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Archive for the 'Lawn and Garden' Category

Feb 28 2019

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Landscaping for your New Garage

Filed under Lawn and Garden

After the construction of your new garage has been completed, you and your family will be staring at a large patch of dirt. Try to think of it as “tabula rasa” or “blank sheet.” Here it is, a canvas for painting with your landscaping skills. No skills? No worries. There are professionals for that.

Hopefully your construction project has been completed in late spring or early fall, as these are the best times to grow grass. So much has been written about lawn building, you will have no trouble finding information on types of grass seeds and sods that are available and what works best in your region. Decide how much of that dirt patch should be lawn, keeping in mind kids and dogs, swing sets and basketball hoops.

Laying Sod

It’s best to water a new lawn daily until it’s well established. Experts advise watering early in the morning and again in the evening on hot days. Rain gauges will help monitor how much water is being delivered and yes, it is possible to water too much and damage the roots.

Shrubs and hedges, plus flower beds can help create boundaries. Future shade can be created by judicious placement of trees. Consider other shade options for the present like a trellis, arbor or pergola.

While you are painting your blank canvas, don’t forget about water features. Since pipes and water lines are marked, it’s a good time to dig if you plan to install a koi pond, waterfall or fountain beside your new garage.

Consider items like concrete benches, stepping stones, statues and other hardscape features. Installing items that require foundations or leveling will be easier to place on your dirt lot now, rather than digging up an established lawn later.

Of course, no matter how much planning one does, somewhere down the road something will have to go, change, or be replaced. So, don’t be intimated for tomorrow by what you do today. When the time comes, you will be ready to tackle the next landscaping project.

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Oct 01 2015

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Weekend Warrior Fall Checklist – The Garage Plan Shop

Fishing BoatHey weekend warriors! The official start of fall is fast approaching and winter won’t be too far behind. Get ready for winter with this checklist of maintenance and DIY projects:

 

  • Clean and covered or store patio furniture in the garage, shed, or basement.
  • Winterize the boat after your last fishing expedition or trip to the lake.
  • Clean up the lawn mower and winterize it.
  • Fertilize the lawn.
  • Hang holiday lights while the weather is still nice.
  • Clean gutters anFaucet Coverd clear debris before winter weather arrives.
  • Gather, inspect and prepare hunting gear for the fall and winter hunting seasons.
  • Plant spring-blooming bulbs.
  • Divide perennials.
  • Mulch trees and shrubs to protect them from harsh winter weather.
  • Turn off outdoor faucets; drain and store hoses.
  • Clean grill and cover or store for winter.
  • Seal cracks in the driveway, sidewalks and patio before freezing temperatures arrive.
  • Buy winter supplies such as snow shovels, ice melt, and ice scrapers.

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Jun 22 2015

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Summertime Backyard Safety – The Garage Plan Shop

Weber GrillFor many of us the backyard is our home away from home, or more specifically our home outside our house. Many of us will be spending a lot of time in our yards this summer and keeping things safe is just as important in the backyard as it is inside the home. Here are some reminders for backyard safety this summer and throughout the year.

 

  1. Grills – Keep your grill at least ten feet away from the side of your house, and keep it away from decks and shrubs. Never use it inside garages or under porches for cover. Keep children and pets away from the grill while in use, and always extinguish the coals before leaving it unattended.
  2. Decks – Waterproofing will help keep your deck in good shape. Inspect it for cracks and splinters, as well as for screws or nails popping up through the wood. Test railings for sturdiness.
  3. Plants – Choose plants carefully for your landscape to prevent any interactions like rashes or worse. Likewise inspect existing plants and know what poison ivy looks like and how to remove it safely.
  4. Pools – Follow existing guidelines and local laws for fencing around a pool. Store chemicals in a safe place and out of reach from children. Check that the drain cover complies with established safety standards. Establish house rules for the pool including, “No one swims alone.”
  5. Pests – Keep the mosquito population down by eliminating sources of standing water. Change the water in birdbaths and fountains frequently.  Do not overuse weed killers or pesticides and be aware of their potential dangers for humans.
  6. Play Sets – Check frequently for the effects of use and weather like loose bolts, splinters, rust, etc.  Provide a soft cushion like wood chips around equipment. Supervise young children while they play.
  7. Underfoot – Eliminate dangers in the yard that may cause tripping like sticks, rocks, tree stumps and uneven terrain.
  8. Mower -The spinning blades of power mowers can make dangerous projectiles out of sticks, stones and even toys. Keep everyone inside, especially children, when mowing the lawn.

