Categories
deck maintenance gardening Landscaping

4 Easy Yard Fix Ups – Do Now and Enjoy all Summer


Make your property more attractive and enjoyable with these simple repairs. These are no-brainer jobs any homeowner can tackle with a small amount of time, money and energy. Compare the cost of hiring a professional with doing it yourself and you’ll be encouraged to tackle the jobs. Tackle one a weekend and you’ll be done in a month!

Bare spots and patchy clumps of weeds and thatch are an eyesore in any lawn. With a little work over a month’s time you can rejuvenate the area. Compare restoring 100-square-feet of lawn yourself for $215 with hiring a landscaper for $495. Restore a Lawn

Manicuring shrubs and brushes with a routine pruning will keep them healthy, growing and looking good. Pay a gardening service $95 or do it yourself for $45. Prune Trees and Shrubs

Don’t throw away a perfectly good garden hose just because the end is damaged. Replacing a hose head is s a quick fix anyone can do that costs $12 or less compared with buying a new hose for $45. Repair a Garden Hose

You’d be amazed at how cleaning a dirty deck will give it new life. Rent a pressure washer for $130 for the afternoon and do it yourself or pay a service $232 for a 15×20 foot one level deck. Pressure Wash a Deck

For more job costs visit www.diyornot.com.

Categories
Landscaping May Home Maintenance Checklist Monthly Home Maintenance

Month of May Home Checklist

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Take a look at these 13 items to get your house and garden in good shape. While the weather is getting warmer we’re all drawn outside to get busy cleaning out the weeds and fertilizing the garden beds. In the meantime there’s plenty to do inside the house to get it ready for summer.

So now’s a good time to inspect and clean up your house, both inside and out. But take it one step at a time and you’ll be finished well before Memorial Day at the end of the month. It involves looking for damage from the winter weather and freshening up the interior and uncluttering. Weather permitting, you’ll be able to get out in the yard and get busy.

      • Tune up portable and central air conditioners
      • Clean and tune up ceiling, exhaust and bath fans to maximize air flow
      • Unclutter clothes closet and sort and store seasonal clothes
      • Wash window glass, frames and sill and lean out weep-holes in window sliders
      • Wash and change storm door and window panels to screens
      • Wash window curtains and blinds
      • Clean deck and protect with sealer
      • Inspect driveway and walkways for winter damage
      • Clear outdoor vent of lint build up in clothes dryer
      • Clean and set up outdoor furniture, cushions and lawn equipment
      • Rake lawn and garden beds to remove winter debris
      • Prepare garden beds and plant containers with fertilizer and plantings
      • Fill in bare spots of lawn with grass seed

Visit us at www.diyornot.com to find the cost of home fixups projects like these and compare doing it yourself with hiring out the job.

Categories
Landscaping OPEI

Use Outdoor Power Equipment Safely

Does your home and property house stop traffic? It can when it looks its best with a freshly cut lawn, manicured garden beds and trimmed shrubbery and bushes, sure signs it is well cared for. The pros at the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) have some sage advice to make that happen with these eight tips to help care for, store and use outdoor power equipment that will help you maintain your property. Read their suggestions (and follow them) so when you’re using outdoor power equipment you know you’re playing it safe.

***Read the operator’s manual to understand the controls of your equipment.

***Inspect your equipment for loose belts and missing or damaged parts. Drain and responsibly dispose of old oil and put in fresh oil before starting equipment that has been in long-time storage. Install clean air filters so your engine and equipment will run optimally.

***Have your lawn mower’s cutting blades sharpened so your mower will operate more efficiently, cutting your lawn cleaner and making it healthier.

*** Only allow responsible adults who are familiar with the instructions to operate the machine. Do not let children use outdoor power equipment.

*** Confirm the locations of pets and children, and ask that they be kept out of the area where you are working.

*** Clear the area. Remove debris, wires, branches, nails, rocks, or metal that may become projectiles if thrown by lawn mower blades and other equipment.

