your grass will continue to grow, especially if it’s healthy. Until growth slows or stops, keep mowing to keep the grass at optimum height. Failure to do so could result in matting and snow mold once the long winter months set in.


Your lawn’s grass can still absorb nutrients as the weather turns colder. Feed it well and set it up for success by continuing to fertilize it until the first frost. Since your grass doesn’t get much in the way of nutrients during the winter months, give it what you can while it can still absorb them, so that it has all it needs to come back strong in the spring.


Pruning Trees to Prevent Home Damage in the Winter

They say failing to plan is planning to fail. Winter is an inevitable time of the year, and as such, it must be planned for beforehand to ensure that no damages are incurred that would otherwise be avoidable. Winter is a pleasant time of the year that does not have to necessarily come with the loss of property and life caused by the falling off of frozen tree branches. It is therefore prudent to be proactive rather than reactive when it comes to taking care of our trees to ensure that come winter; they do not damage our homes.


10 Common Landscaping Mistakes

home_landscapingLandscaping can make or break the look of your home or business. Don’t make common landscaping mistakes; check out our list to make sure you begin the landscaping process with confidence.

 1. Choosing the wrong plants.

Before choosing plants to decorate your landscape, make sure you research each plant you had in mind. You should ask yourself these basic questions before you make a final decision on plants and flowers:

  • How much care and time are you willing to put into the plant’s maintenance?
  • Is the plant right for the soil, sunlight, and shade available to you?
  • Will the plant require frequent trimmings or consume other plants nearby?

    2. Leaving winter out of your plans.

    Once fall comes in, will your plants have died off, leaving the yard looking bare and unkempt? It’s a wise idea to plan for trees and shrubs that can still add interest to your yard.


The Importance and Benefits of Aeration, Overseeding and Fertilization

fertilizationCooling temperatures and falling leaves may not bring to mind the idea of vibrant green lawns, but autumn is a critical time to take important steps toward ensuring that you posses healthy spring turf. The heat and drought of summer, coupled with the wear-and-tear of outdoor play, can cause significant damage to your lawn and proper fall maintenance is required to make sure fresh new grass will thrive next season. Fall is the time to make certain that your lawn is not only well-prepared to endure the coming winter, but also to return in lush, optimal condition next spring.