Summer is almost here! Grilling, swimming, or just lazing away the day in a hammock with a good book or a snooze — some of the best ways to spend a summer day. Read on if your backyard could use a bit of summer sprucing to make it more conducive to relaxing.
Install edging for a tidier look
If that spot where your garden beds end and the lawn begins is beginning to look a bit blurred, it’s time to install a barrier between the two. That barrier is called “edging,” and it’s easier to install than you may assume.
While faced with the mountain of choices at your local garden center, the simplest to install and most subtle are “4-in.deep strips of steel, aluminum or plastic,” according to the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine.
Want something a bit sleeker and sexier? Consider painted aluminum or steel. Although they cost about the same, those experts at Family Handyman recommend aluminum for the DIYer because it’s lighter and easier to work with. If you insist on plastic, buy the most rigid edging you can find.
Edging, according to the pros, should be installed so that the top of it ends up 1/2-inch above the soil.
Home Depot offers an easy-to-follow walkthrough on the installation process.
Install drip irrigation
There’s no more efficient method of delivering water to your landscape than with a drip irrigation system. The best part? It’s surprisingly easy to install and maintain. You’ll find instructions all over the internet. We like the video produced by sprinklerwarehouse.com.
Large gardening centers and home improvement stores sell kits to get you started and all the supplies you’ll need to maintain add on to your system.
Mulch your garden beds
Garden mulch is undoubtably the workhorse of the landscape. Not only does it help discourage weeds, but it helps the soil retain moisture, adds nutrients to the soil and acts as a temperature regulator for tender roots.
Mulch is manufactured from a variety of materials and comes in different textures and colors. Here are just a few of the types of mulch you’ll find in gardening centers:
- Cocoa bean shells (toxic to pets)
Whichever material you choose, you’ll need about 2 to 3 inches of mulch, spread over the soil, but kept at least 6 inches from the base of the plants.
For additional information on mulch, how to apply it and why, watch the landdesigns.com video.
Light it up
You don’t need to hack your electrical system to add lights to the landscape. Spotlights, pathway lights and even strings of lights to hang over your patio or across the top of a fence all come in solar varieties. Stick them in the ground and let the sun replace electricity.
The pros at Pegasus Lighting offer a few tips on what to look for when you shop for solar landscaping lights:
- Choose lights that use LEDs for the light source. Not only do they tolerate harsh weather conditions better than other light sources, but “LEDs require less energy to produce light, so they are much more dependable,” according to the experts at Pegasus.
- Shop from among the most recent models to ensure that the photovoltaic cells (the part of the light that captures the sun’s energy to charge the batteries) are durable. Speaking of batteries, newer models contain “next generation batteries,” according to Lynn Coulter at HGTV.com. These batteries “can hold up to 2 ½ times the charge as older types,” she claims.
Create an outdoor dining oasis
Whether you’re grilling or dining on take-out or kitchen-prepped cuisine, dinner on your own patio or balcony can be heavenly after a long day of work. If you already own a patio dining set, give it a fresh coat of paint.
If you need to shop for a set, and you’re on a tight budget, consider buying a used set and refurbishing it. Shop garage sales, craigslist.org or offerup.com.