*** Wear substantial shoes, long pants and close-fitting clothes. You may want eye or hearing protection.

***Fill your gasoline tank only when the engine is cool. If you need to refuel before completing a job, turn off the machine and allow the engine to cool. Never light a match or smoke around gasoline.

Visit www.diyornot.com to compare the cost of doing it yourself with hiring a contractor for hundreds of improvement jobs.

Categories
Do it yourself Landscaping

Spring Yard Work

When warm weather arrives many of us feel a burst of energy to get outdoors and shake off being cooped up all winter. Being in the fresh air feels good so it’s an incentive to tidy up the yard and garden. Along with the yard and garden it’s the ideal time to take stock of the exterior of the house and property to see how it’s weathered the winter. Take a walk around the house and look for signs of damage and what needs repair.weathered the winter. Take a walk around the house and look for signs of damage and what needs repair.signs of damage and what needs repair.

Here’s a checklist of little or no skills required – jobs that
will keep your property looking its best.

Lawn and Garden
***Make a clean sweep of the property and remove fallen tree branches, twigs and debris. Use a rake and an old tarp to drag around and collect the debris and dispose of it.

***Give trees and shrubbery a good pruning and thinning to improve their overall health and appearance. Get advice from your local lawn and garden center.

***Pull weeds in garden beds and make a plan for adding new plants.
Give the lawn a dose of fertilizer and a good first cutting with a mower and trimmer looking for bare spots to fill in and weeds to pull.

***Use an edger to manicure the lawn and garden to separate flower beds from the lawn and keep creeping plants in their place.

House
***Sweep patios, decks and walkways and remove debris.
Use a power washer to clean patios, decks, kid’s outdoor equipment and any plastic or metal lawn furniture.

***Tune up the barbecue grill and lay in a supply of charcoal or propane so it’s ready to use.

***Get a bucket, heavy gloves and tall ladder to clean gutters and remove debris and dried leaves. Use a garden hose to flush them out and see that water runs to downspouts and into a splash block to keep water away from the foundation.

***When it’s raining, check out downspouts looking for any leaks and mark the leaks so you can fix them.

To find the cost of hundreds of improvement costs go to www.diyornot.com.

Categories
Landscaping

Month of May Home Checklist

A009

Take a look at these 13 items to get your house and garden in good shape. While the weather is getting warmer we’re all drawn outside to get busy cleaning out the weeds and fertilizing the garden beds. In the meantime there’s plenty to do inside the house to get it ready for summer.

So now’s a good time to inspect and clean up your house, both inside and out. But take it one step at a time and you’ll be finished well before Memorial Day at the end of the month. It involves looking for damage from the winter weather and freshening up the interior and uncluttering. Weather permitting, you’ll be able to get out in the yard and get busy.

      • Tune up portable and central air conditioners
      • Clean and tune up ceiling, exhaust and bath fans to maximize air flow
      • Unclutter clothes closet and sort and store seasonal clothes
      • Wash window glass, frames and sill and lean out weep-holes in window sliders
      • Wash and change storm door and window panels to screens
      • Wash window curtains and blinds
      • Clean deck and protect with sealer
      • Inspect driveway and walkways for winter damage
      • Clear outdoor vent of lint build up in clothes dryer
      • Clean and set up outdoor furniture, cushions and lawn equipment
      • Rake lawn and garden beds to remove winter debris
      • Prepare garden beds and plant containers with fertilizer and plantings
      • Fill in bare spots of lawn with grass seed

Visit us at www.diyornot.com to find the cost of home fixups projects like these and compare doing it yourself with hiring out the job.

Categories
gardening Landscaping

Lay a Stone Path in Your Garden

If you need a walkway through your garden or yard, a stepping stone path can be a practical solution as well as a compliment to the landscape. You can lay it out as a straight walkway or as a winding path that meanders around trees and flowerbeds. Use a base material like gravel or sand to secure the stones and help drain rainwater. For ideas and inspiration, pick up a copy of “Patio and Stone, a Sunset Design Guide.” It’s a new book about creating outdoor living spaces and it includes landscape design software.

