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Four Ways to Have an Eco-Friendly Lawn

Girl on lawn
A healthy-looking lawn does wonders for your property. Not only does it make your house stand out on your block, but it can also provide flood control, dissipate suburban heat, reduce fire hazards and if you’re trying to sell, definitely gives your home some curb appeal. Lawn care is big business, too. In 2015 alone, U.S. households spent almost $16 billion on lawn care and gardening services, which includes supplies, equipment, and lawn and landscaping services. Clearly, we spend lots of money to have great-looking lawns and landscaping, but could all the pesticides, fertilizer, and growth and greening additives we use be harming the environment, too?

It’s easy to go overboard with all the products when trying to keep a nice-looking lawn. However, you can still have green, thick grass, along with healthy trees, shrubs, and a garden, and fewer or no weeds if you follow these steps to creating an eco-friendly lawn.
1. Keep Your Lawn Green Without Chemicals
Paul Tukey writing for Popular Mechanics suggests some ways to mow your lawn that will keep it green, including keeping the mower’s blades sharp, using a push or electric mower to cut back on pollution, and leaving clippings on the lawn to create a natural fertilizer. He also suggests using compost as a natural, root-level fertilizer for lawns, gardens, shrubbery, and trees.
2. Water Wisely
While an oscillating or spinning sprinkler is a symbol of summer lawn care, both of those can waste a lot of water if you don’t monitor their use. Another option for watering is using low-pressure drip irrigation, where nozzles are placed at the base of plants, trees, or shrubs and water is applied slowly. This method can lower your water use. While a drip irrigation system might initially be expensive, it does reduce water usage and energy costs and improves seed germination. Regardless of whether you use drip irrigation, a sprinkler, or hand-watering, the key to using any type of system to water your lawn or your garden is to soak the ground to the depth of the roots.
3. Use Our Friends, The Bugs
Why spray your garden and foliage with aphid and other control products when nature provides its very own: bugs! Goodhousekeeping.com lists several species that can keep your greenery free of damaging pests, such as aphids, caterpillars, and Japanese beetles. These natural pest killers include ladybugs, ground beetles, soldier beetles, and tachinid flies. Many of these same bugs also help keep lawns free of pests, too.
4. Consider Using Plants As Ground Cover Instead of Grass
Unless your home is on several acres of land and there’s nothing but a wide stretch of lawn between the street and your front porch, consider using plant life as ground cover instead of grass. You can use flower and shrub beds, clover (just don’t step on the bees), or even several varieties of moss. Many of these and others, especially the mosses, grow easily in the shade, are easier to water (which is where the drip irrigation system can work better), and you won’t have to drag out the lawnmower every weekend. However, the ground cover does invite a number of unwanted pests and will have to be weeded frequently before fully grown. But once your insect friends make their home in it and you keep weeds from becoming a problem naturally with compost and organic mulch, ground cover will make your whole front yard look like a garden.

It doesn’t take a lot of chemicals to have a nice-looking lawn, just sensible use of mowing and organic fertilizer, the wise use of water, putting nature’s pest controllers to work, and using alternatives to grass. So, get out your gardening tools, pull on your gloves, and go play in the dirt to create an eco-friendly lawn you’ll be proud to call yours.

Photo Credit: Pixabay.com

The Step-by-Step Guide to Selling a House with Kids

Selling Your house with kids
After welcoming your newest bundle of joy, it’s quickly becoming apparent that your house isn’t big enough for everyone. However, before you can upsize to a more comfortable home, you need to sell your house. If this is your first time selling with kids in the house, be forewarned: Staging, cleaning, and moving is harder with children than without. Not only do you have to navigate around nap schedules, but you also have to keep kid clutter under control so buyers don’t walk into a messy house. This guide will walk you through everything you need to do to get your house ready to sell — and keep it that way.

Repair

You don’t want an inexpensive fix like a dripping faucet or dead tree to scare interested buyers away. DIY minor repairs to save money or hire them out to save time. If a repair costs more than $500, check with your agent before spending the cash.

Address cosmetic issues as well. Your child’s brightly painted bedroom might not be a “problem” to you, but buyers won��t view it the same way. Repaint to colors with broad appeal, replace carpeting that’s showing its age, and refinish wood flooring to restore its luster.

Declutter

Decluttering makes your home feel spacious and ensures buyers see your home, not your stuff. Start by getting rid of things you don’t plan to move. If you handle this task early, you can sell your items and put the money toward moving expenses. Clothing, books, and music are the most popular items in the secondhand economy — which, according to Gumtree, is a multi-billion-dollar sub-industry around the world — but you can sell anything in good condition.

Pack items you’re keeping but don’t need over the coming weeks. This includes excess furniture, dishes, linens, tools, recreational equipment, and children’s toys. Don’t exclude baby gear, which can clutter up a house. If you have playpens, bassinets, and jumpers in the living area, choose one or two favorites (ideally ones that fold up for storage) and pack the rest.

Deep Clean

Now that your home is clutter-free, cleaning is easy. First, clean carpets, drapes, and upholstery to eliminate odors, then prevent new messes by restricting drinking and eating to the kitchen and keeping pets off furniture. If that’s not an option, use slipcovers and lightweight rugs to protect furniture and flooring and remove them before showings.

You should also clean inside cabinets and under appliances, wash windows, scrub baseboards and crown molding, and clean all the other neglected areas of your home. If you need help, use this handy checklist so you don’t miss anything important.

Stage

Staging makes your home look larger, brighter, and clearly defines the purpose of each room. Start by reducing the amount of furniture in each room, pulling large items away from walls, and rearranging to facilitate traffic flow. You still need to live in your house while it’s on the market, so use staging tricks to keep everyday items accessible yet out of sight. A lidded storage basket is great for stashing diapers and wipes, while a storage ottoman or wooden chest offers a quick place to hide toys when buyers are on the way.

Maintain

After all your hard work, your home looks perfect. But how will you maintain it over the coming weeks? The most important thing is preventing big messes like juice spills on the carpet or your toddler’s artwork on the falls. Set rules and use baby gates to control where little ones go.

You also need cleaning routines so your house is never more than 15 minutes from show-ready. Do dishes, laundry, and tidying up daily, sweep and vacuum several times per week, and schedule time on weekends for bigger chores.

When your realtor does call about a last-minute showing, you’ll have just a few more tasks before you can leave the house. Stow away playpens and bassinets, turn on lights and open the curtains, check for off-putting odors coming from the trash or fridge, and give surfaces a quick wipe before buyers arrive.

There will be moments during the selling process where you wonder if all the hard work is worth it — and it is! When everything is done and you’re settled into a home that’s right for your family, you’ll be grateful you made the decision to move and stuck it out through closing day.

Image Via Pexels

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