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Apr 14 2015

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How to Save Money on Home Landscaping – The Garage Plan Shop

Flower GardenWhen spring arrives, we all find ourselves working in our yards and enhancing our landscaping. If you’re like most homeowners, you’d love to save a little cash while improving your yard. There are many ways to cut expenses when landscaping your home. We’ve provided a few ideas to get you started:

 

  1. Inspiration before Perspiration – You could hire a landscape designer to plot your lot, but if you are reading this, there is a good chance that you are ready to save some money as a do-it-yourselfer. There is a vast array of books, magazines, and websites to draw ideas from for your landscape design. Don’t forget to check out Pinterest and your friends’ and neighbors’ yards, too. Most people are proud of their yards and are willing to give you permission to snap a few photos. Some communities have house tours that include showing off the best gardens. Good ideas can also be found in public parks and botanical gardens.
  2. Test your Soil – Know what you are dealing by testing a few soil samples. This information will help to pinpoint the correct additives that are needed to improve your soil and correct the PH balance. Different plants have different needs. Consider choosing plants that are suitable for the soil that you already have and save on additives, all together.
  3. Go Native – Choose plans species that grow naturally in your region. This reduces the expense and worry of special treatment. It also insures a degree of success that will build confidence for the beginner. Once your plantings are established, you can always experiment by adding new and even exotic species gradually as you become an expert gardener.
  4. Divide and Conquer – Many plants, like iris, need to be dug up and divided every few years. Plan your landscape for expansion of these types of plants. Many perennials, like hostas and daisies, spread every year and can be divided and replanted. Plants that reseed themselves like pinks and bachelor’s buttons will self-propagate year after year even though they are annuals. Start small and give your plants room to expand year after year.
  5. Share – Once your plants are established and you have become competent at dividing and replanting, and collecting and saving seeds, it’s time to branch out. Trading with friends, relatives, neighbors and co-workers is a time honored tradition and an inexpensive way to establish new plants in your landscape. If you need more sources, check out garden clubs, community gardens and online want ads.

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Apr 01 2015

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Organizing Your Backyard – The Garage Plan Shop

Shed Plan 047S-0004Our outside space can be utilized in so many ways, a playground, an entertainment center, a garden showcase. By keeping organized, one can reap the most benefits with less time on upkeep and more time for enjoyment. Here are some tips to help you keep your backyard organized:

 

  1. Clean – At the end of the season, gather items together by usage, like gardening tools, the kids’ toys, grilling equipment. Cover what needs to be protected from the elements and stow away the rest. Treat your clean garden tools and mower blades to a coat of oil or lubricant to keep them from rusting.
  2. Stow it – Designate one area of your garage or basement just for storing outdoor items. If you are maxing out your garage storage or just tired of toting items up and down the basement stairs, consider investing in a shed or purchasing a storage shed of shed blueprints and building your own. Organizing here is easily accomplished with shelves, pegboards, hooks, and storage containers. Use see through containers or labels to save time when locating and retrieving items.
  3. Down Under – Additional storage space may be found and used under porches and decks. You may want to install some lattice work to help keep it out of sight.
  4. Reel it in – To keep hoses from becoming unsightly, dangerous tangles invest in a hose reel. Not only does it keep it in its place, it helps drain the water out of it for winter storage.
  5. Pave it – If you have a beaten path in your lawn because it is traversed so often, like the route to the trash cans or pool, consider setting some pavers or stepping stones. It will save time and money from constant reseeding or sodding and as a bonus, keep you on track.

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