Home and lawn centers sell a variety of stone, and they usually will deliver the material as well. This is money well spent unless you have a heavy vehicle and the strength and stamina to move the stone yourself. If you pay for delivery, have the stone stacked near the path so you don’t have to move it.

A landscape contractor will charge $1,437 to lay a 3-foot wide, 40-foot long stone path. This includes labor and material. You can buy the material, including stone, sand and landscape cloth, for $635 and do it yourself, saving 55 percent.

You will need a wheelbarrow, shovel, rake, carpenter’s level, push broom and some string and sticks to lay out the path. Dig out the sod or soil so it’s about 4-inches deep and level. Then lay landscape fabric and sand to provide a weed-free base for the stones. As you lay them, position the stones so they fit together nicely and spread sand between them.

When you’re planning a stone path, don’t think you have to limit the design to one kind of stone. Add some interest by designing a path with large stones in the center that’s edged on both sides with smaller stones of a different shade and shape.

FInd more home and garden job costs at www.diyornot.com.

Categories
Arbor Day gardening hire a landscaper Landscaping

Plant a Tree for Arbor Day, April 29

Diy106aIf you’re considering planting a tree, the best resource we’ve seen is www.arborday.org, the Web site of the National Arbor Day Foundation. You’ll learn everything you want to know about planting trees and can use their online guide to identify trees to plant on your property.

Planting a tree by hand can be strenuous work, but the reward is lasting beauty and the protective shade the tree provides for years to come. While a tree enhances the landscape of a house, it’s also a good investment that you can enjoy and watch grow over the years. A leafy maple tree is an attractive addition to any landscape when in bloom, and in winter its bare branches allow the sunlight to shine through.

A landscape contractor or tree service will charge $339 to plant a 2-inch caliper maple tree that’s approximately 9 feet high. That includes the cost of the tree and the labor to plant it. You can buy the tree for $175 and plant it and save 48 percent.

To determine the size of tree to plant, make a scaled drawing of your yard and note any existing trees and what surrounds them. Try to imagine how a tree will look when it’s full grown. You don’t want to plant a new tree too close to the growing zone of existing trees, where it would be under their shadow or too close to the house, property line or under overhead cables. To prevent hitting any underground cables or pipes, call your local utility company. Many of them promote a “call before you dig” program, and will send someone out to mark any underground utility lines in your yard.

Visit us at www.diyornot.com to compare the cost of hundreds of improvement and gardening projects to decide to do it yourself vs. hiring a pro.

Categories
gardening Landscaping

Grass Growing Advice from Grass Seed USA

Gene and Katie Hamilton
Gene and Katie Hamilton

To create a lush green landscape keep your grass healthy and in tip top shape with these helpful hints from the experts at Grass Seed USA, a coalition of American grass seed farmers. These are 3 easy peasy takeaways any homeowner can do using ordinary household items – ruler, screwdriver, mason jars – most everyone has around the house.

Tip 1: Mowing advice. To check if you’re mowing your grass to the right height use a ruler. Wait until your grass is three inches tall before mowing, and then cut it to two inches in height. By trimming only one-third of the blade length, you’ll avoid stressing the grass while leaving enough leaf to protect the roots from the sun. When you mow your grass to the correct height you create a low maintenance, drought-tolerance lawn.

Tip 2: Avoid overwatering. By watering only when your lawn needs it your grass will develop longer roots that are able to pull moisture from deep in the soil. To test for moisture, push a screwdriver (an old one) into the ground. If it’s tough to push it in, the soil is dry and the grass needs a drink; if the tool goes in easily, you don’t need to water yet.

Tip 3: Do It Yourself pH test. Most turf grasses prefer soil with a neutral pH (neither acidic nor alkaline) and you can test for it with a pair of pint size mason jars. Fill each jar about half way full of soil taken from different parts of the yard, removing any rocks or other debris. Add a half-cup of household vinegar to the first jar and if the mixture fizzes, the soil is highly alkaline and you don’t need to test the other jar. If you get no reaction, continue the testing by adding a half-cup of water to the soil in the second jar. Mix well and then add a half-cup of baking soda to the slurry. If this mixture fizzes, the soil is very acidic.

Amend overly acidic soil with lime; amend alkaline soil with sulphur.

For more tips about your lawn go to http://www.weseedamerica.com, the Grass Seed USA website.

If you’re considering any lawn and home improvement jobs visit us at www.diyornot.com and find the cost of doing it yourself compared with the cost of hiring a contractor.

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Categories
gardening Landscaping

Lay a Stone Path in Your Garden

Gene and Katie Hamilton
Gene and Katie Hamilton

If you need a walkway through your garden or yard, a stepping stone path can be a practical solution as well as a compliment to the landscape. You can lay it out as a straight walkway or as a winding path that meanders around trees and flowerbeds. Use a base material like gravel or sand to secure the stones and help drain rainwater. For ideas and inspiration, pick up a copy of “Patio and Stone, a Sunset Design Guide.” It’s a new book about creating outdoor living spaces and it includes landscape design software.

Home and lawn centers sell a variety of stone, and they usually will deliver the material as well. This is money well spent unless you have a heavy vehicle and the strength and stamina to move the stone yourself. If you pay for delivery, have the stone stacked near the path so you don’t have to move it.

A landscape contractor will charge $1,437 to lay a 3-foot wide, 40-foot long stone path. This includes labor and material. You can buy the material, including stone, sand and landscape cloth, for $625 and do it yourself, saving 55 percent.

You will need a wheelbarrow, shovel, rake, carpenter’s level, push broom and some string and sticks to lay out the path. Dig out the sod or soil so it’s about 4-inches deep and level. Then lay landscape fabric and sand to provide a weed-free base for the stones. As you lay them, position the stones so they fit together nicely and spread sand between them.

When you’re planning a stone path, don’t think you have to limit the design to one kind of stone. Add some interest by designing a path with large stones in the center that’s edged on both sides with smaller stones of a different shade and shape.

Find hundreds of job costs for home and improvement projects at www.diyornot.com.

Categories
garden tools gardening Landscaping

How Much It Costs to Remove a Tree Stump

Gene and Katie Hamilton
Gene and Katie Hamilton

We thought removing an unwanted tree in our back yard wouldn’t be that big of a project because the tree wasn’t large. In fact, cutting it down was a slow but methodical job. Removing the stump, however, now that was a different story. But thanks to a rented stump grinder, we got the job done. You could spend a day cutting and hacking at a tree stump, but to remove it, you have to grind it up into small pieces, and that’s why a powerful grinder is necessary equipment.

A landscape contractor or tree service will charge $246 to remove a 14-inch diameter tree stump, which includes labor and material. You can rent a gas-powered stump grinder for the day for $150 and do it yourself, but there’s more than your time and money to consider. You need a trailer hitch on your vehicle to transport the grinder or pay extra to have it delivered. If the tree stump is located in a gated yard or area that’s difficult to reach, you may have difficulty getting the grinder in place. If there’s any doubt, survey the approach and determine how you’ll get the grinder to the tree stump by measuring the width of the widest opening to the yard. Choose a grinder that can be maneuvered through it. If there’s no easy access to the stump, you’ll have to do it the old fashioned way and dig it out with a shovel.

You can do preliminary work to the stump before the grinder is in place by using an ax and chainsaw to cut it down to about six inches from the ground. Remove any rocks or debris around the stump so they don’t dull or damage the cutting wheel. And always wear eye and hearing protection operating the brut. Before you begin grinding, have a game plan for using or removing all the wood chips you created.

For hundreds of home and garden job cost comparisons visit www.diyornot.com.